On his show this morning I’m told that Fargo-based left-wing talker Joel Heitkamp was touting some poll results from a West Fargo-based firm which show that Fargo businessman Doug Burgum has a good shot at becoming governor should he run.
Heitkamp was trying to pretend like he wasn’t responsible for the polling, but KFGO apparently has exclusive access to the polling results. And they’re not saying who sponsored it, which is problematic from an ethical standpoint. I’m pretty sure KFGO and/or Joel Heitkamp paid for the polling.
Not that this firm has a good history with transparency.
The firm responsible for the polling is Telos Associates, a firm that I’ve only ever heard of once before when they did some polling for activists opposed to the Fargo flood diversion project back in June. At that time Telos didn’t provide their polling data to the Fargo Forum. I spoke with reporter Tu-Uyen Tran about that story this afternoon, and he said that Telos never followed up on his request with the full polling data. UPDATE: Tu-Uyen clarified his comments, more here.
Which kind of makes me feel like maybe Telos is the sort of tirm people go to when they want to purchase specific polling results for the purposes of creating headlines. Like maybe when blowhard talk radio hosts want to manufacture fake news for their broadcasts/websites.
The majority of those in the random survey were conservatives. That was clear in responses. 44% said they would vote for a Republican candidate. 27% said they would vote for the Democrat. However, when asked if they would vote for an independent, nearly 60% said they would.
Pollster Jason Matthews said that indicates there’s a “clear path” for Fargo businessman Doug Burgum, should he decide to run for governor as an independent. He says Burgum has the financial resources to run an effective campaign and overcome low name recognition shown in the poll.
This is pretty absurd. There has been a pronounced trend in America toward voters identifying themselves as independents. That “nearly” 60 percent of voters would consider voting for an independent candidate isn’t surprising at all. That’s a far cry from 60 percent of voters saying they’d vote for an actual independent candidate who has a name and a face and a record.
Besides, it seems unlikely that Burgum would run as an independent, as much as Democrats might love the idea. He has a lengthy history of donating to Republicans, and I’m told is actually hosting a fundraiser for Hoeven this week. Democrats like Burgum because he’s on the left when it comes to social issues, but I just don’t see him abandoning Republicans he’s invested a lot of money into electing.
But who knows. Being independently wealthy and well known – at least in the Red River Valley – makes Burgum something of a wild card. But Heitkamp’s transparent and hamfisted efforts to lure him into the race are probably, if anything, making it less likely that he’ll run.