Rick Berg Is In Trouble…According To A Poll Released By North Dakota Democrats

Back during the waning days of the 2010 election desperate nine-term incumbent Earl Pomeroy, desperate to show that he was still in the race despite independent polling showing his challenger Rick Berg in the lead, released his own internal polling which showed that he was actually leading. And then refused to release any internal data from that poll, which might have been nice to see because Pomeroy’s poll showed a much different trend in the race than any other polling.

On election day, with Pomeroy still claiming that his internal polling showed him with the lead, Rick Berg beat him by a solid 10 points.

Anyway, that same polling company (Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group) is working for the North Dakota Democrat party and – surprise! – they have a poll showing that Rick Berg may be in trouble in the Senate race. And, apparently, we’re supposed to take this seriously.

Democrats released a new poll today aiming to show they could be competitive in the open North Dakota Senate race.
The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group survey showed the likely GOP Senate nominee, freshman Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) with 44 percent. Another 40 percent of respondents preferred a Democratic candidate. …

Meanwhile, Democratic pollster Geoff Garin wrote in a memo that Berg’s “personal and performance ratings are the lowest by far I have ever measured for any federally elected official in the state, Republican or Democrat.”

The Democratic survey questioned 614 voters from Aug. 14 to 16, including 40 percent self-identified Republicans and 28 percent self-identified Democrats.

More from liberal Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza:

The Garin-Hart-Yang poll shows 33 percent of people rate Rep. Rick Berg’s (R-N.D.) job performance as either excellent of good. Another 55 percent rate him fair or poor. As for his personal favorable ratings, 31 percent like Berg, while 34 percent don’t like him.

In a generic trial heat, Berg leads a generic Democrat 44 percent to 40 percent.

And more from National Journal:

Independents expressing a preference in the poll, conducted by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, say they would prefer a Democrat over Berg by 61 percent to 39 percent.

Roll Call continues to rate North Dakota’s Senate race as “safe” for Republicans, which is a good bet given that Democrats can’t even get their own polls to show Rick Berg losing.

And, since actions speak louder than words, the most telling factor for how Democrats may actually feel about Berg’s chances in the Senate race came yesterday when former Democrat state legislator Pam Gulleson, who was widely expected to run against Berg for the Senate seat, announced instead for the open House seat.

Put simply, if North Dakota Democrats up to and including Pam Gulleson believed their own poll, then why is Gulleson running for the House and not challenging Berg for the Senate seat?

Update: Here’s the release the polling company sent out about the poll, which apparently also asked respondents if they think Rick Berg cares about them. I’m surprised they also didn’t ask if Rick Berg would more their lawn for them if they asked too.

This is a laughably-transparent push-poll, and Democrats in North Dakota deserve to be mocked for it.


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.

Related posts

  • ellinas1

    Rick Berg. Working hard for the ethanol industry. Not the people of North Dakota.

    The ethanol industry in North Dakota has been busy ingratiating themselves with the state’s congressional delegation, with Rep. Rick Berg, Senator Kent Conrad and Senator John Hoeven all announcing having received “awards” by Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol group.
    This sort of investment pays off big returns for the ethanol folks. Case in point, here on the state
    level, the Commerce Department blowing hundreds of thousands dollars telling people to use E85.

    By Rob Port on September 21 2011.

  • Zipitydoodah

    Welcome to Polls-R-Us…! Tell us your desired results, and we can manage a poll to match those desires. Cash up front please…..

  • EugeneGraner

    My grandfather told me liars figure and figures can lie.

    • Brent

      Smart man

  • Rick Olson

    That’s the problem with opinion polling. As the others have stated, polls aren’t the end all to beat all.  In many cases, they are very subjective.  The only polls that count are the votes cast on election day.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people deliberately lie on opinion polls in order to sway the outcome one way or another.  As it stands now, the Democrats in North Dakota do not have an electable candidate to put up against Rick Berg.  The NPL’s bench is very weak and their cupboard is bare, and the Democrats know it.  That’s why they’ll give the endorsement to just about anyone who asks.  Pam Gulleson or whoever.  Truth be told, the Republican bench isn’t very much stronger.  A lot on the GOP side hinges on whether or not Gov. Jack Dalrymple indeed will run for his own four year term as governor next year.  That’s why you’re seeing many prominent GOP’ers withholding their own announcements until Jack decides what he’s going to do.  Zipitydoodah nailed it: “Welcome to Polls-R-Us…! Tell us your desired results, and we can manage a poll to match those desires. Cash up front please…..”

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Well, not just opinion polling, but polling done specifically for certain partisan interests.

      As I wrote in the post, if Dems really believed these results Gulleson would be running for the Senate and not the House.

  • Publius

    I know people that were polled by this firm recently.  In fact they called me right after they were polled.  This was a typical push poll, where they say nasty things about the candidate, and then ask if you will vote for him again.  That becomes a deliberate attempt to bump the numbers up for the Democrat.  Then they go out and try to sell these results as legitimate.  Whatever Dems!

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It was that way during the election too.

      “Would you vote for Rick Berg if you knew he kicked puppies and hated rainbows?”

  • spud

    Polls this early are a joke.  Sometimes they are deceiving on election day also remember “former” Senator Mark Andrews and his comfortable lead.  When Democrats in our state did well look who they ran against.  Duane Sand wow now tell me that man really cares about anything but a cushy government job since he has run numerous times and got ass kicked numerous times.  Voters have sent you a message get lost.  In our state Dems kept getting reelected because of what I mentioned above and incumbants were almost guaranteed reelection unless stupidity kicked in.  I base this on no facts but since 2004 national election more incumbants have been voted out and or simply chose not to run again because of changing or shifting political tides Dorgan and Conrad.  Polls for most part are meaningless or we would have had President Hillary Clinton getting elected in 2011. 

    • spud

      She would have been elected in 2007 sorry about that. 

  • VocalYokel

    I would like to do a survey that asks the question:

    “Would you lie to a pollster?”

  • Phubaiphil

    Sorry, but Republican polls also show Berg is in big trouble.  Could Gulleson have announced for the House because a Democrat with big name ID, and access to money, will soon announce to run against the richest man elected last year?  Care to bet? 

    I think it will be a tough race for any Democrat in ND given the environment but Berg is swarmy, manipulative and not really very bright.  He’ll have access to lots of money but the public has quickly grown tired of the man with no plan from Hettinger…………………….   Dallas

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Care to cite one of these Republican polls?  Or do they exist only in your imagination?

  • Jimmypop

    heck, i was  HUGE berg fan and i am unhappy with what he is doing as well. that does not mean for one second id vote more liberal over slightly liberal.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Yeah, even setting aside whether or not this poll is an accurate measure of dissatisfaction with Berg, it doesn’t necessarily translate into support for whoever the Democrat candidate will be.

    • Lianne

      It is my hope that you are holding Berg to your more conservative standards by letting him know that he is not speaking or voting for us.  I do it regularly.  Rob says Berg’s instincts are right, but more and more I have to wonder.  We need to make him earn that Senate seat.  He hasn’t done that yet.  If he knows that you will vote for him no matter what, he can cast a liberal vote and still win the Senate.   I don’t like that.  I have spoken with him  and each time I remind him that we are holding his feet to the fire.  WE must continue to do that.

      • http://www.themarketingsurvivalist.blogspot.com melissapaulik

        Completely agree with you, Lianne. Too often, we start acting like “fans” of these candidates and less like the people they represent.

    • D17

      I agree Jimmypop.   Our only hope is if a good conservative can get the nomination or we are stuck with another RINO. 

  • http://www.themarketingsurvivalist.blogspot.com melissapaulik

    I never trust the polls. For one thing, I have a theory that Conservatives are less likely to participate in polls than liberals or those who don’t vote. My own informal polling (that I don’t trust) suggests that I’m right since nobody I know who is a Conservative (or even just plain Republican) answers the questions either.

    As for Rick Berg, It’s still too early for me to support anyone. But that sure as heck doesn’t mean that I would ever vote for the Democrat.

  • borborygmi

    It looks like bs and smells like bs …..yep it is bs