Rasmussen Reports has released a poll today in North Dakota’s Senate race showing Republican Rick Berg leading Democrat Heidi Heitkamp by 5 points. That’s a major blow for Heitkamp whose campaign has warred over past polls showing Berg with a lead, while releasing their own polls showing Berg losing. But in Rasmussen has a very good track record in North Dakota races, including calling the 2010 race between Berg and former Rep. Earl Pomeroy dead-on (Rasmussen’s last poll gave Berg a 10 point lead and he ultimately beat Pomeroy by 9.8 points).
That lead for Berg is down 4 points in the Rasmussen poll since July when he lead Heitkamp 49% – 40%, which is the first positive movement for Heitkamp in a poll since early summer, but there was also positive movement in the poll for Berg who is at the crucial 50% mark pretty late in the election cycle.
No link yet as the poll is still behind Rasmussen’s premium pay wall, but here’s the key result.
The Heitkamp has struggled to make “likability” a key component in this race, but she doesn’t have much of an advantage over Berg there. Some 50% of respondents view Berg favorably versus 53% for Heitkamp:
Just 3% of poll respondents said they weren’t likely to vote. The other 97% said they would be voting.
A Forum Communications poll from over the weekend showed Berg with a 10 point lead. Democrats were quick to dismiss that poll, claiming it undersampled Democrats. The Rasmussen poll has a larger sample of Democrats – 7% larger – but also a larger sample of Republicans (also 7% larger) and a much smaller pool of independents. Perhaps the sampling difference favored Heitkamp somewhat, but Berg is still maintaining a substantial lead.
This poll is pretty devastating for Heitkamp. The only polls in which the liberal candidate has had a wide lead are polls paid for and released by Democrats, and I’m not sure anyone is buying those.
Here’s a complete history of the independent polling in this race, the average of which gives Berg a +5 in the race.
Forum Communications, 5/3-5/8: Berg +7
Mason-Dixon, 6/4-6/6: Heitkamp +1
Rasmussen, 7/10-7/11: Berg +9
Mason-Dixon, 10/3-10/5: Tie
Forum Communications, 10/12-10/15: Berg +10
Rasmussen, 10/17-10/17: Berg+5
Here are the demographics:
Update: Here’s the full report from Rasmussen.