Minnesotans are more narrowly divided on whether they are likely to vote for a Democrat or a Republican in November's congressional elections than the rest of the country.

A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found that 47 percent are now inclined to vote for a Democrat, while 45 percent said they'll probably vote for a Republican — a statistical tie given the poll's 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

Nationally, Democrats have a big advantage in the "generic ballot" question: They have an 11-point edge in a Real Clear Politics average of seven polls conducted between Dec. 11 and Tuesday.

The website FiveThirtyEight's average of national polls gives Democrats a 13-point advantage.

Those poll questions can be a reliable early indicator of voter sentiment heading into national elections.

Minnesota will be a key battleground in the Nov. 6 effort by Republicans to retain control of the U.S. House and Senate.

Representatives will be chosen in all eight of the state's congressional districts, Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be up for re-election and Democrat Sen. Tina Smith will attempt in a special election to fill out the term of Al Franken, who resigned Jan. 2.

The Minnesota Poll of 800 people found an electorate that is as polarized politically as the divisive first year of President Donald Trump might suggest.

Ninety-five percent of Democrats and the same percentage of Republicans said they're inclined to vote for candidates from their own parties. Among independents, 43 percent said they lean Democratic and an identical percentage said they're more likely to vote for Republicans.

Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the state in the 2016 presidential election with 46.44 percent of the vote; Trump got 44.92 percent. Minnesota's current U.S. House delegation includes five Democrats and three Republicans.

Judy Keen