North Dakotans Have Stopped Splitting The Ticket
Republicans have been favored to pick up North Dakota’s Senate seat since Senator Kent Conrad announced his retirement at the end of his current term, and most still expect that to happen. Democrats, though, have been successful in making the race competitive, and one of the narratives they’ve used in that goal (the most recent example in this AP article) is the idea of North Dakota voters as people who like to “split the ticket” between the two parties.
And there’s a grain of truth to that. In years past North Dakotans did like to split the ticket. Even as they were electing Republicans to every statewide office, and to wide majorities in the state legislature, they were casting their ballots for an all-Democrat federal delegation. The ticket splitting was consistent, cycle after cycle.
But there is a problem with invoking “ticket splitting” in this election cycle. In the 2010 election cycle, North Dakotans notably did not split the ticket. In addition to re-electing every statewide Republican incumbent and giving Republicans an even larger majority in the legislature, they also elected Republican Senator John Hoeven to take over for Democrat Byron Dorgan who retired and they handed Republican Rick Berg a victory over Earl Pomeroy.
In 2010, a majority of North Dakotans voted the straight Republican party ticket.
And in 2012, remember that Democrats are the incumbent party in the Senate race. They are trying to hold a Senate seat they already hold. And the reason why they’re so close to losing it is because a significant number of North Dakotans seem to be prepared to do what they did in 2010, which is vote the straight ticket.Tags: Byron Dorgan, Earl Pomeroy, Heidi Heitkamp, John Hoeven, Kent Conrad, North Dakota News, Rick Berg