Valley News Live has released a new poll of North Dakotans for the US Senate race showing Berg and Heitkamp tied with 47% support each. A poll of the House race shows Reublican Kevin Cramer with a predictable 12 point lead over flagging Democrat Pam Gulleson.
The full results of the poll are here. Frustratingly, they haven’t released the full demographic break downs for partisan affiliation, etc. for the overall sample.
The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon, which previously polled in early June and showed Heitkamp leading by one point. Thus, the trend in this poll (in that there is no trend at all) really doesn’t seem to favor Heitkamp. After months of relentless campaigning, running ad after ad hitting on Berg and propping up Heitkamp’s “likability” (to obscure her position on the issues), Heitkamp hasn’t moved the needle at all versus Berg.
It’s also worth noting that the Mason-Dixon poll is a bit of an outlier. The other two polls in the race showed Berg with a +7 and +9 lead, respectively. So if we assume that the truth is somewhere in between these polls, we can probably conclude that Berg still has the lead in this race.
My best guess is that Berg will probably win this race by as much as 5 points, and Cramer will probably beat Gulleson by something just short of 20 points.
Berg and Heitkamp have about the same unfavorable rating – 37% and 35% respectively – but Heitkamp edges Berg a bit in name recognition, which is amazing given that Berg just won the US House race two years ago and Heitkamp hasn’t been on the ballot since 2000.
It may have something to do, however, with Heitkamp’s brother and his statewide talk radio show.
Heitkamp has a +5 among independents, and a +7 among women. Berg has a +9 among men.
To sum up, here’s a wild car worth watching: Heitkamp is beating Berg in the Red River Valley (the most liberal part of the state) but Berg is winning in western North Dakota. Which means that the oil boom, and booming populations in the west, may yet tilt this race to Berg. This poll is probably based on old population modeling. If Republicans can get out the vote in the oil patch, Heitkamp is probably sunk.
Update: As noted in the comments, the last Democrat polling in the Senate race has Heitkamp up by 6 points and then 4 points. Clearly, the independent polling doesn’t support Heitkamp having a lead.