Major pollster labels Minnesota a toss-up as Walz numbers on crime, education tank

64% disapprove of Walz on crime, while 55% disapprove of him on education.

Gov. Tim Walz participates in a public safety roundtable in Burnsville in April 2022. (Office of Governor Tim Walz/Flickr)

As poll numbers for Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz continue to fall, one major pollster has labeled the state’s gubernatorial race a “toss-up.”

RealClearPolitics, an independent poll aggregator and media company, is giving Walz an average point advantage of 3.5 over Dr. Scott Jensen, the Republican-endorsed candidate for governor.

That is within the 3.75-point average margin of error, based on a combination of MinnPost and KSTP/SurveyUSA data.

MinnPost’s poll, conducted from June 3 through 8, found that Walz only has a two-point advantage over Jensen, 42% to 40%. The poll surveyed 1,551 “likely general election voters” and had a 2.6% margin of error.

The SurveyUSA poll asking 513 likely voters of their preference between the two found that Walz has a five-point advantage over Jensen, 44% to 39%. That survey has a 4.9% margin of error.

The current data is a far cry from that of Walz’s election victory in 2018. That year, RealClearPolitics had Minnesota either “leaning” or “likely” Democratic. Walz ended up beating Republican nominee and then-current Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson by 53.9% to 42.4%, an 11.5% margin of victory.

Walz’s popularity has waned over the past couple years as Minnesotans have had to endure COVID lockdowns and mandates, riots following the death of George Floyd in 2020, high rates of property crime and violent crime, and persistent inflation.

MinnPost’s recent survey shows that Walz has approval and disapproval ratings of exactly 50% each. On his handling of jobs and COVID, he has approval ratings of 51% and 49% respectively, but his handling of crime and education fares worse. 64% disapprove of Walz on crime, while 55% disapprove of him on education.

Despite this, his popularity remains greater than President Joe Biden, who only has a 41% approval rating among Minnesotans.