A woman holds a sign supporting Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala D. Harris as President Trump makes a campaign stop in Mankato, Minn., last month. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Former vice president Joe Biden holds a wide lead over President Trump in Minnesota, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, with voters in the battleground state expressing greater faith in Biden than Trump to handle issues of racial equality, crime and violence at political protests.

The poll finds that Biden leads 57 percent to 41 percent among Minnesota likely voters, a 16-point margin that contrasts with Biden’s slight six-point edge in a Post-ABC poll conducted in Wisconsin over the same period.

Minnesota

Washington Post-ABC News Poll

Biden has clear lead over Trump in Minnesota

Q: If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote/lean toward?

Among likely voters

Biden/Harris 57%

Error margin

Trump/Pence 41%

Note: “Other” and “No opinion” not shown.

Sept. 8-13, 2020, Washington Post-ABC News poll of 615 likely voters in Minnesota with an error margin of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Minnesota

Washington Post-ABC News Poll

Biden has clear lead over Trump in Minnesota

Q: If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote/lean toward?

Among likely voters

Biden/Harris 57%

Error margin

Trump/Pence 41%

Note: “Other” and “No opinion” not shown.

Sept. 8-13, 2020, Washington Post-ABC News poll of 615 likely voters in Minnesota with an error margin of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Minnesota

Washington Post-ABC News Poll

Biden has clear lead over Trump in Minnesota

Q: If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote/lean toward?

Among likely voters

Biden/Harris 57%

Error margin

Trump/Pence 41%

Note: “Other” and “No opinion” not shown.

Sept. 8-13, 2020, Washington Post-ABC News poll of 615 likely voters in Minnesota with an error margin of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Biden’s big margin in the Minnesota poll warrants caution given his narrower lead in Wisconsin. Outcomes in these two states have been similar in recent presidential elections, differing by no more than four points in their vote margin since 2000.

Biden’s lead in Minnesota in the Post-ABC poll also exceeds that of other recent polls, including those released Saturday and Sunday by New York Times/Siena College and CBS News/YouGov, which both found Biden leading by nine points among likely voters. A Fox News poll of registered voters in Minnesota this July found Biden ahead by 13 points.

Nonetheless, the Post-ABC poll adds to evidence that Minnesota voters have shifted away from Trump since 2016, when he lost the state by less than two points. Barack Obama won Minnesota by eight points in 2012 and 10 points in 2008.

Whether and by how much the state has shifted since 2016 will ultimately be answered in November, after an additional seven weeks of campaigning and three presidential debates that typically reinforce voters’ partisan instincts. In 2016, one-fifth of Minnesota voters said they made their decision in the final week, and they chose to support Trump by 53 percent to 31 percent, according to exit polling.

The Post-ABC polls in Minnesota and Wisconsin are the first in a series of surveys examining attitudes of voters in key election battlegrounds, all conducted by professional interviewers through random sampling of cellphones and landlines. The Minnesota poll was conducted from Sept. 8 to 13 among a random sample of 777 adults, including 615 likely voters. The surveys are capable of providing a rough estimate of voters’ opinions with a 4.5-point margin of sampling error among likely voters. That margin applies to estimates of support for each candidate, rather than the gap between them.

In 2016, Trump’s surprising strength in Upper Midwestern states was driven by late-deciding voters and by his support among White voters without four-year college degrees, a group that was underrepresented in some state polls that year that did not weight samples by educational attainment. Trump won White voters without college degrees nationally by more than 30 percentage points, according to surveys of confirmed voters.

Minnesota

Washington Post-ABC News Poll

Biden leads in Minnesota among women, White college graduates and those worried about catching the coronavirus

Vote choice by group among likely voters

Support Biden

Support Trump

48

51

Male

67

31

Female

White college

graduates

69

30

White

non-college

48

51

Veteran

household

53

45

Non-veteran

household

59

39

Worried about

family catching

coronavirus

79

18

Not worried about

family catching

coronavirus

81

18

Note: “Other,” “Neither,” “Would not vote” and “No opinion” not shown.

Sept. 8-13, 2020, Washington Post-ABC News poll of 615 likely voters in Minnesota with an error margin of +\- 4.5 percentage points. Error margin larger among subgroups.

Minnesota

Washington Post-ABC News Poll

Biden leads in Minnesota among women, White college graduates and those worried about catching the coronavirus

Vote choice by group among likely voters

Support Biden

Support Trump

48

51

Male

67

31

Female

White college

graduates

69

30

White

non-college

48

51

Veteran

household

53

45

Non-veteran

household

59

39

Worried about

family catching

coronavirus

79

18

Not worried about

family catching

coronavirus

81

18

Note: “Other,” “Neither,” “Would not vote” and “No opinion” not shown.

Sept. 8-13, 2020, Washington Post-ABC News poll of 615 likely voters in Minnesota with an error margin of +\- 4.5 percentage points. Error margin larger among subgroups.

Minnesota

Washington Post-ABC News Poll

Biden leads in Minnesota among women, White college

graduates and those worried about catching the coronavirus

Vote choice by group among likely voters

Support Biden

Support Trump

Male

48

51

Female

67

31

White college graduates

69

30

White non-college

48

51

Veteran household

53

45

Non-veteran household

59

39

Worried about family

catching coronavirus

79

18

Not worried about family

catching coronavirus

18

81

Note: “Other,” “Neither,” “Would not vote” and “No opinion” not shown.

Sept. 8-13, 2020, Washington Post-ABC News poll of 615 likely voters in Minnesota with an error margin of +\- 4.5 percentage points. Error margin larger among subgroups.

The Post-ABC Minnesota poll’s initial sample of adults was weighted by educational attainment as well as race, gender, age and geopolitical regions of the state. White voters without college degrees make up 52 percent of the subsample of likely voters, similar to 50 percent of 2016 Minnesota voters, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

The Post-ABC Minnesota poll finds 34 percent of registered voters identifying as Democrats, 29 percent as Republicans and 36 percent as independents, a five-point edge for Democrats. That compares with the Democrats’ two-point party identification edge in 2016 exit polling and their eight-point advantage in 2012 exit polling.

Trump’s large deficit in the Post-ABC poll of Minnesota is rooted in lukewarm support among the White voters without college degrees on which he has long depended and lopsided opposition among women and college graduates. Overall, White voters without college degrees in the poll split 51 percent for Trump to 48 percent for Biden. There is a sharp gender divide within that group of voters, with Trump leading by 23 points among men while trailing by 19 points among women.

Among the minority of White voters with four-year college degrees in Minnesota, Biden leads by a margin of more than 2 to 1 — 69 percent to 30 percent — with Biden’s support rising to 76 percent among White women with college degrees.

Other recent polls also show Trump holding a lead among White voters without college degrees, albeit smaller than in 2016. The recent NYT/Siena College poll found Trump leading among this group by 50 percent to 40 percent, while the CBS/YouGov poll found Trump ahead by 15 points.


A man flies a pro-Trump flag during a rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Sept. 12. (Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters)

A comparison of the Post-ABC polls in Wisconsin and Minnesota finds Trump faces similar challenges in reassembling his coalition from 2016 in both states, although Minnesota remains a tougher sell for the president.

Compared with his three-point edge among White voters without college degrees in Minnesota, his standing in Wisconsin is boosted by a 10-point advantage among those voters.

Female voters overall in Wisconsin favor Biden by 21 points, outpacing Trump’s 10-point margin among men. In Minnesota, Biden enjoys a 36-point margin among women, 67 percent to 31 percent, and Trump breaks about even with men, 51 percent to 48 percent for Biden.

Beyond voters’ preferences in the presidential race, the poll shows the coronavirus pandemic and the economy are central issues to Minnesota voters, who offer differing opinions of whether Trump or Biden would handle each issue better.

A 58 percent majority of Minnesota registered voters say the nation’s economy is “not so good” or “poor,” though voters split about evenly on Trump’s handling of the issue, with 47 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving. Voters are also roughly divided on which candidate they trust more to handle the economy, with 46 percent trusting Trump more and 49 percent trusting Biden more.

On the pandemic, fears of becoming infected persist, with more than 6 in 10 Minnesota voters “very” or “somewhat” worried about an immediate family member catching the novel coronavirus. A similar 60 percent of voters disapprove of the way Trump has handled the outbreak, and voters trust Biden over Trump to handle the issue by a wide margin, 58 percent to 36 percent.

Minnesota has been a locus for nationwide attention over police treatment of Black Americans following the police killing of George Floyd in late May. One officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes; a video of Floyd’s incapacitation led to protests around the country.

The poll finds 55 percent of registered Minnesota voters support protests against police treatment of Black people, fairly similar to 51 percent of Wisconsin voters who say the same.

Trump has blamed Democrats for unrest following police shootings, warning that violence would spread to suburban communities if Biden becomes president. Yet the poll finds that the president is at a disadvantage on these issues; 42 percent trust Trump more to handle “crime and safety,” while 53 percent trust Biden more. Biden holds a wider 14-point advantage on which candidate voters trust to discourage violence at political protests and a 24-point lead on who would ensure the most “equal treatment of racial groups.”

On personal attributes, slightly more Minnesota voters say Biden is a stronger leader than Trump, 51 percent to 44 percent. Biden has a clearer advantage on being more empathetic, with 55 percent of voters saying Biden better understands “the problems of people like you,” compared with 37 percent for Trump. Biden holds a similar 22-point advantage on which candidate is more honest and trustworthy, 56 percent to 34 percent.

The gap in views on honesty — which is a smaller 11 points in Wisconsin — suggests a potential shift in how voters see the current choice as distinct from the 2016 election and more beneficial to the Democratic candidate.

That year, the Minnesota network exit poll found widespread doubts of both candidates’ honesty, with 63 percent saying Hillary Clinton was not honest, while 67 percent said the same of Trump.

Graphics by Daniela Santamariña. Emily Guskin and Alauna Safarpour contributed to this report.