What Happened in the MN-01 Congressional Election? (2018)

Please note: The analysis below is based on an initial estimate of the 2018 electorate. Catalist released an updated analysis of the 2018 electorate in May 2019.


February 15, 2019

Author: Jonathan Robinson, Lead Research Scientist

  1. Turnout in partisan terms resembled recent Presidential electorates, meaning the composition of the electorate was much less Republican compared to the past two midterm elections in 2014 and 2010.
  2. Similar to other Obama-Trump districts we have profiled, Feehan improved over Hillary Clinton’s performance across the board, but mostly by making up ground with Democratic and Independent-leaning voters — while only losing a small amount of ground among Republican voters.
  3. Feehan made stronger gains among college-educated voters in the district than those without a degree, who still make up a large majority of voters. Younger voters in this district, especially the generation of voters who were first eligible election to vote in 2016, are much more Republican here than nationally or other geographies we have profiled.

This is more apparent in a map of the district below, where we can see his overperformance in the better educated more suburban areas of the district (like the town of Rochester — home of the Mayo Clinic), was higher than it was in the more Republican, less well educated rural areas of the district.


Interestingly we can also see a flavor of a trend we have observed in our national and other district analyses. The youngest cohort of voters, aged 18–24, are indeed more Republican than the slightly older cohorts. We see this in our national data where we estimate that 18–24 year olds favored Democrats by a margin of 38 points, but that 25–29 year olds favored Democrats by an even bigger margin of 51 percentage points! The national numbers are not nearly as dramatic as they are in MN-01. In fact, our data suggest that 18–24 year olds favored Democrats by only a margin of 6 percentage points and voted for Trump by a margin of 5 points in 2016. Some of this has to do with differing demographics when comparing national data to voters in MN-01, but these numbers are low even when compared to other districts like ME-02 or MI-08. To illustrate, 18–24 year olds increased their margin for Feehan by 10 percentage points over Clinton, but support in the 25–29 year old cohort increased by 20 points, twice that of the slightly younger cohort.


We can see these trends with respect to both of these demographic groups in the raw precinct results. Precincts that were more educated overperformed much more than precincts that are less educated, and similarly with age, we can see that in 2016, younger voters were not nearly as supportive of Democrats in 2016 as they were in 2018.