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Minnesota Poll: Keith Ellison, Jim Schultz in close race for attorney general

New KARE 11/Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota poll also shows most Minnesotans have high or moderate confidence that 2022 election results will be accurately counted.

MINNEAPOLIS — Alongside the governor’s race, two other high-profile state positions are up for reelection this November: Minnesota Attorney General and Minnesota Secretary of State. Both seats are currently held by Democrats.

WHO ARE YOU VOTING FOR IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S RACE?

Current Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has held the position since Jan. 2019. Ellison, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Jim Schultz, a private sector attorney.

According to a new KARE 11/Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll, Ellison and Schultz are in a near tie. Ellison has a minuscule lead over Schultz among Minnesota voters, 46% to 45%. About 9% of those polled are still undecided.

Ellison, who represented Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years before becoming the state’s attorney general, holds a substantial lead over Schultz in the Hennepin/Ramsey County area, 68% to 25%. However, that’s the only portion of the state where Ellison maintains a lead among voters.

“I see a lot of polls, all of which tell me this is a very competitive race. The only poll that truly matters is the one that ends at 8 p.m. on election day. Here's what I do know — MAGA Republicans will spend millions to spread fear and disinformation about Keith's record to distract Minnesotans from the fact they want to roll back abortion rights and let corporations rollover Minnesota families, and the fact that his opponent has never stepped foot in a courtroom,” Keith Ellison’s campaign manager Jeanne Stuart said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

Schultz leads in the metro suburbs, southern Minnesota and northern Minnesota – in all three areas more than 50% of those polled said they’d vote for the Republican candidate. 

However, in each region, between 7-10% of voters remain undecided.

“Keith Ellison is going to lose in November. Just as Minneapolis voters rejected Ellison's efforts to defund the police, Minnesota voters will reject Ellison's second term as they continue to learn about his extreme far-left record as Attorney General,”  Jim Schultz’s campaign manager Christine Snell said in a statement to the Star Tribune. “Unlike defund-the-police Democrat Keith Ellison, Jim Schultz will partner with police to crack down on violent crime and restore safety to our communities.”

Credit: KARE

Similar to fellow Democrat Gov. Walz, Ellison has more support among women than men: 54% of women plan to vote for the sitting attorney general, as do 38% of men polled. For Schultz, responses are almost the exact opposite, with 37% of women and 54% of men voting for the Republican. More than 8% percent of men and women polled are still undecided.

Similar to the governor’s race, a majority of DFL voters say they’ll support Ellison (98%) while most GOP voters polled (94%) plan to vote for Schultz. Among Independents, support for each candidate is split: 36% polled plan to vote for Ellison, 42% for Schultz. Still, more than a fifth of Independents (22%) are undecided.

Ellison leads among young people (18-34) with 61% among those polled, while Schultz has the strongest support among voters 50-64, at 49%.

Ellison, who is African American and Muslim American, has significantly more support among non-white voters compared to Schultz: 69% compared to 22%. The split between white voters is closer, with 43% expressing support for Ellison and 48% saying they’ll vote for Schultz.

WHO ARE YOU VOTING FOR IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE RACE?

Credit: KARE

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, who’s held the position since he was first elected in 2014, is running against Republican Kim Crockett this November.

Results from a new KARE 11/Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll show 48% of Minnesotans plan to vote for Simon, while 40% say they’ll vote for Crockett. About 12% of voters remain undecided.

"Minnesotans vote at the highest rate in the country because they know our election system is fundamentally fair, honest, accurate, and secure. November is another opportunity for Minnesotans to strengthen the freedom to vote - and to reject dangerous conspiracy theories about our election system," Simon’s campaign spokeswoman Risikat Adesaogun said to the Star Tribune in a statement. 

Like fellow Democrats Gov. Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison, Simon has the most support from voters in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties with 67%, according to the poll. Across outstate Minnesota, Crockett leads in the metro suburbs and the southern and northern regions.

However, a significant number of voters in all regions of Minnesota are still undecided about their vote for Secretary of State, between 10% and 14%.

When broken down by gender identity, more men say they plan to vote for Crockett (47% to 40%), while more women say they plan to vote for Simon (54% to 33%).

“Every voter should feel confident their vote counted. ‘Most Minnesotans’ is not good enough. Then we can stop fighting about ‘who won’ and start solving big challenges like crime and inflation. For that, we need new leadership and better voting rules like Photo ID,” Kim Crockett said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

A majority of Democrats polled say they’ll vote for Simon (96%), and while most Republicans say they’ll vote for Crockett (88%), more GOP voters polled are undecided than Democrats, about 10%. Independent voters are more evenly split: 41% are voting for Simon, 34% plan to vote for Crocket, but more than a quarter, 26%, haven’t decided.

HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DO YOU HAVE IN THE 2022 ELECTIONS?

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Nearly two years after false claims of voter fraud marred the results of the 2020 presidential race, a majority of Minnesotans have at least some level of confidence that the results for the upcoming 2022 elections will be accurately counted, according to a new KARE 11/Star Tribune/MPR New Minnesota poll.

Of the 800 Minnesotans polled, 56% said they have a high amount of confidence in the 2022 election results, 27% reported having a moderate amount of confidence, while 13% said they have “not much” confidence. Only 2% said they have no confidence in this fall’s election results.

While most Democrats (91%) say they have a high amount of confidence in the 2022 election results, Republicans are significantly more divided. Of those polled, 21% have a high amount of confidence, 43% have a moderate amount, 29% have not much confidence, 4% have none at all and 4% are currently unsure.

WOULD YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN MINNESOTA?

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In July 2022, a new law legalized edibles and beverages with hemp-derived THC in Minnesota. The law, passed through an omnibus health bill in the final hours of the May legislative session, allows people 21 and older to buy products with up to 5 milligrams of THC per serving, or 50 milligrams per package.

While the issue of completely legalizing recreational cannabis is not on the ballot this November, more than half of Minnesotans say they’d support legalizing the drug.

According to a new KARE 11/Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll, 54% of Minnesotans say the state should legalize recreational marijuana. Thirty-six percent say we shouldn’t, and 11% are still unsure.

Men and women appear to have similar levels of support for the issue, with 51% of men and 56% of women agreeing cannabis should be legalized. 

Regionally, Minnesotans are divided on legalizing cannabis. In Hennepin and Ramsey County, 60% say yes, 28% say no and 12% aren’t sure. The divide is even greater around the rest of the state: In the metro suburbs, 49% of those polled said yes, 41% said no and 11% still aren’t sure.

In southern Minnesota, half of the respondents said yes, 41% said no with 10% still unsure. The numbers are similar in the northern part of the state, where 53% said cannabis should be legalized, 39% said it shouldn’t and 9% don’t know.

Voters across all age groups generally support legalizing marijuana, according to the poll, though many reported they’re still not sure. For example, 60% of voters 18-34 said yes, 58% of voters 35-49 agreed, as did 51% of voters 50-64. Among older voters there’s a more even split, with 47% saying yes, 44% saying no and 9% still unsure.

SHOULD MINNESOTA LEGALIZE SPORTS BETTING?

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In May, the Minnesota House voted to pass sports betting legislation, sending the bill to the GOP-controlled Senate. As it currently stands, Democrats and Republicans are aligned on many aspects of sports betting legalization but are divided on allowing the state’s two horse racing tracks to administer in-person wagering on sports.

As of Sept. 14, legalizing sports betting falls short of majority support from Minnesotans, according to the results from a new KARE 11/Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota poll. The results show 48% of Minnesotans say it should be legalized, while 33% disagree and 19% are undecided.

Republican and Democratic voters are generally aligned on their feelings about sports betting, the poll found. Fifty percent of Republicans polled and 53% of Democrats polled said Minnesota should legalize sports gambling. On the other hand, 31% of both Republicans and Democrats don’t think it should be legalized. 

Among Independent voters, 40% agree with legalizing sports betting, a close 39% disagree and 22% are unsure, according to the poll.

METHODOLOGY

The findings of this Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 Minnesota Poll are based on live interviews conducted Sept. 12 to Sept. 14, 2022, with 800 Minnesota registered voters who indicated they are likely to vote in the November general election. The poll was conducted for the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio News and KARE 11 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy Inc.

Those interviewed were randomly selected from a phone-matched Minnesota voter registration list that included both landline and cell phone numbers. Quotas were assigned to reflect voter registration by county. The interviews were conducted via landline (28%) and cell phone (72%).

The margin of sampling error for this sample of 800 registered voters, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ± 3.5 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed. The margin of error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or age grouping.

The self-identified party affiliation of the respondents is 35% Democrats, 32% Republicans and 33% independents or other.

Sampling error does not take into account other sources of variation inherent in public opinion surveys, such as nonresponse, question wording or context effects. In addition, news events may have affected opinions during the period the poll was taken.

The demographic profile of this poll of likely voters is an accurate reflection of their respective voter populations. This determination is based on more than 100 statewide polls conducted by Mason-Dixon in Minnesota over the past 34 years – a period that spans eight presidential election cycles that began in 1988.

RELATED: Minnesota Poll: Walz approval at 52%, leads Jensen in governor’s race

RELATED: 2022 Voter Guide: What to know about Minnesota's elections

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