Politico: ND Senate Race Becoming Less Competitive Despite Democrat Polling

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In their most recent profile of America’s Senate races, Politico downgrades the North Dakota campaign between Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Rick Berg even after Democrats released yet another poll claiming they are winning.

Reporter Dave Catanese says he’s been shown polling by Republicans showing the race breaking for Rick Berg.

On the same day Democrats leaked an internal poll showing Heidi Heitkamp up 4 points, Republicans emerged from the field with data shared with POLITICO showing the race breaking in Rep. Rick Berg’s direction by a couple of points. The tone of Heitkamp’s ads have hardened as she attempts to tag him as a shoddy property manager. Yes, there’s widespread agreement Heitkamp’s ads are better, but that’s not something voters usually pay attention to. Watch for the immensely popular Sen. John Hoeven to emerge late to help pull Berg across the finish line.

The rumors I’ve been hearing in North Dakota political circles matches the polling Politico has apparently seen. I haven’t seen any polling myself, but word is that Berg’s internal numbers look good and the anxiety among Republicans that Heitkamp might pull this thing out is starting to ease. Which matches up with some other metrics too.

Case in point, the Heitkamp campaign was bragging last week about breaking a Democrat record for fundraising from North Dakotans at over $1 million. Their problem? Berg was at the $1 million mark months ago, and while his campaign hasn’t released their most recent numbers, at the end of the last reporting period they’d raised more than 3x what the Heitkamp campaign has from North Dakotans.

The race is certainly tighter than Republicans ever expected it to be, but there’s growing confidence that ultimately Berg will emerge the winner. Which may actually explain why the Heitkamp campaign felt compelled to release (obviously cooked) polling showing themselves up in the race last week. In the state’s House race, the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee recently hung candidate Pam Gulleson out to dry, re-allocating money they’d committed to her campaign to other races.

Heitkamp, no doubt hoping to avoid a similar fate from the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee, needed to convince people that she’s still competitive.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • RCND

    Politico said what? Wow, that’s not in keeping with the role they were told to play (and have been playing) by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi trilateral commission.

    By the way, somebody ask this reporter how a campaign can “leak” anything except as a result of too much drinking at a fundraiser.

  • Common Man

    Rob, why don’t you quit trying to suck up to the rich, and join the people who are fighting for you? Sure it is exciting to be a lickspittle. It is like being the best friend of the bully on the playground. We all know as time wears on the bully is recognized as just a big jerk, then where does that leave you? You could be a force for working people, for the poor, for women, but instead you have chosen to be a lickspittle. You could turn your energy to something good, something you can be proud of. Who wants to be a part of the suffering brought on by the Republican party? Who wants to be a voice for the greed dogs? Who wants to be associated with scum like Rush, and liars like Fox? What do you get out of being a toady for the rich? You will alway just be their instrument, their servant, their useful idiot. Why not do something you can take pride in and fight for the ordinary hard working people of this country instead of the blood sucking one percent?

    • RealCommonMan

      FO Commie lover!

    • toomuchguvmint

      The drastic failure of Obama’s scemes to reduce unemployment have had the effect of afflicting the poor with greater misery by destroying jobs. Is it not great that there are at least a few rich people left in this country that have an interest (in spit of Obama’s record of demonizing the rich and businesses) in business growth. Interesting how the entertainment billionaires are worthy rich for the liberals, but how most other successful businesses are evil in the liberal mind.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      What is it that makes you think I’m a toady for the rich? I believe in freedom for everybody. I seek equality under the law, and economic freedom so that we can all aspire to be rich.

      You have been badly mislead in your life if you believe that to be toadying,

      • Emil Kashuntz

        Rob you are just an echo chamber for Fox and Rush. You believe in freedom for everybody? What insanity? You believe in the freedom for ordinary people to go bankrupt from health care. You believe in freedom from taxes for the rich. You believe in freedom from reality. If you believe in freedom why don’t you support the free exchange of information when it comes to Mitt’s taxes. You are just a tool of right wing greed.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Freedom means responsibility, Emil.

          How is it “freedom” to obligate one group of people to pay for another group of people? You talk of a right to health care, but what does that right imply for the rest of us? An obligation to provide you with something?

          That’s not freedom.

        • Gern Blanston

          You are a tool for Maoist totalitarianism.

        • John_Wayne_American

          to turn it around do you Emil, speak for the chronically disadvantaged mostly due to either sloth or governmental dependence. is that who you represent?

          Those who wish like the democracy of” 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner”

          Those who wish to take from the rich who are defined as anyone making money without being dependent on government to be taken or stolen legally though Governmental fiat at the risk of imprisonment for not remitting taxes.

          Those hard earned monies are then to be spread out upon those who seek every program, every handout, every tit of the mama hog of Government, without any feeling of obligation for self improvement of ones self or economic status.

          Is that who you represent? just checkin…

          Just as there are some rich people that look for every possible tax loophole with a biz model based on greed, there is a couture of dependents that seek their entire lively hood with the whole game including having children solely to qualify for more support
          to argue that is a myth, is deceitfully dishonest.

    • John_Wayne_American

      Yes, You are so right, I’d much rather be associated with Reid, Polosi, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpten, Ed Shultz, Tim (the tax cheat) Geithner, Eric (the gunrunner) Holder, Kathleen (the health Nazi) Sabeleius, and Janet (lets reach into Grandma privates) Napolitano, Bill (the flandering liar) Goerge Soros, Clinton, Karl Marx, Chavez, Castro, Lenin and Obama, Yep I’d feel real proud to be part of today’s democrat party. I could go on and mention some legendary Dems like Ed, (drive a girl of the bridge) Kennedy, and Long time Speaker (KKK) Bird, but I think I’ve proved my point. Except I would be remiss to forget the baby killing supporters at NARAL and Planned Parenthood .

    • Gern Blanston

      Flip it and it sounds like a legitimate discussion to be had with Eddie “The Dog Killer” Schultz.

    • splined

      Try opening both eyes! Seehttp://news.investors.com/100212-627662-under-obama-poor-middle-class-incomes-fall-sharply.aspx

  • dakotacyr

    And the republican polling numbers are not “cooked”. ah…I get it now.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      No, Republican polling should be looked at as skeptically. But look at the fundraising. Look at the independent polling. Look at the other races.

      The Republican looking fits the context. Heitkamp’s polling is aboutnthenonly thing that suggests she’s winning.

      • Jay

        Amen, Rob. Of course the DNC talking points don’t say that, so Dakota can’t understand the concept.

    • Deficit Hawk

      There are one hundred thousand new residents in Western ND that the pollsters can’t reach and I doubt many of them will vote for Hidey. This is the unquantifiable unopened the Democrats have been fearing.

      • John_Wayne_American

        Show me the 100,000 workers first, then please tell me how the 35-50K workers west of Bismark could possibly be Heidi voters. I don’t think many oil and coal related employees are going to vote for a former EPA Lawyer no matter what her polling may tell you. But really, where did you get the 100K number from?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          then please tell me how the 35-50K workers west of Bismark could possibly be Heidi voters

          I don’t have the numbers for all of western ND, but in Williams County alone there are 36,538 workers. Not residents, but workers.

          http://www.willistonnd.com/usrimages/civilianlaborforce.pdf

          You need to revise your assumptions.

          • John_Wayne_American

            In Williams county the number of workers has risen, by a lot, but many of them are from North Dakota, I know dozens of workers out in Williston that were farming in small town ND and now drive truck in Williston and Watford City. Also Minot supplies a good jag of workers to the Berthhold and Stanley area, Then there is the huge exodus of workers from Fargo that go out to work in the construction trades to return on the weekends.

            Deficit Hawk makes it sound like we have 100k new workers that will vote in ND. It is simply not true. I’d be willing to bet only 10-15 % of the new out of state workers will vote in ND, because to do so, they loose the right to hunt back home with the family as well as they would have to get ND Drivers licenses and register their pickups in ND.

            Voting in ND is not going to happen, they are here for the money and that’s pretty much why they tolerate living in campers shacks and mancamps. They wont vote, and if they do, they won’t vote for Heidi. Look at the primary the turnout wasn’t that massive out west. Too busy working to get to the polls.

            Finally out side of the oilpatch, West Fargo is the fastest growing city in the state, and they are only up 5-6K since 2010 census so how would that all add up to 100K? ND population is NOT 792,591 which would be up 100K from the 2010’s 692,591

            source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/38000.html

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I don’t think i’d trust the census numbers for “fastest growing” communities in North Dakota right now. The state is simply growing too fast for those numbers to be accurate.

            I doubt West Fargo is growing faster than, say, Bismarck. Or Minot, which is technically not an oil patch community.

            And you’re seriously underestimating the oil vote. Republicans have been very quietly working the vote out there, and I think you’re going to see some big turnout numbers.

          • Deficit Hawk

            Rob, that is what I was trying to say. Minot, Williston, and Dickinson are already well over 50k in surrounding population. Watford and many other are five times their census figures. Anybody who doesn’t believe this obviously hasn’t been out here.

    • Jay

      Personally I would put no more stock in Berg’s internal numbers than in Heitkamp’s. However, the average among polls conducted by organizations unconnected to either campaign has Berg up. That validates Berg’s internals though I don’t put much stock in campaign-sponsored polling since such polls assume the best possible electorate for the candidate. See how this works, Dakota? In almost all instances, the campaign running behind is the one releasing internal polling in an attempt to create a perception of competitiveness (see Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Heather Wilson (R-NM)). That Berg has had no reason to publicize his internal polls means he’s more likely ahead than behind just as Martin Heinrich in New Mexico is running ahead of Heather Wilson. Independent polls do that, so the campaigns needn’t worry about. Of course I do understand you’ll never grasp this simple concept I’m explaining, but there it is.

  • WOOF

    WarGames
    “Confidence is high. I repeat, confidence is high.”
    anxiety among Republicans that Heitkamp might pull
    this thing out is starting to ease.

  • 308T

    I’m not so sure,Rob, I’m getting nervous by all the Heidi Ratkamp yrd signs I’m seeing around Bismarck…

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