MinnPost poll: Violent crime among top concerns of voters in upcoming election


In a MinnPost/Embold Research poll, crime was a top concern for Minnesotan voters. A majority also disapprove of the governor’s handling of it. Tim Walz responded to this issue in his first term.

Between Oct. 10-14, approximately 42% of 1,585 Minnesotans polled listed violent crime among their top priorities for the November election. Violent crime was ranked lower than the rising cost of goods and the repeal of Roe V. Wade as the top priorities. As respondents grew older, concerns about crime increased. Only 34% of respondents aged 18-34 ranked the issue as a top priority in this election, compared to 47% among respondents aged 50-64 and 48% among voters 65+. Crosstabs can be found here.

Results of the poll: Top issues
Q: Which of the following are your priorities in November’s vote? Please select up to four. :
Source: MinnPost/Embold Research

After several recent increases in crime, violent crime has become a hot election issue. The issue was a top concern of all polled but Republican voters were more inclined to make it a priority.

Only 25% of polled voters for Biden in 2020 ranked violent crime as a top priority, while 60% of 2020 Trump voters consider it a primary concern.

“Font-weight 400 Republicans across this country are campaigning against crime. This is evident from the fact that they want to make crime an issue and so voters’ minds are on it,” stated Chris Chapp, a political scientist at St. Olaf College. It all depends on the metrics you use and where you live in the country. But, based on certain metrics, crime is up and voters are paying attention .”

Nearly 60% of respondents disapprove of the way Gov. Tim Walz has been a leader in fighting rising crime over the past few years. All age groups agreed that the disapproval rate of 60% was acceptable.

Police departments in the Twin Cities have been experiencing staffing difficulties due to both the pandemic as well as the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder by a former Minneapolis Police Officer. This sparked outrage worldwide and prompted a series of resignations, retirements, and disability leaves from MPD officers.

This issue caused divisions among the genders, with 36% of women saying it was a priority and 48% of men. This is almost exactly the opposite of the results for the question asking whether abortion is a priority. 53% of women agreed to this, while 33% of men agreed. The results were similar across all ethnicities, but did not differ by education level. 37% of college-educated respondents saw the issue as a top priority compared to 47 span>

Many of the 1,585 open-ended responses compiled by pollsters listed crime as one the most pressing issues facing Minnesota and the cities throughout the state. Many complained that not enough was being done in order to stop the rise, including a suburban white woman aged 35-49 who demanded harsher sentences for offenders.

A suburban white suburban woman in the metro area who is over 65 years old voted for Biden in 2020 said that she was concerned about “crimes against property and innocent persons”.

The response said that “We are losing high quality lives because of this.”

The response Walz has to crime was opposed by nearly two-thirds (or more) of the male respondents, compared to less than half of those polled by women. This gap widened as more people were educated, with almost 70% disapproving Walz’s policies on crime.

Republican voters were overwhelmingly against Walz’s performance. Only 2% of 2020 Trump voters approved of Walz’s handling of crime.

Results of the poll: Walz handling crime
Q: How would you rate Tim Walz’s job on each of these: Crime?

Notice: The margin of error for the model is +/-2.6 percentage point.
Source: MinnPost/Change Research/Embold Research

Chapp stated that despite the increase in criminal activity over the past election cycle, he doesn’t think the issue will play a significant role in the next election. Although the issue might have a limited effect on voter turnout, particularly among Republicans or those who have been personally affected by crime, the polarization and competition for voters’ attention with issues such as inflation and women’s reproductive right may reduce its impact on election results.

He said that although it might get some people to the polls who otherwise wouldn’t, I don’t see it being an issue that will cause voters to reevaluate their preferences. It might bring some people to the polls that otherwise wouldn’t, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue that will cause voters to reevaluate their preferences span>

Methodology note

The poll was taken between Oct. 10 and Oct. 14. It included 1,585 likely voters in general elections. The poll was conducted in collaboration with Embold Research, a nonpartisan arm of Change Research. Respondents are recruited via targeted ads on social media and websites. FiveThirtyEight rates Change Research as a B- Pollster.

Embold Research employs a “model” margin of error to account for the effects of weighting (or making adjustments in order to better reflect the state’s demographics). The results were weighted based on gender, age, race/ethnicity and region as well as the 2020 presidential vote.

The margins for error in the June poll were +/– 4.6% in the Twin Cities, +/– 5.4% in the metro, and +/– 3.5% in Greater Minnesota.

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