Could Keith Ellison end up winning in Minnesota despite allegations of domestic violence and a long history of extremist politics? Well, kinda, at least according to a new KSTP/Survey USA poll. Ellison leads Doug Wardlow in the Attorney General race 44/40, a slight improvement over last month’s 41/41 result. The big caveat is that this falls within the margin of error — well within it, actually:
And the latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll shows Ellison has gained a four-point lead over Wardlow – 44 percent to 40 percent – with 12 percent undecided, and four percent indicating they’ll vote for someone else. …
Just six weeks ago, Wardlow and Ellison were locked at 41 percent in the KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.
So what was the MoE in this SurveyUSA poll? Er … ±5.3%. That seems a little high for a statewide poll with a sample size of 600 likely voters, but unfortunately that’s all we get for methodology. Survey USA has not published the poll on its website, so none of the sample data is yet available. That MoE puts the race in a tie, but still leaves a significant number of people undecided in this race. This result contradicts a recent Star Tribune/MPR poll that put Wardlow up 44/37 in a series that isn’t exactly known for erring on the side of the GOP.
The poll did ask an intriguing question of Minnesota voters: just how much should we believe the woman in the Ellison allegations? Only 37% of Minnesota voters said that the Karen Monahan accusation played a role in their decision in the election. Among Democrats, it drops to 26%. That’s a stunning response just a few short weeks after Democrats demanded Brett Kavanaugh throw himself on a rhetorical spike over unsubstantiated assault charges from an alleged incident 36 years earlier.
Ellison’s commitment to justice for all is not in doubt, but his personal judgment is. His history with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam remains controversial even though Ellison has long since renounced the group’s anti-Semitic views. His previous support for gang members and fugitive Kathleen Soliah create further doubts and would make it challenging to build a strong relationship with law enforcement.
The fallout from two of Ellison’s personal relationships is also concerning. In 2006, a woman accused Ellison of verbal abuse, but he previously had obtained a restraining order against her. More recently, former girlfriend Karen Monahan says Ellison emotionally abused her and pulled her off a bed. Those allegations were unsubstantiated by a detailed outside review, but further investigation by law enforcement is necessary.
The Editorial Board contacted Monahan, but she would only refer back to statements she had already made. Ellison, to his credit, has not responded angrily to Monahan, but the instability in his personal life is a liability, and questions raised by Monahan’s allegations continue to hang over his candidacy.
The “detailed outside review,” by the way, was conducted by the law partner of the DFL’s own counsel. How that qualifies as “outside,” let alone “detailed,” is for the Strib’s editorial board to explain, since they’re clearly not going to press the DFL for an explanation. The editors tacitly acknowledge that, though, by calling for a law-enforcement probe — one that would create an instant conflict of interest if Ellison becomes AG.
The KSTP/SUSA poll offered less hope in another key race. The gubernatorial race between DFL nominee Tim Walz and Republican Jeff Johnson is within single digits:
With just over four days until Election Day, Democrat Tim Walz maintains an eight-point lead over Republican Jeff Johnson in the race for governor, according to our exclusive new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.
In the poll of 600 “likely voters,” Walz leads Johnson 49 percent to 41 percent, with nine percent still undecided and two percent favoring other candidates.
“There’s significant undecideds, so this is still a competitive race,” Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier said after reviewing the results.
This also has the same large MoE, too, and it’s all but identical to the mid-September poll from SUSA.