A majority of Minnesota voters say GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is unfit to serve as president because of lewd sexual remarks he has made about kissing women and grabbing them by their genitals, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
Statewide, 55 percent of likely voters say the comments captured on a 2005 video that emerged publicly earlier in October disqualify Trump from being president. The poll of 625 registered Minnesota voters has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The poll found a dramatic 15 percentage point gap between men and women on the question. Among female voters, 62 percent said Trump was unfit to be president because of his lewd remarks. Less than half of male voters — 47 percent — say Trump is not fit because of his remarks.
The Minnesota Poll reflects a stark gender divide that has been evident through much of the campaign, with national polls showing Trump trailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton most among female voters. Andy Post, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign in Minnesota, defended the candidate’s record with women.
“Here in Minnesota, 75 percent of our hundreds of grass-roots volunteers for the Trump campaign are women,” Post said in a statement. “Mr. Trump has utmost respect for women, has promoted them throughout his businesses and has a strong, impressive woman as his campaign manager.”
Following the poll, DFLers reiterated their assertion that Trump lacks the temperament to be president.
“Most Americans, most Minnesotans want their president to be a role model, and someone people can look up and aspire to,” DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin said. “Part of being a role model means you need to model behavior. You need to act a certain way. There’s a certain decorum that goes along with these positions.”
In Hennepin and Ramsey counties, where the former first lady and secretary of state has the bulk of her statewide support, 65 percent say Trump’s comments made him unfit to be president.
In the metro suburbs and in outstate Minnesota, that rate dropped to 51 and 50 percent, respectively.
Among Democrats, more than 80 percent say the comments should disqualify Trump from being president. Only 27 percent of Republicans agreed. More than half of independent voters, a group the two presidential campaigns are fighting hard to win over in these crucial final weeks, say Trump’s comments render him unfit for the nation’s highest elected office.
Keith Downey, chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party, declined to comment on the poll findings.
In early October, the day after the Trump tape was released, Downey denounced the nominee’s remarks in a statement saying: “These lewd and demeaning comments and the behavior they describe contradict the very core of the values of the Republican Party.”
The poll of likely voters was conducted Oct. 20-22, after the third and final presidential debate, and included participants reached on landlines and cellphones.
Since the release of the video on which Trump bragged about kissing and groping women, 11 women have come forward accusing him of touching them inappropriately or making unwanted sexual advances.
Trump has forcefully denied the accusations, and has vowed to sue every woman who has come forward with allegations.
The Minnesota Poll found that nearly 60 percent of respondents say Trump “probably has” made unwanted sexual advances toward multiple women.
About a quarter — 26 percent — said they were not sure, and 15 percent said Trump probably “has not” made such advances.
A majority of voters in every corner of the state, from the Twin Cities to the suburbs to outstate Minnesota, said they found the women’s claims credible. The most skepticism came in outstate Minnesota, but even there, 53 percent of voters believe the women who came forward.
Fully 65 percent of voters between 18 and 34 say he probably made unwanted sexual advances on multiple women.
Post, Trump’s spokesman, did not directly address this question, but said the uproar sparked by the allegations is part of Clinton’s effort to “distract the American people” from her own record.
Martin, with the DFL, said Trump is trying to “blame the victims,” and said poll reflects that Minnesotans are not buying it.