The first major poll of how Minnesotans are leaning in the 2016 presidential race finds no one in the crowded Republican field has pulled away, Bernie Sanders is backed by one-third of Democrats, and an independent candidate named Deez Nuts could be a wild card.
Public Policy Polling (PPP) says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was favored by 19 percent of Republican respondents, while businessman Donald Trump was right behind at 18 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was backed by 15 percent.
That puts all three candidates within the poll's margin of error, which is 5.2 percent among Republicans (it was 4.9 percent among the slightly larger pool of Democratic respondents).
The poll of 1,015 registered voters was conducted from July 30 through Aug. 2. Find the full poll here.
PPP notes that while Walker's lead in the Republican race is slight, his favorability ratings were much stronger than those of his rivals. Sixty-eight percent of Republican respondents had a favorable impression of Walker, compared to 16 percent unfavorable. The next most popular candidate by that measure was Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 58 and 16, PPP says.
The tight race shown in the Minnesota poll is a contrast to recent national Republican polls showing Trump pulling away. As Politico reports, a national poll released by Monmouth University on Monday showed Trump (26 percent) more than doubling the support of his nearest competitors, Bush and Walker ( 12 and 11, respectively).
Clinton leads among Democrats
On the Democratic side, PPP found Hillary Clinton supported by 50 percent of respondents and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders backed by 32 percent.
PPP says that's more support for Sanders than they've seen in any other state.
MPR News notes that among overall respondents every candidate drew more unfavorable responses than favorable ones – with the exception of Sanders, who was viewed positively 30 percent to 29 percent.
PPP says it was for entertainment's sake that it decided to ask respondents about a hypothetical three-way presidential race involving Clinton, Trump, and independent candidate Deez Nuts.
Deez Nuts really is a presidential candidate – one of 512 people running, CBews says.
BNO News says Nuts is an Iowa man.
The vast majority of Minnesotans polled by PPP – 89 percent – said they had no opinion about Mr. Nuts. Three percent said their opinion of him is favorable, and 8 percent unfavorable.