Might Trump carry Minnesota?

That idea seems farfetched, but both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have begun running television advertising in Minnesota, so their own polling must show the race as reasonably close. An intriguing data point came this morning from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office: over 77,000 students from 280 high schools cast mock ballots in the presidential election. And guess what? Donald Trump won, by 35% to 33%, with third party candidates and write-ins drawing quite a few votes.

The accompanying spread sheet shows data by school. If you assume that high school kids tend to vote the way they hear their parents talking at home, the results are fascinating. Trump absolutely slaughters Clinton in Greater Minnesota–not just the northern part of the state, but generally outside the metro area. To cite just one of many examples, Trump carried New Prague High School over Clinton 374-151.

On the other hand, Clinton clobbers Trump in the public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul, e.g. Southwest High School in Minneapolis, where Clinton squashed Trump 1,203 to 36. Along with the public schools, elite private schools voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, while non-elite private religious schools went even more overwhelmingly for Trump. Clinton dominates the inner tier suburbs, while the outer suburbs are variable, but trending toward Trump, while the exurbs went for Trump (e.g., Forest Lake HS, 426-200).

None of this is a surprise, except for the fact that when you net out the candidates’ expected strengths and weaknesses, Trump comes out slightly ahead–at least at the high school level. Of course, not all high schools participated, and some students’ votes are perhaps a rebellion against their parents’ views rather than a reflection of them. We will know in a week whether the high school vote was significant or not. In the meantime, watch for both Trump and Clinton to increase their Minnesota ad buys.