Two new polls released this week show that Democrat Tim Walz has a slight edge over Republican Jeff Johnson in the race for Minnesota’s governor.
The first poll, conducted by KSTP and Survey USA, reveals that 47 percent of likely voters back Walz, while 40 percent support Johnson, and 10 percent are still undecided.
“I think the race is wide-open because a lot of voters don’t really know the candidates that well, particularly Tim Walz,” political scientist Steven Schier told KSTP, noting that it’s the first time Walz has participated in a “statewide” race.
Although Walz leads overall, voters actually side with Johnson on several key issues, including immigration. 59 percent of voters surveyed disagree with Walz’s proposal to make Minnesota a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants, seeming to agree with Johnson that local law enforcement should cooperate with federal agencies.
“The idea that you are going to force local law enforcement to do what the federal government has capitulated their responsibility on doesn’t get to where people are at,” Walz responded.
Voters also side with Johnson on the issue of raising the Minnesota gas tax, with 52 percent of respondents agreeing that the tax should not be increased.
“Minnesotans think they pay enough and I would agree with that. I think we should actually start reducing taxes in the state,” Johnson said, and has even promised not to increase a single tax in Minnesota—an idea his opponent has criticized as eliminating any “chance of compromise.”
Walz has the upper hand on the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana, with 56 percent of Minnesota voters favoring its legalization.
“Prohibition doesn’t work,” Walz argued, saying that he’s not “giving up” on the issue, but trusting “adults to make their own decisions.”
A second poll released Wednesday by AARP’s Minnesota chapter showed that voters over the age of 50 generally side with Democratic candidates, though a significant percentage are still undecided. Of the 808 likely voters polled, 19 percent are undecided in the gubernatorial race, though 43 percent support Walz, and 36 percent plan to vote for Johnson.
“The message of this poll is that the 50-plus voting block is still up for grabs and candidates need to start paying attention to older voters. Despite being the largest voting bloc in each and every election, older voters are often taken for granted by candidates and campaigns,” AARP Minnesota Director Will Phillips stated in a press release, saying it’s time for candidates to start “speaking to issues that matter to 50-plus voters.”
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