A recent survey of Minnesotans reveals Gov. Tim Walz is in good shape for re-election, but another poll identifies some opportunities for trouble for Republicans in their campaign against him.
The good news for Walz is evident in the results of a SurveyUSA poll conducted December 2-6 for KSTP-TV. The level of credibility of the survey responses for its 675 adults is plus or minus 2.9%, for its 591 registered voters plus or minus 4.7% and for its 506 probable voters plus or minus 5.1%. SurveyUSA’s methods receive an âAâ rating from Nate Silver Analysis Site 538. 538 found no detectable bias towards Democrats and Republicans in the polls.
Among the 591 voters registered in the poll, Walz has a good job approval of 55%. This is impressive considering the last years of turmoil in the state due to the pandemic, an uncertain economy and the death of George Floyd.
A closer look at Walz’s job approval reveals several pillars of strength in his public support. First, the 2022 midterm elections will feature a smaller and older electorate than that of the presidential years. Among registered voters over 50, approval of Walz’s job is 58 percent. He is a key strength of Walz among a large group of likely voters.
Second, the many voters in the Twin Cities suburbs often guide state policy. These voters are not consistently Democrats or Republicans in their vote, and their tendency usually dictates a statewide election result. Walz has a healthy 60 percent job approval among registered suburban voters. This level of support from them on Election Day 2022 virtually secures his second term in the governor’s mansion.
A third source of strength for Walz is his support in southern Minnesota, where his former seat of the 1st Congressional District was located. Among registered voters in that region, its job approval is a whopping 68 percent, even higher than its 56 percent approval in the Twin Cities. This result may be overstated due to a poll error – there are only 106 respondents from southern Minnesota in this sample of registered voters – but it suggests out-of-state support for Walz which will be an issue. for its GOP 2022 rival.
Fourth, the governor’s handling of the coronavirus has won public support. Among registered voters, 55% approve of his treatment of this issue. In addition, the survey shows that most Minnesotans are strongly in favor of vaccination. Of the 675 adults surveyed, 76% said they were vaccinated. Additionally, 54% of adults in the poll support President Biden’s policy of mandatory vaccination or testing for all employees of companies hiring at least 100 workers.
Republicans across the state have sharply criticized the governor’s vaccination policy, and a large group of GOP activists oppose the vaccination. Two GOP gubernatorial candidates – former State Senator Scott Jensen, a physician, and Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy – have not been vaccinated. The results of the survey suggest that opposition to vaccination and the governor’s vaccination policy is an electoral loser at present.
Some good news for Republicans can be found in this poll and another recent one. SurveyUSA found that among likely voters, Walz receives less percentage support – 47 or 48 percent – in match races with the current GOP gubernatorial candidates than was evident in his 55 percent endorsement among the larger group of registered voters.
A recent survey by the curatorial Center of the American Experiment also revealed a problematic opportunity for the GOP. Meeting Street Insights, a company rated “B / C” of 538 and showing a slight democratic bias of + 0.07% in its surveys, conducted this survey of 500 Minnesota residents from November 30 to December 2, giving a level credibility of plus or minus 4.38 percent.
When told ‘the state will likely have the biggest budget surplus in state history’, respondents were then asked: ‘How should the state legislature of 2022 use the budget? government surplus? Sixty-seven percent opted for more tax-conservative options: 24% for personal tax cuts, 21% for government debt repayment, 12% for one-time tax cuts and 10% for cash payments rather than borrowing for public projects. Only 28% were in favor of “greater investment in government programs such as education and social protection”.
Republicans can thus advance against the governor with fiscally conservative arguments. But they have a great task ahead of them. SurveyUSA found that a majority of registered voters in the state approve of Walz’s job performance. He is currently doing well for his re-election despite difficult and uncertain times.
Steven Schier is the Congdon Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.