A new poll released Wednesday confirms that the race between Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Republican Karin Housley will be unusually “competitive” in a typically blue state.
The poll, conducted by KSTP and SurveyUSA, shows that Smith, who was appointed to her position after Al Franken resigned, leads her opponent by single digits.
Of the likely voters surveyed, 48 percent expressed their support for Smith, while 39 percent favored Housley, and 11 percent are still undecided. Housley, who is considered one of Republicans’ best shots at picking up a Senate seat, leads Smith by 17 points in southern Minnesota and 10 points in the northeastern region. Smith, on the other hand, has a strong 20-point lead in the Twin Cities area.
“This survey essentially confirms the conventional wisdom about this race so far that it’s competitive,” University of Minnesota Professor Kathryn Pearson told KSTP. “Housley is doing much better in greater Minnesota, the same areas where President Trump did very well in 2016, including areas where Obama won in 2012.”
The poll also reveals that Smith is leading Housley among moderate voters by a ratio of five to three, which explains her lead, according to the survey.
“These numbers suggest she has a lot of enthusiasm among the DFL base in the Twin Cities area, that she’s made inroads with moderate voters as well,” Pearson added.
According to the survey, Smith holds 93 percent of Minnesota’s Democratic base, while Housley has secured 84 percent of the Republican base.
In Minnesota’s second senatorial competition, incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) leads her Republican challenger Jim Newberger by 15 points. Of those polled, 53 percent said they would likely vote for Klobuchar, while 38 percent support Newberger.
KSTP and SurveyUSA interviewed 1,050 Minnesotans and identified 574 “likely voters,” conducting their poll statewide from Sept. 6-8.
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