Home Part of States Newsroom
The Topline: Is Trump really up by 30 points among young Minnesota voters?


The Topline: Is Trump really up by 30 points among young Minnesota voters?

Apr 15, 2024 | 9:13 am ET
By Christopher Ingraham
The Topline: Is Trump really up by 30 points among young Minnesota voters?
Merchandise featuring former President Donald Trump sold at Trump rally at Big League Dreams stadium in Las Vegas. Photo: Jeniffer Solis/Nevada Current.

Welcome to The Topline, a weekly roundup of the big numbers driving the Minnesota news cycle, as well as the smaller ones that you might have missed. This week: a massive voter realignment (or maybe it’s just survey error); sonar imagery of the Baltimore bridge wreckage; a botched FAFSA rollout ; and what teachers say about gun lockdowns at school.

Some wild young voter numbers in the latest KSTP poll

In 2020, according to statewide exit polling, voters under the age of 30 backed Joe Biden over Donald Trump by a 35-point margin, or more than two-to-one.

Today, if the latest polling from KSTP and SurveyUSA is to be believed, those numbers have essentially reversed: the survey shows Trump leading among likely 18-34 voters by almost 30 percentage points.

Color me skeptical: You just don’t see 60-point swings in a given demographic over the course of four short years, especially when the exact same candidates are on the ballot.

The KSTP numbers can’t be written off entirely, however. National polls and surveys in other states are showing a similar young voter migration from Biden to Trump. It’s all extremely improbable, given that young voters have been reliably Democratic for decades, and it’s prompting a lot of head-scratching among pollsters and the people who rely on their data.

On top of that, polls are also showing reliably conservative seniors switching their votes to Biden. The KSTP poll has Biden up nearly 20 points among those age 65 and older. Either a massive political realignment is happening all around us, or the polls are seriously off. We’ll find out in November. 

Navy sonar shows Key Bridge wreckage at the bottom of Baltimore shipping channel

The Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore shared some fascinating sonar imagery of the Key Bridge wreckage at the bottom of Baltimore harbor. The organization says the aim is to remove wreckage extending above the waterline by the end of April, clearing the way for a limited access channel to be used while the rest of the cleanup happens.

The Baltimore Sun has more details on how the cleanup is going to proceed.

A FAFSA fiasco

This year the U.S. Department of Education is rolling out changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, intended to make it easier for prospective college students. Unfortunately, that’s meant delaying the start of the aid process for the 2024-2025 school year, and it’s introduced some glitches into the process as well.

As a result, the number of students filling out the form has plummeted this year relative to last, according to recently released Department of Education data. The On EdTech newsletter has parsed that data down to the state level to show where the declines have been steepest.

Nationally, about 40% fewer students have filled out the form than in 2023, according to the data. In Minnesota the dropoff is a more modest but still alarming 32%. That’s not necessarily a reason to celebrate, as the smaller decrease is partly a reflection of longstanding declines in the college-age population in the upper Midwest.

In aggregate, those numbers mean students may receive less financial aid, which would likely lead to an enrollment dropoff in the fall — potentially the largest since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent estimate in Inside Higher Ed.

One-quarter of teachers say their school had a gun-related lockdown last year

Bleak new data from the Pew Research Center: Roughly one in four American teachers say their school went into lockdown last year because of a gun or suspicion of a gun on school property. Among high school teachers the share was more than one-third, and teachers in urban areas reported similarly high lockdown rates.

Asked about methods to prevent school shootings, the highest share of teachers (69%) endorsed better mental health screening and treatment. Fewer supported the presence of armed guards (49%) or metal detectors (33%), while arming teachers themselves (13%) was by far the least preferred option.

Related News