In May, the same internal polling conducted by Harper Polling for Lewis’s Senate campaign showed Trump trailing Biden by 8 percent–with Biden at 50 percent, Trump at 42 percent, and 8 percent undecided–which means that the race has swung significantly in the president’s direction since riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis have captured the nation’s and the upper Midwestern Iron Range state’s attention.
Perhaps more interestingly is that the top-line presidential numbers are the down-ticket numbers in the U.S. Senate race between Lewis and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), where Lewis has also broken Smith’s lead and burst into a statistical tie with the Democrat incumbent. That race is even tighter than the top of the ticket, with just 2 percent–inside the survey’s more than 4 percent margin of error–separating the Democrat incumbent and the GOP challenger. Lewis is at 41 percent and Smith is at 43 percent with 10 percent undecided, a remarkable swing the GOP’s way from May when Lewis was in the same pollster’s survey at 35 percent and Smith was at 46 percent with 20 percent undecided:
Smith’s recent anti-police comments saying America needs to “reimagine the police” and that there is something “dangerously wrong with the role police play in our society” have helped fuel the tightening of the Senate race. Statewide, 48 percent said those comments made people less likely to vote for her, 28 percent said her comments on police made them more likely to vote for her, and 17 percent said they made no difference. In the outer metro region of Minnesota, Smith does even worse with these questions. A strong majority of 57 percent said her anti-police comments make them less likely to vote for her, just 23 percent said the comments make them more likely to support her, and 14 percent said they make no difference.
This survey tracks with other recent polling that shows Minnesota tightening. A Trafalgar Group poll in mid-August showed a straight-up tie between Trump and Biden at about 47 percent apiece. The survey, conducted for Conservative Clergy of Color, also showed, as Breitbart News
reported exclusively this week, that Black Lives Matter’s (BLM) approval rating and public opinion ratings are tanking in recent months as protests turn into violent riots and looters target businesses.
A Republican presidential candidate has not won Minnesota since 1972, making it the state with the longest blue streak anywhere in the country. In his 1984 reelection, GOP President Ronald Reagan won 49 states–every state except Minnesota, the home state of the Democrat nominee, Walter Mondale. Reagan had as a courtesy to Mondale pulled his campaign operation out of Mondale’s home state in the final months of the election.
While GOP presidential candidates have not flipped the state in 48 years–2020 would be the year if Trump succeeds the first time in nearly half a century; he came within 50,000 votes in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Never Trumper Evan McMullin, who finished in fourth place in the 2016 race, received more votes than the difference between Trump and Clinton at about 53,000 votes.
Also, if Republicans are able to win this Senate seat and take out Smith with Lewis, they will almost certainly maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate. Currently, the GOP has a 53-seat majority in the Senate. Republicans are expected to pick up at least one seat, in Alabama, and beat Democrat Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) with Republican Tommy Tuberville. But other than that seat, the GOP is on defense in most other places in the country, as GOP incumbents in North Carolina, Maine, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, and Arizona face tough reelection battles. The GOP also hopes Republican John James will pull off an upset victory against Democrat Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) in Michigan, and recent polling there seems to indicate that James has the momentum edge heading into the home stretch as well, much like Lewis does in Minnesota.
So to take the Senate majority if they do not win the White House, Democrats would need to flip five of those other battleground state Senate races. If the GOP wins in either Minnesota or Michigan, or both, it makes it even harder for the Democrats to pull the inside straight that they would need to take back Congress’s upper chamber.