MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Friday, both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be in Minnesota.
Minnesota has gotten more attention from the candidates with visits by the candidate’s surrogates and ad buys than in any other Presidential race in recent history.
Polls show Joe Biden has opened up a strong lead in Minnesota — three polls last week, including the CBS Battleground tracker, show Biden with a 9-point lead here.
But Republicans and political experts agree the race here is almost certainly closer than that.
In his visit to Mankato last month the President put it this way, “if we win Minnesota it is over,” he said.
“Trump is right on that,” Political Scientist Professor David Schultz said. “We really have become in so many ways a swing state. The fact that Trump almost won the state four years ago, the fact that he has been targeting it for the last three to four years is all suggesting that.”
Right now polls show Biden ahead. A new Washington Post ABC News poll shows Biden with a 16 point Minnesota advantage.
“I am putting Biden somewhere in that area of a 7 , 8, 9 point lead — still possible it could deteriorate,” Schultz said.
In 2016, polls in Minnesota missed that Trump was luring in rural areas and Minnesota’s Iron Range away from Democrats. In 2016 Minnesota had 19 pivot counties that voted for Barak Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016.
Beltrami County in northwestern Minnesota, where the President will be on Friday is one of them. In 2012, Beltrami delivered a 9-plus point victory for Obama, but in 2016, gave Trump a 9-point win.
In 2012 Obama won by more than 22 points in Mower County, but in 2016, Mower swung to Trump — delivering Trump a 7.8 percent victory.
“It’s one of those counties that speaks to the realignment of white working-class America to the Republican party,” Shultz explained.
This time Trump needs to get the suburbs to pivot and Biden needs to get key groups like Blacks and women to not repeat their 2016 subpar turnout.
“The big story is how many Democrats stayed home, especially in Hennepin County,” Schultz said. “There was an enthusiasm gap there.”
President Trump will speak at the Bemidji airport on Friday. The Biden Campaign has not yet announced where they will campaign in Minnesota.