Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
New polls in four key battleground states show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with the edge over President Donald Trump, including in one of the key states Trump flipped to the Republican column in 2016.
A set of New York Times Upshot/Siena College surveys released Saturday had Biden leading Trump in Minnesota, 50 percent to 41 percent, and more narrowly ahead in Wisconsin, 48 percent to 43 percent. The polls show closer races in two more states: Nevada, where the results showed Biden at 46 percent and Trump at 42 percent, and New Hampshire, where Biden had 45 percent to Trump’s 42 percent.
Wisconsin was one of three Midwestern states Trump flipped from the Democratic column in 2016 to win the presidency, and the Trump campaign has regularly cited Minnesota as a state it will try to flip this year after a close 2016 win for Hillary Clinton. Clinton also scored narrow wins in Nevada and New Hampshire in the last presidential election.
The Times/Siena surveys are about in line with the average of recent poll results in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but they depict tighter races in Nevada and New Hampshire, where there has been less polling this summer — especially in Nevada.
Voters in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, two states that have grappled with incidents of police brutality and a summer of protests that followed, said they trusted Biden to do a better job handling race relations, protests and violent crime, despite Trump’s recent efforts to paint Biden as an ally of anarchy and violence.
But the surveys also showed that crime is high on many voters’ minds, even compared to the coronavirus pandemic, as Trump focuses on “law and order” as his campaign theme.
In Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, voters were split over whether addressing the coronavirus pandemic or law and order was more important in the 2020 election. A majority — 52 percent — of voters in Nevada, which saw its biggest drop in coronavirus cases this week since June, said tackling law and order took precedence over the pandemic.
The polls were conducted Sept. 8-11 across the four states, surveying 814 likely voters in Minnesota, 760 likely voters in Wisconsin, 462 likely voters in Nevada and 445 likely voters in New Hampshire. The margins of error ranged from 3.9 percentage points in Minnesota to 5.5 percentage points in New Hampshire.