Obviously looking to head-off any momentum Pomeroy might get from the recent poll done by The Hill newspaper which showed the incumbent with a 1 point lead (my analysis here), the Berg campaign has released some internal polling numbers showing a nine point lead.
When the Pomeroy campaign did this I was more than a little skeptical. Their polls didn’t mesh with independent, transparent polling and they rebuffed requests for the polling methodology and questions despite reports that it was a push poll.
So take this Berg poll with a grain of salt, though to be fair this poll does mesh with other public polling such as that done by Rasmussen.
From the Berg campaign via press release:
As you know, Public Opinion Strategies recently conducted a district-wide survey of 400 likely voters for your campaign. The poll was conducted on October 24-25, 2010, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9% in 95 out of 100 cases. The purpose of this memo is to review some of the key findings of that poll.
Berg has seized the momentum.
Contrary to a recent media poll, Rick Berg is leading the ballot test over the incumbent, Earl Pomeroy. Berg leads Pomeroy 51%-42% on the ballot test. Independent voters are supporting Rick Berg by 50%-38%.
There is a reason Earl Pomeroy is asking for voters’ forgiveness; his personal image is highly polarized (48% favorable – 46% unfavorable) and a solid majority (54%) would prefer to elect a new person to Congress rather than re-electing Pomeroy (34%).
The national mood favors Berg.
The much talked about national Republican wave is clearly hitting North Dakota. A majority of voters disapprove of President Obama’s job performance (36% approve – 55% disapprove). And, by a wide 59%-23% margin, voters would prefer a Congressional candidate who will be a check and balance on President Obama and the Democrats over a candidate who supports his agenda. In this environment, it is not surprising that voters are rejecting Earl Pomeroy and his record of supporting Nancy Pelosi 97% of the time.
The Bottom Line
With a strong lead over a wounded incumbent, Rick Berg is well positioned to win North Dakota’s Congressional seat.
I’ve requested that the Berg campaign provide me with the questions asked in this poll so that we can be transparent about the results as the Rasmussen poll is. I’ll update with any response I get.
Update: I just spoke with Berg campaign manager Tom Nelson. I asked him specifically what question was asked to get the “ballot test” result above. He told me the exact wording was, “”If the election for US Congress were being held today for whom would you vote between?”
The options were Rick Berg, Republican or Earl Pomeroy, Democrat.
The campaign isn’t releasing any more data about the poll, but if that was the question asked and assuming that the samples were ok, it’s a valid polling.
What will be interesting to see is if the Pomeroy campaign releases any more of their internal polling.