Suffolk University/St. Cloud Times Minnesota Poll Shows Democratic Strength

Voters split on Al Franken resignation

Democrats are leading in three key races in Minnesota, where voters will choose a governor and two U.S. senators, one of them in a special election, according to a Suffolk University/St. Cloud Times poll of likely midterm voters.

Incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the nominee of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party – the Minnesota affiliate of the national Democratic Party – is at 54 percent, well ahead of Republican State Rep. Jim Newberger (34 percent), with Green Party nominee Paula Overby and Legal Marijuana Now Party nominee Dennis Schuller each at 1 percent, and 11 percent undecided.

“Senator Amy Klobuchar is setting a torrid pace for Democrats in Minnesota,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Her popularity may impact other Democrats on the ballot, who can benefit from her ‘Klobuchar Coattails.’”

In the special election race for U.S. Senate, Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee Tina Smith (44 percent), who was appointed to the U.S. Senate early this year following former Sen. Al Franken’s resignation, leads Republican State Sen. Karin Housley (37 percent), followed by Legal Marijuana Now Party nominee Sarah Wellington (2 percent) and independent Jerry Trooien (less than 1 percent), with 18 percent undecided.

In the governor’s race, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (46 percent), the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee, leads Republican Jeff Johnson, who also ran in 2014, (41 percent), with Libertarian Josh Welter and Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party nominee Chris Wright each at 1 percent, and 12 percent undecided.

Franken resignation

Voters were split on Franken’s resignation following allegations of sexual misconduct. Over 46 percent approved of his resignation, while 45 percent said he shouldn’t have resigned, and 9 percent were undecided. There were strong differences by party affiliation, but not by gender. Forty-eight percent of men and 45 percent of women said Franken was right to resign, while 46 percent of men and 44 percent of women said he should not have resigned. More women (11 percent) were undecided on the resignation than men (7 percent).

Among Democrats, 67 percent disagreed with Franken’s decision to resign, while 29 percent said it was appropriate. Among Republicans, 72 percent said Franken should have resigned compared to 17 percent who said he should not have. Among independents and third-party respondents, 37 percent said the Franken resignation was the right choice, while 49 percent disagreed, and 14 percent were undecided.

“This is another example of how voters’ political party affiliations trump their policy differences on important issues like sexual harassment,” said Paleologos.

Voters from all parties said that Congress is underperforming on the issue: 55 percent said that Congress isn’t taking enough action to prevent sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in the workplace, and 64 percent said that Congress isn’t taking enough action to prevent sexual misconduct and sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.

Views of Trump

While Donald Trump lost Minnesota by less than two points in 2016, 54 percent of voters now disapprove of the president’s job performance, while 40 percent approve. Nearly half (47 percent) want their vote in November to change the direction in which Trump is leading the nation, while 32 percent said they want their vote to support Trump’s way, and 18 percent said that their vote in November doesn’t have much to do with Trump and his policies.

Minimum wage

Minnesota’s minimum wage of $7.87 per hour for small employers and employees under 18 years of age does not sit well with voters: 76 percent said the minimum wage should be raised to $9/hour or more, while 17 percent said the current minimum wage is acceptable.


The statewide survey of 500 Minnesota likely voters was conducted Aug. 17–Aug. 20. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].

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