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Minnesota Poll: Biden holds on to lead over Trump

By Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio News

A new MPR News/Star Tribune/KARE-11 Minnesota Poll of 800 registered voters shows former Democrat Joe Biden leads President Trump by 48-42 percent with 8 percent undecided.

The 6 point lead is up 1 percentage point from the last Minnesota Poll in mid-May. The new poll shows Biden with a considerable lead among women and in the core Twin Cities, while Trump draws his strongest support from outside the metro area.

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Charles Anderson, 63, is an Army veteran and retired high school social studies teacher who lives in Lafayette, 45 minutes northwest of Mankato. He didn’t hold back when asked his assessment of Trump.

“To support him after seeing for almost four years the things he’s done and the things he’s not done and the interests that he has and the self-interest that he has. It’s deplorable.”

Anderson is clear that he will not vote for the president.

“Frankly I think anybody who believes in or votes for or supports Trump at this point is a f—ing idiot.”

Nina Alesci didn’t use strong language to describe her opposition to Trump. But she too has a hard time understanding why anyone supports the president.

“I don’t get it,” Alesci said. “I don’t get why people can’t just read his tweets and see the problems that I see. People say the media are biased in certain directions, but if you just read what he’s putting out there. He is not helping America move forward.”

Alesci, 48, is an epidemiologist who lives in Minneapolis, and the main reason she opposes Trump is his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Trump could have led on ‘wear a mask, social distance,’ but he chose not to,” she said. “He chose to run it into a political issue. That was wrong.”

Lee Shultz of Howard Lake said he will vote for Trump, although he didn’t sound excited about it.

“I really don’t think there is a good choice going forward,” he said. “I think it’s the lesser of two evils.”

Shultz said he would not vote for Biden.

“Because I believe that the Democrats are trying to turn us into socialists,” he said.

Most registered Minnesota voters—52 percent—disapprove of Trump’s job performance, according to the poll, about the same as the last Minnesota Poll found in mid-May.

“If he would just maybe keep his mouth shut more often, I think it would be a lot better,” Shultz said.

Like a solid majority of poll respondents—61 percent—Shultz plans to vote in person. He also falls in the category of a significant percentage of Minnesotans —41 percent—who worry about potential fraud connected to mail-in voting.

“I believe there is a lot of corruption possibly in voting,” he said. “[I] don’t have any proof of that, but it is very easy to vote as someone else.”

Election officials in Minnesota insist that’s not the case, and there are safeguards that protect mail-in ballots.

While the poll shows plenty of people are concerned about election fraud and mail-in balloting, half of those asked the question said they were not worried about it.

The poll found the economy and jobs is the most influential issue for those who say they will back Trump, followed by crime, law and order. Racial justice and equity topped the list of issues for Biden voters, followed by the coronavirus and health care.

The poll was conducted by phone from Sept. 21 through 23. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.