Poll: Berg And Heitkamp Tied At 47%, Cramer Leads Gulleson By 12 Points


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.

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.

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  • Jay

    This pretty much obliterates the lefty meme that Heitkamp’s leading, I’d say. It conflicts directly with her internal polls.

    Of course this same poll said Heitkamp led Berg 47-46 last time, so Berg has gained. It can be argued based on its findings the trendline is in Berg’s favor. I’d like to see more independent polls to confirm this one.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob


      The trend isn’t good for Heitkamp (she’s down one form the last M-D poll) and she needed to be leading now, not tied.

    • tomorrowclear

      The next person in America who uses this new buzzword, “meme” will be eligible and recommended for a retroactive abortion under a little-known provision in the Obamacare treatise. I swear it. Same goes for the next person who uses the terms, “crony capitalism” or “corporatism.” Also, I’ve noted that every political columnist of any stripe has become addicted to the term, “narrative.” Sheep. A bunch of sheep.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Says the guy with the Democrat talking points memo.

        • tomorrowclear

          Now, Robert, you should know by now that I’m going to ask you to give specific examples of terms or phrases that I’m using that you believe I’ve gotten from Democratic talking heads. What are they?

          You seem to misunderstand. My issue here is with deplorable writing.

          • robert108

            “meme” is a euphemism for propaganda.

      • Jay

        Well, now you know my background, don’t you?

  • dakotacyr

    So let me get this straight, after months of Berg leading her in money and you bragging about that and after months of GPS Crossroads spending money on ads in the heavily Republican state, Heitkamp has fought him to a draw.

    And then you are relying on the western part of the state to carry Berg. The population in western is no where near the population of eastern North Dakota. And many of the workers in the oil field won’t vote in ND since many of the workers head back to their home states where their families are.

    And the eastern part of the state you would think would be strong for Berg since he is from Fargo.

    Berg is in trouble and this independent poll shows it. The last independent poll showed he was up 9 and I see you conveniently didn’t use those numbers.

    Nice spin, though.

    • Roy_Bean

      Berg has obviously stepped on some toes in his years in the legislature and Heidi has obviously been shameless in her advertising, to the point that even the local TV stations are too embarassed to run the ads. My prediction is that in the end North Dakota voters will realize that a vote for Heidi is a vote for Harry and they won’t want him to be majority leader for the next 2 years. It won’t be a victory for Berg so much as it will be a defeat for Reid.

      • tomorrowclear

        Yep, if there’s one person on the minds of North Dakota voters, it has to be Harry Reid. Just the other night I was awoken by the impassioned screams of, “Harry, oh Harry” by my Republican neighbor.

        At least, I assumed he was asleep and he was referring to Harry Reid.

        Actually, I would rank them, Harry Reid and Saul Alinsky. 1a and 1b. Then the Mau Maus and then Jeremiah Wright and then Bill Ayers and then Huey Newton. In that order.

        • Roy_Bean

          Dingy Harry and his crony capitalists are financing the campaign. The narrative is that Heidi is winning because of all the exposure in the local media. The democrat meme is that corporatism is the salvation of society, but it will surely be the downfall.

        • Rick Olson

          This has been one of my points exactly. If Heidi does win this thing, she is going to be big time beholding to Harry Reid, given the fact that his PAC has pumped millions of dollars worth of television and radio advertising into her campaign. The moment she raises her right hand in the well of the U.S. Senate and says “I do,” she will obediently fall in line and do whatever Reid tells her to do. She will owe him big time. This is exactly why we need to send Rick Berg to the U.S. Senate.

    • Ralph

      ” … many of the workers in the oil field won’t vote in ND since many of the
      workers head back to their home states where their families are.”

      Wishful thinking on your part dc. Ask any of the auditors in the oil counties about the number of requests from mail-in ballots. They are mailing them out by the thousands …


      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Its going to be interesting to see how many more votes come out of those western counties.

        If Heitkamp loses, the liberals will be hatching conspiracy theories about oil patch votes.

        • Geoff

          For Heidi’s sake, she should be thanking the good lord for north Dakota voter Id laws. Picture 40000 transient workers who should lean republican. She would lose by 25 points if they all voted. A double standard which is never brought up as it favors her dramatically in the state race, but federally she will call it voter suppression.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The race is tight, sure, but where is all this ground Heitkamp was supposdly picking up?

      Not in evidence.

      Thus isn’t where Heitkamp needed to be. She needed to be leading in this poll which is historically friendly to her, and she didnt get there.

      • tomorrowclear

        God are you worried about this race. Relax, Berg will win. No need to go on like this and make yourself look especially foolish.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          So, you agree with me?

          Then you must realize that I’m kind of making some sense about this poll right?

          Or are you just a troll who can’t admit when people you disagree with are right?

          • tomorrowclear

            Try and keep up, Sparky. I have no doubt that the race is roughly a dead heat right now. I do believe that by election day, some will meander back to the GOP side and most of the remaining undecideds will swing to Berg. Your contention for a couple months has been that Berg has a 9 point lead. I doubt that has been accurate at any point during those two months. That is far different than arguing that Berg will ultimately win.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            My contention is that it’s a close race. I’ve never said that Berg has a nine-point lead.

    • Jay

      Um, Dakota, I pointed out this very poll had Heitkamp ahead of Berg by one last time. Now they have Heitkamp and Berg tied. Her support is static from their last poll. His is up a point. That’s not movement in her direction but in Berg’s at least in polls taken by this pollster. Of course we need to have further independent polls to establish which way the race truly tilts, but it should be no comfort to Heitkamp Berg has gained ground against her in the one independent poll that’s given her favorable results the whole cycle.

      • dakotacyr

        And my point is that in a very heavy Republican state like North Dakota, it should not be a dead heat, and Berg should not be so far behind in his own back yard, Fargo. that is problematic for Berg.

        • Jay

          No one’s ever claimed Berg isn’t underperforming.He started off running a lethargic campaign and was slow to define Heitkamp. However, no Republican has won this seat since Bill Langer in 1958. The only time it was close was 1960. Now Berg is running at worst dead even with the best the Dems have to offer for a seat no Republican has won in 10 straight elections.

          • Jay

            That alone is noteworthy. What does it say about Heitkamp that after portraying Berg as an evil slumlord who’s “gone Washington,” she has actually lost ground in the independent poll friendliest to her? That indicates to me the possibility at least that North Dakotans are becoming less and less enamored of her candidacy.

  • Einstein Polling

    When polls agree with Rob Port they are very reliable, but should be ignored if they show any hope for Democrats. Math is so simple when you believe in trickle down math.

    • tomorrowclear

      Yep, the last polls that can be trusted are independent polls, along with Democratic polls. My guess is that Robert is privy to the Berg campaign internal polls that show that 9 point lead Robert continually pulls out of his nether region. The Berg campaign is just being sly by not releasing these polls because it might make their supporters overconfident. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        I think this race is tight, but I predict a Berg win by five points.

        • Rick Olson

          Come the end of the day, Berg will win by a margin of anywhere from 5-to-9 points. The two reasons I can think of that Heidi might carry Cass County could be attributed to her brother’s radio show. Also accounting for the fact that Fargo has been somewhat of a magnet for people moving here from other parts of the country for a number of years (thanks to Microsoft, Butler Machinery, RDO, the banks, etc.) and those people bring their politics with them.

          Shall we say “North Dakota Nice” got up and left years ago here in the Fargo-West Fargo area.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I’m not saying this poll should be ignored. I’m putting it in context.

      Ou libs are carrying on like you’ve won this thing. That’s a mistake, for all the reasons I described above.

  • gilbyguy

    If you believe that Cramer leads Gulleson by only twelve points, then go ahead and believe that Berg v Heitkamp is tied.Cramer will win by at least 20. This poll has a vote modeling error someplace.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I agree, I think it’s tilting blue for some reason. Remember this poll was an outlier earlier this summer between the Forum poll and the Rasmussen poll which showed a 9 and 7 point lead for Berg, respectively.

    • RCND

      Pam should feel fortunate to break out of single digits this election

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Agreed as well.

  • Thresherman

    As always with polls, one needs to look at the metrics and compare them with previous election metrics. What is the Dem/Rep/Ind breakdown and how does that compare with previous actual election turnouts?

    I’m going to out on a limb here and make an election prediction. I say that nationally, Democratic turnout for Obama will be lower than 2008 and slightly lower than the average national Democratic turnout in 2010. This is based on my feeling that the 18 to 30 demographic, which went strong for Obama in 2008, doesn’t know who to vote for in this election and will simply decide to set this one out in large numbers. This group has borne the brunt of the bad economy with high cost student loans and no jobs with which to pay them off. They were the ones who flocked to Obama’s message of hope and change and bolstered his turn out. Under President Obama, things for them have gone from bad to worse and being young, they are less patient. To them, 4 years is the overwhelming majority of their adult life and they expected a fast change under Obama and that simply did not happen. As a result, not only does Obama lose the ones who opt to stay at home, the motivated ones are motivated to a new change and that is Romney. Remember, pollsters consider these voters to be a considerable portion of what they regard as solid Dem. base.

    Republicans are going to turn out big as they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by staying home.

    One of the enigmas of this year’s polling is that Romney is capturing a large majority of Independents but this is not resulting in the polling as an overall gain for him. When swing voters are breaking your way big and the polls remain tied, my Spidey Sense starts tingling like mad. The polls are weighting Democratic turnout way too high.

    I think that Romney is going to win by 53% to 47% or better nationally. I think that he will win by at least 70 electoral votes. I think that what we saw on MSNBC last Wednesday will be tinker toys compared to what we see on the night of the first Tuesday in November.

    If all this comes to pass, I also predict that on the morning of Wednesday, November 7th, the lower than expected Democratic turnout, based on exaggerated pre-election estimates, will be cited by Democratic Party operatives, such as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, as proof of massive voter suppression tactics by Republicans.

    Oh, and then the Washington Press Corps will then awaken from its long national slumber.

    • Thresherman

      Oh, and I forgot to add, Heidi will lose based on these demographics in the state and the coattail effect of Romney will drive the final stake in the heart of her campaign.

  • Rick Olson

    The only polls that count are the ballots cast on Election Day. (Or in North Dakota’s case, the ballots that are cast during early voting as well as on Election Day).