Blue Wall Voices Project
The Blue Wall Voices Project examines voters in the state of Minnesota to get their perspectives on key issues and aspects of the 2020 election, including the role that health care and the economy may play in voters’ decisions. In addition, it gauges enthusiasm and vote choice leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
Overall, Minnesota voters say that a number of issues will be the most important in deciding their vote for president in 2020, with health care, the economy, and climate change emerging as the top issues. About one in five Minnesota voters say health care (20%), climate change (17%), and the economy (16%), are the most important issues to their vote, with smaller shares naming issues like gun policy (11%), immigration (11%), foreign policy and national security (9%), taxes (8%), and international trade and tariffs (1%). Partisans are divided in their priorities with three in ten Democrats ranking health care and climate change as their top issues, about two in ten independents ranking health care and the economy as their top issues, and one-fourth of Republicans ranking the economy as the most important issue and one in five saying immigration will be the most important issue in deciding their 2020 vote choice.
Overall, a majority of Minnesota voters disapprove of President Trump’s job performance (58%) while four in ten voters approve (42%). In addition, most Minnesota voters also disapprove of the way he is handling foreign policy (58%), health care (57%), immigration (56%), and trade with other countries (55%). Minnesota voters are more divided in their views of how President Trump is handling the economy with 49% of voters saying they approve compared to 51% who disapprove.
Minnesota Voters on Health Care Priorities
When asked specifically about health care priorities that Congress could work on next year, over six in ten say lowering prescription drug costs (64%) and maintaining protections for people with pre-existing conditions (62%) should be the top priority for Congress. These priorities substantially outrank other policy proposals such as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (28%), expanding government financial help for people who buy their own health insurance coverage on the ACA marketplace to include more people (21%), and implementing a public option (23%) or national Medicare-for-all plan (20%). These top two priorities persist across partisans, with large shares of Democratic, independent, and Republican voters naming lowering prescription drug costs and maintaining pre-existing condition protections as top priorities. However, over half of Republican voters (53%) also say that repealing and replacing the ACA should be a top priority. Implementing a national Medicare-for-all plan, a topic that has dominated health care discussions in the 2020 Democratic primary, is not a top priority for a majority of voters or for Democratic voters, specifically.
Minnesota Voters’ Views of the U.S. Economy
Turning to the economy, the other top issue for voters during the 2020 election, Minnesota voters are optimistic about the U.S. economic forecast over the next 12 months. About half of Minnesota voters say that during the next 12 months, the U.S. will have “good times” (53%), compared to a slightly smaller share who say the U.S. will experience “bad times” (44%). Views towards the U.S. economy are largely partisan with two-thirds of Democrats (68%) saying bad times are ahead, while over eight in ten Republicans (84%) say the U.S. will experience “good times” financially. Independent voters are more divided, but lean positive with 54% saying they expect “good times,” while 44% say the U.S. economy will experience “bad times” over the next year.
The Democratic Primary in Minnesota and Preview of the General Election
Slightly over half of Minnesota voters say they are more motivated (52%) to vote in next year’s election than in the previous presidential election. This includes majorities of Democrats (57%) and Republicans (59%) and nearly half of independents (47%) saying they feel more motivated than they did in 2016.
Given the high levels of motivation as the next presidential election approaches, the Blue Wall Voices survey explored what could be motivating voters. When asked specifically what the one thing is that will motivate them to vote in the 2020 election, voters offer an array of responses, with the most frequently volunteered response related to defeating Trump (18%), followed by those who offered responses related to civic duty (11%). Smaller shares cite reasons such as to re-elect Trump or not wanting a Democrat (9%), health care (6%), a candidate with good ethics (4%), and the environment or climate change (4%).
With more than four months left before the 2020 Minnesota Democratic primary, Senator Elizabeth Warren garners the most support among likely Democratic primary voters followed by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders. One-fourth of Minnesota Democratic primary voters say Senator Warren is their first choice for the 2020 Democratic ticket and a combined 43% of voters say she is their first choice or second choice.
About one-third of Minnesota voters say they are “definitely voting for the Democratic nominee” (32%) and about one-fourth (24%) say they are “definitely voting for President Trump.” Many voters (41%) in the state remain uncertain about who they will support in the 2020 general election. Of that 41%, two in ten voters say they are “undecided” (21%), and about one in ten say they are either “probably voting for the Democratic nominee” (10%) or “probably voting for President Trump” (10%). This poll finds few persuadable Minnesota voters, meaning that, while they currently support one candidate, they could be convinced to support the other party’s candidate. Three percent of all Minnesota voters say that they are probably going to vote for President Trump, but there is “a chance” they will vote for the Democratic nominee. On the other side, 1% of Minnesota voters say that they are probably voting for the Democratic nominee, but there is “a chance” they will vote for President Trump.
Minnesota swing voters (those who are undecided or say they are probably going to vote for either President Trump or the Democratic nominee) have very different views on two key immigration issues. While three-fourths of Minnesota swing voters (76%) think a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally is a “good idea,” two-thirds think stopping detainments at the U.S. border for people who are coming into the country illegally is a “bad idea.”
On other progressive platforms, Minnesota swing voters have positive views towards a ban on future sales of assault weapons (68%) and a Green New Deal that would address climate change through new regulations and increases in government spending on green jobs and energy-efficient infrastructure (64%), but say a national Medicare-for all plan is a “bad idea” (63%). Minnesota swing voters are more divided in their views towards a ban on owning assault weapons including a mandatory buyback program (54% say it is a “good idea,” while 46% say it is a “bad idea”) and a ban on fracking (42% say it is a “good idea,” while 50% say it is a “bad idea”).