The Star Tribune conducted polling recently, and stability is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about President Donald Trump's standing with Minnesotans.
After an early grace period, they have not warmed to Trump. His job approval is 40%, right about where he was in September 2018.
By a 26-point margin, Minnesotans do not believe he speaks the truth, 61%-35%. By an 18-point margin, Minnesotans believe he "abuses the power of his office," 56%-38%.
In head-to-head matchups, he loses to Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, as well as Vice President Joe Biden. In a bright spot for her struggling presidential campaign, Sen. Amy Klobuchar showed she is still Minnesotans' favorite, besting Trump in a hypothetical matchup 55% to 38%.
Minnesota is also different from Midwestern states that the Trump campaign believes will deliver his re-election. Nearly 37% of Minnesotans have achieved a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 29% in Ohio, for instance, according to the American Community Survey. Trump has not fared well with college-educated voters.
The upshot is that Team Trump has a lot of work to do if it's going to compete — let alone win — in Minnesota. It knows that, which is why it has people on the ground and is already spending money.
But the Star Tribune poll also showed some bright spots for Trump and his party.
Trump is nearing the magic number of 50% in the suburbs outside Hennepin and Ramsey counties. This will be an important battleground. Both the state House and Senate are up for grabs, and Republicans need Trump to compete in the suburbs to protect vulnerable GOP lawmakers. Otherwise, look for a repeat of the GOP's disastrous 2018 results.
Trump has also recovered in southern Minnesota after bad polling in September 2018. He'll need to rack up big totals in greater Minnesota to win the state. He won the First Congressional District — comprising the length of southern Minnesota from Wisconsin to South Dakota — by 15 percentage points in 2016. Another victory like that should protect U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Blue Earth, from his DFL challenger, Dan Feehan.
By a 1-point margin, 48%-47%, Minnesotans do not think Trump should be removed from office, according to the poll. (It's still very early in the impeachment inquiry, so that number could move in either direction.)
Trump's base is especially dismissive of the impeachment inquiry. This is key, because he must prevent defections among his core supporters. Nine in 10 Republicans think impeachment is "partisan politics," and 93% do not want him removed from office.
Finally, Republicans can also take heart — in the short term, anyway — about their strength with older voters. Trump does best with voters age 50 to 64. His worst demographic is young people.
The difference: The older folks are more likely to vote.
J. Patrick Coolican 651-925-5042 Twitter: @jpcoolican firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday: Legislative auditor James Nobles to release review of overpayments made by state DHS to White Earth Nation and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.