(CNN) – A new poll Sunday of likely Minnesota voters indicates a close race between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the state long considered a safe bet for Democrats.
The Star Tribune survey, taken entirely after the final presidential debate, shows Obama with a three point advantage over Romney among likely Minnesota voters. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they would back the president and 44% said they support Romney. Obama's advantage is within the survey's sampling error.
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The poll also shows Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson with 2% support of likely voters in the state.
Sunday's survey and a television ad buy by the Obama campaign to counter a new ad buy by Romney's campaign in Minnesota suggest a tightening race in a state that turned out overwhelmingly for then-Illinois Senator Obama in 2008 – 54% to Republican Sen. John McCain's 44%.
Republicans believe there is some movement in Minnesota toward the GOP while Democrats billed the ad buy as a ploy to generate buzz about a close race that does not exist.
A St. Cloud State University survey of likely Minnesota voters, taken from October 15-21 and released Friday, showed Obama with an eight point edge over Romney, 53% to Romney's 45%. Obama's advantage in the SCSU survey is within the poll's five point sampling error.
The Star Tribune poll indicates likely Minnesota voters believe Romney would better handle the economy. Forty-eight percent of the survey's respondents said the former Massachusetts governor would help to improve the economy. Forty-four percent said Obama would be better. Romney's advantage on the economy is within the survey's sampling error.
The Star Tribune survey also shows a large gender discrepancy between the candidates, aligned with a consistent national trend. Romney does better with men, 51% to Obama's 40%, in Sunday's Minnesota poll, while Obama does better than the Republican nominee with support among women, 53% to Romney's 37%.
The Star Tribune's poll was conducted by telephone from October 23-25 among 800 likely Minnesota voters. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
–CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.