EXCLUSIVE: Jensen surges, Schultz leads in new Alpha News/Trafalgar Group poll

Crime, the economy, and abortion are the top issues for Minnesota voters, in that order.

Gov. Tim Walz, left, and Republican opponent Dr. Scott Jensen.

EXCLUSIVE — The first-ever Alpha News/Trafalgar Group statewide Minnesota poll was released this morning, marking Alpha News’ expansion into polling.

Republicans could be on the verge of winning their first statewide race since 2006, with the attorney general’s race representing the best opportunity for a GOP pickup, according to the results.

With nationally-recognized strategist Robert Cahaly at the helm, Trafalgar Group is consistently described as one of the most accurate pollsters in America.

He earned his reputation in 2016 when he predicted a Trump win in the presidential election, “effectively rejecting the industry consensus of a large significant Hillary Clinton electoral victory,” as he explains on his website.

The results of the new Alpha News/Trafalgar Group poll show tight races in all four statewide contests with just a few days to go until early voting begins.

At the top of the ticket, Republican challenger Dr. Scott Jensen trails the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Tim Walz, by just under 3 points. Only 4.9% of voters say they haven’t decided on a candidate.

The poll has Walz leading Jensen 47.7% to 45%, meaning Walz’s lead falls within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

An earlier KSTP/Survey USA poll conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 4 had Jensen trailing by 18 points.

The poll could add to the DFL’s anxieties about Attorney General Keith Ellison’s reelection odds. Ellison pulled off a narrow 4-point victory in 2018 in what was considered a strong year nationally for the Democratic Party, bolstered by the lagging approval ratings of former President Donald Trump.

This time around, Ellison’s party controls the White House, and its occupant, President Joe Biden, is underwater in Minnesota.

Just 43.4% of likely Minnesota voters approve of the president’s job performance, while 54.3% disapprove. This could strengthen the GOP’s performance in Minnesota, where Ellison’s Republican opponent is on track to win in November.

Political novice Jim Schultz, running on a tough-on-crime platform, leads the incumbent Ellison 49.3% to 45.7%, according to the poll. Another 4.9% of voters remain undecided.

More voters have yet to make a decision in the down-ballot races, where incumbents Steve Simon and Julie Blaha are in dead heats with their GOP opponents, Kim Crockett and Ryan Wilson, respectively.

Wilson leads Blaha 42.3% to 41.2% in the state auditor’s contest, whereas Crockett trails Simon 46.2% to 45.2% in the race for secretary of state. Both results are within the margin of error.

Reducing crime was ranked as the top issue for 41.5% of voters, followed by 21.6% who said the economy is their top concern heading into the midterms. Another 18.1% said keeping abortion available and accessible in Minnesota is their top priority.

The poll was conducted Sept. 14 among 1,079 likely general election voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9%. Party participation: 45.2% Democrats, 40.4% Republicans, and 14.4% other. Gender participation: 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

Polling methodology
Full results:
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Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and reported for The Daily Caller.