New poll: Tyler Kistner within striking distance of flipping CD2

Voters in Minnesota's Second District want to send a Republican to Congress, ousting Rep. Craig. Now it's up to Kistner to convince them he's the man for the job.

Tyler Kistner (Kistner for Congress); Angie Craig (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

Voters in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District favor Republicans to Democrats by a 46-44% margin, according to internal polling obtained by Alpha News.

This is good news for Republican Tyler Kistner and bad news for incumbent Democrat Rep. Angie Craig.

Kistner is a former Marine Raider turned congressional hopeful. He nearly won in 2020, losing by just over 2%. This time around, a top GOP polling firm suggests the race will be even harder for Craig amid a wave of anti-Democrat sentiment as Americans recoil against President Joe Biden’s unpopular administration (40% approval).

“Our latest polling data shows that the political environment in the district is trending strongly for Republicans, President Biden is deeply unpopular, and Republican challenger Tyler Kistner is well positioned to defeat Democratic incumbent Angie Craig,” the polling firm Cygnal said in a memo to the Kistner campaign.

Kistner for Congress/Cygnal

While Kistner enjoys 48% less name recognition than his opponent, internal Cygnal polling data suggests that only 24% of undecided voters favor Craig. This may hurt her odds in an election cycle where most Americans are suffering financially with a Democrat in the White House. Cygnal was recognized as the most accurate polling firm during the 2018 midterms. In 2020, they called more races correctly than any other Republican polling group.

Further bolstering Kistner’s position is the fact that 49% of voters said they want to send a Republican to Congress who will check and balance President Biden’s policies; 41% said they want a Democrat who will support the president’s policies.

Despite this, however, Kistner is not leading. In a contest that specifically pits Kistner against Craig, he loses 38.2-42.9%, per Cygnal data; but uncertainty is introduced into this equation by the 14.5% of voters who say they’re undecided.

Additionally, Cygnal concludes that Craig has hit a ceiling at 43%, whereas Kistner has room to grow.

“With near-universal name ID and a highly polarized image, the data shows little capacity for Rep. Craig to exceed the already-weak 43% she receives on the ballot test against Tyler Kistner, who has 48% less name ID than the incumbent,” the polling firm says.

Kistner for Congress/Cygnal

Meanwhile, Kistner appears to be orienting his campaign around how the economy is impacting everyday Americans. Specifically, he highlights surging gas prices, a worsening consumer environment and projected increases in college tuition in Minnesota — all of which he attributes to Craig and Biden’s fiscal policy.

He has also secured a slew of important endorsements: Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Tom Cotton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He was also endorsed by then-president Donald Trump in 2020.