Donald Trump trails Joe Biden by 4 points in Minnesota, poll finds

In Minnesota, the race between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden is nearly a dead heat, according to a Morning Consult poll released Tuesday. 

The survey of 643 likely Minnesota voters showed Biden leading Trump 48%-44%, within the poll's four-percentage-point margin of error. The poll found the candidates effectively tied with independent and suburban voters. Biden held a 41-point advantage with voters in the city's urban areas, while Trump led by 18 points among rural voters. 

Biden led Trump by 17 points in Minnesota in a Morning Consult poll in mid-May. But his advantage in the Gopher State dropped to three-points by early June, after protests erupted over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.

Trump has portrayed himself as the candidate who can restore "law and order" amid concerns about public safety.

"My message to Minnesota is clear: I'm here to help you. We will bring back law and order to your community. We will bring it back, and we'll bring it back immediately," Trump said at an Aug. 17 campaign speech in Minneapolis. 

The Morning Consult poll found Biden with a 3-point lead among white Minnesotans likely to vote. That lead expanded to 26 points among college-educated white people, while Trump led by 17 points with white Minnesotans without a college degree. 

A Monmouth University poll released Monday found Americans were split on which candidate would be better at restoring order. 

Poll: Two-thirds say law and order a big problem, 61% say Trump protest response made things worse

The last Republican presidential candidate to win Minnesota was Richard Nixon in 1972, but Trump came within 1.5 points of adding the state to his list of upset wins over Hillary Clinton in 2016, along with Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump's reelection campaign has long expressed optimism that it can turn the state red in 2020. 

Eric Ostermeier, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, told Morning Consult that despite Democrats' successful record there, Minnesota has emerged as a battleground state, with seven of the last 10 presidential races decided by single-digits. 

"There is a lot of partisan movement in the state, even if it has not yet happened in presidential elections," Ostermeier told Morning Consult. “With fewer targets of opportunity than Joe Biden and the Democrats, it makes sense that Trump would invest in Minnesota to expand his electoral map, even though it is the state with the longest current Democratic winning streak in presidential elections and the longest outside the South in U.S. history." 

Despite the tightening race, Biden remains in the lead and other polls have found him with a more comfortable margin. On Sunday, a CBS News/YouGov poll found him leading Trump by 9 points, 50%-41%, among likely Minnesota voters and a New York Times/Sienna College poll released last week found him ahead by the same margin. 

Overall, the polling site FiveThirtyEight finds Biden with a 7.6-point lead in its polling average – slightly higher than his national lead. RealClearPolitics' polling average has Biden up 8.8 points in the state. 

Both Trump and Biden are scheduled to make campaign stops in Minnesota on Friday, when early voting begins in the state. 

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