President Barack Obama has opened an 8-point lead over Mitt Romney in Minnesota, but still remains below the critical 50 percent threshold, according to a new poll by the Minneapolis Star Tribune
The poll of 800 likely voters taken Sept. 17-19 gives Obama a 48 percent to 40 percent lead over Romney, who, as in many other polls across the country, has a slight edge over the president in support among men. But Obama is leading among women in Minnesota by more than 20 percentage points.
The Star Tribune survey also found that Libertarian Party Candidate Gary Johnson is favored by about 5 percent of voters, while 7 percent remain undecided.
In terms of how their support breaks down statewide, Obama has established a big lead in the northeastern part of the state, including the Duluth area, with a 54 percent to 33 percent advantage over Romney. The Republican nominee, meanwhile, beats Obama 42 percent to 37 percent in southwestern Minnesota, which the poll found also has the highest number of undecided voters in the state at 15 percent.
The poll also asked respondents about how they view the candidates. Some 45 percent said they felt "favorably" about the president, while 40 percent said they viewed him unfavorably.
Romney registered 37 percent on the question of favorability, while 43 percent voiced an unfavorable opinion of him.
The Star Tribune survey also asked respondents their opinion of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan of neighboring Wisconsin. It was thought by some political observers that his selection would help the GOP ticket in Minnesota.
But the poll found likely voters equally divided in their opinions about him, with a quarter of those surveyed saying they either didn't know who he was or had a neutral view of his impact on the campaign.
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