Pollster “Reasonably Confident” Berg Wins Senate Seat In North Dakota
There hasn’t been any public polling in North Dakota’s Senate race since mid-July and although that poll showed a big lead for Republican Rick Berg, nine points over Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, the lack of polling since has created a vacuum which the aggressive Heitkamp campaign has filled with doubt about Berg’s chances.
The media, always in love with the possibility of a horse race, has glorified the Heitkamp campaign’s spin. But there are still a lot of reasons to be optimistic about Berg’s chances in flipping the Senate seat for Republicans. Berg has dominated Heitkamp in fundraising from North Dakotans by a more to 3 – 1 margin, and Republican pollsters (yes, take it with a grain of salt) are confident about picking up North Dakota even as they doubt other states:
“The pattern has been that it’s not uncommon for a lot of races to go the same direction by a point or two,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who called the fight for the Senate “every bit as much a toss-up as the presidential election.”
“I feel fairly confident Republicans are going to win Nebraska and reasonably confident about North Dakota and maybe Montana and Wisconsin. But then you’ve got Maine, which looks like it’s going the other way, Massachusetts, which is awfully close, and Nevada,” Ayres said. “There’s no way you can say one party has a significant advantage over the other. I feel very confident the Republicans will pick up seats.”
Being “reasonably confident” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement than Berg, who has run a much weaker campaign against an over-performing Heitkamp than most expected, but let’s keep things in context. The Senate is really the only statewide office Democrats have an reasonable expectation of winning this cycle, and to pick that up Heitkamp has to out-perform President Obama in the state probably 15 points or more.
That seems unlikely. Heitkamp is still very much the underdog here.Tags: election 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota News, Rick Berg