Republicans face a tough electoral cycle this year in their fight to retain control of the Senate. They have to defend far more seats than Democrats do, and even previously red states like Arizona and Georgia appear to be slipping away. They can only afford to lose three seats, and that’s if Donald Trump wins re-election and Mike Pence can cast a tie-breaking vote. Otherwise, Mitch McConnell will have to limit his losses to two in order to keep control of the upper chamber in a Joe Biden administration.

The GOP expects to pick up an easy win in Alabama, where Democratic incumbent Doug Jones isn’t facing a Roy Moore-esque opponent. But a late-breaking poll might hint that Republicans could pull off an Election Night surprise in Minnesota. “There is a dramatic shift in this race,” KSTP reported last night:

Democratic U.S. Senator Tina Smith is now in a dogfight to keep her Senate seat after her once double-digt lead dwindled to a one-point lead in our latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll. Smith leads Republican challenger Jason Lewis 43% to 42%, with 12% undecided. Another three percent favor other candidates.

In mid-September Smith had a 47% to 36% lead over Lewis. Earlier in October she still maintained a seven-point lead, 44% to 37%.

Tina Smith spent $10 million and blanketed the airwaves … and still lost ten points in the gap. Jason Lewis hasn’t been on the airwaves in a couple of weeks, and yet he’s pulled into a dead heat. Hmmmmmm.

“This Senate race could go either way and it’s a bit of a surprise because Tina Smith has had a lot more resources than Jason Lewis,” Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier told 5 Eyewitness News.

One thing fueling the tightening race is that Smith’s lead among women and suburban voters has largely evaporated. Schier says ads some outside groups have been running with highlights of negative things Lewis has said about women on talk radio don’t seem to be as effective as they once were.

That in itself is a bit of a surprise. They had an impact two years ago, or at least seemed to have an impact, in Lewis’ loss to Angie Craig in his MN-02 House re-election campaign. That was likely more driven by a national blue wave of some significance rather than those specifics, of course, but those quotes have been around a long while, too. It’s the third successive cycle in which the DFL and its allies have used them, and by now it’s old news in Minnesota.

The demos are interesting in other categories, too. Lewis only trails by six points among voters under 35 years of age, with 22% of that demo undecided (by far the largest among the age demos). Some of those voters will likely come home to the DFL, especially with Donald Trump on the top of the ticket, but we’re fourteen days out from the election, too. Many of them might not be voting at all, which is bad news for Democrats.

Even more disturbing for Smith and the DFL, though, are the urban voters. Lewis only gets 29% of them, but Smith gets a bare majority at 51%. Seventeen percent are undecided in the cities, which are the strongholds of the Democrats. That’s a huge red flag on enthusiasm in this election where Democrats have to run up big totals to take the whole state.  Lewis leads in three of the four “regions” of Minnesota, by double digits in two — western MN and the Iron Range, a former DFL stronghold. He only trails Smith in the metro area of the Twin Cities, and then only by eleven points, 38/49.

Smith is clearly in trouble here, which is surprising, considering the general mood of the electorate.  Or is it? If one pays attention to Gallup’s polling on party ID and indie splits, then perhaps the swing back in the suburbs is a bit more explicable.

The big question is … what does this portend for Trump in Minnesota? Lewis may well be outperforming Trump here, but I’m not sure that Smith is underperforming Joe Biden. Trump also made this interesting claim earlier today about suburban women in general, but perhaps he was referencing Minnesota:

One last point to consider: Survey USA does a lot of polling in Minnesota. Their reliability has been questioned in the past, but it’s not as if they’re new to the game here.