What Happened in the Minnesota Statewide Elections? (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.


January 18, 2019

Author: David Margolis, Deputy Director of Analytics

  • Historical middle partisans made up a larger proportion of the electorate than they did in 2014, as Republicans failed to keep pace in turnout.
  • While Senator Klobuchar over-performed Representative Walz, both candidates made up significant ground that had been lost with middle partisans, Democrats, and white college-educated women by Secretary Clinton in 2016.
  • Democratic support bounced back in rural and suburban areas, but gains will have to be maintained in the future beyond 2018 to sustain Democratic control of Minnesota.

Further, Minnesota’s electorate in 2018 was considerably younger than in 2014. Voters under the age of 40 accounted for 23 percent of the electorate in 2014, while they were 4 points higher in 2018.


As the figure below further illustrates, the age distribution of the electorate was more similar to the presidential election of 2016 than it was to the 2014 midterm, again, despite the aging of the Baby Boom generation into the 65+ age range.


The electorate was also marginally more diverse than it was in 2014, with the white share dropping from 92% to 90%. Considering that the proportion of the electorate that was white and college educated grew by a point, most of this decline came from lower turnout among non-college educated whites.


Both candidates in 2018 performed very strongly with white college educated women, even relative to Clinton’s commanding 23 point lead over Trump in 2016. Senator Klobuchar won this group by 52 points, even more than Representative Walz. But Senator Klobuchar also improved substantially over Clinton’s margin among white college men — a 28 point difference, whereas Representative Walz only improved by 14 points.