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Published October 28 2012

Poll: Presidential race tightens in Minnesota; Obama maintains slight lead

MINNEAPOLIS – With Election Day more than a week away, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows the presidential race is tightening in the state, with President Barack Obama holding just a slight edge over his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

The poll published Sunday in the Star Tribune shows Obama with a 3-point lead over Romney – within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The poll shows Obama has support from 47 percent of likely voters, while Romney has support from 44 percent. A Minnesota Poll last month showed Obama had an 8-percentage point advantage. Since then, Romney has gained more support from women and from undecided voters or those who would lean toward a third-party candidate, while more independent voters have leaned toward Obama in the past month.

The poll surveyed 800 likely Minnesota voters by phone between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25.

According to those surveyed, women still tend to favor Obama, with 53 percent of women polled saying they support the president, compared with 37 percent for Romney. Romney has more male support – with 51 percent of men favoring Romney and 40 percent choosing Obama.

Obama has more support in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, where he leads Romney 57 percent to 35 percent. But in the metro suburbs, more than half of those surveyed supported Romney. The former Massachusetts governor also has a slight edge over Obama in outstate Minnesota.

Voters younger than 35 still favor Obama, 53 percent to 36 percent, but Romney’s support among younger voters has increased over the past month.

Meanwhile, Obama has gained support with older voters.

Democrat Dave Stenberg, of Howard Lake, said he is not fond of either choice, but that Obama should get another term.

“No one is going to fix something in four years that was ruined in eight,” the 54-year-old said.

Janet McCoy, 74, said events over the past month have firmed her support for Romney.

“I think this country has gone (down) such a wrong path, and I think we need to change,” the Winona Republican said.

The poll comes as more Minnesotans identify themselves as Republicans.

A month ago, the poll’s sample was 41 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican and 31 percent independent or other. In this survey, 38 percent of respondents said they were Democrats, 33 percent Republican and 29 percent independent or other.