And I’m not even there anymore! The last time Minnesota voters endorsed a Republican for president was in 1972. The last time a Democrat lost an election for statewide office was in 2006. Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Minnesota by seven points, 52/45.
And yet, even in Minnesota, the bloom is off the Democratic rose — and maybe not just for Biden, either. The latest Star Tribune poll shows Biden’s overall job approval in the state at 47/51, but it’s only that close because of the Twin Cities. Look what happens outside of the core Hennepin and Ramsey counties:
When a Democrat is that far underwater in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, he’s in real trouble. And so are his fellow Democrats, for that matter. Tim Walz wants another term as governor, and while his approval numbers are still positive, he’s dropped below 50% to 49/44. And like Biden, Walz is not popular outside of Hennepin and Ramsey:
A year ago, Walz had a 57/36 approval rating and was rightside-up everywhere except the Iron Range in the north, and that was a virtual tie at 46/48. Walz has some serious problems, no doubt exacerbated by the drag at the White House in Biden’s collapse.
Make no mistake about it either — Biden’s collapse is apparent across nearly all demos. Independents in Minnesota disapprove of his performance by almost 2:1 at 34/62. Majorities in ever age demo except under-35s disapprove (62/37 among under 35s, though). Twelve percent of his 2020 voters disapprove, and men strongly reject Biden 28/70 while women continue their strong support at 64/34. There is an education gap in play too: college graduates give Biden double-digit job approval (56/43), while non-college graduates reject him more strongly (38/59).
The Strib doesn’t poll on a tight enough time frame to see specific inflection points, nor did it ask any specific questions on issues like COVID-19 or Afghanistan. Still, this adds to the growing body of polling data showing a confidence crisis in Biden’s presidency, and one that goes far beyond the normal boundaries of party politics. It seems to be infecting down-ballot candidates already, and the longer that Biden goes without recovering, the more it risks a rout in next year’s midterms for Democrats. Those suburban numbers alone suggest a red wave in House districts next year if the midterms follow the usual pattern of being a referendum on the incumbent president. When even Minnesota can’t provide electoral safety for Democrats, their situation is indeed dire … as long as Republicans don’t screw it up.