Back in 2012, after a vicious campaign against Republican Rick Berg, Heidi Heitkamp won election to the U.S. Senate with just barely 50 percent of the vote.
Heitkamp got 50.24 percent of the vote, to be exact.
Since then the narrative her supporters have tried to promote is one that has her getting more popular as she’s served in office. It’s supposed to be like Obamacare, I guess. Only, much like Obamacare, not much as changed for Heitkamp.
That’s according to a survey by Morning Consult, a news and market research company, which conducted 62,000 interviews with Americans nation wide in January and ranked the U.S. Senators by their popularity.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]She ranks as the 61st most popular Senator with 50 percent approval and 35 percent disapproval. In fact, among the several Senators who came in at 50 percent approval, Heitkamp had the highest level of disapproval.[/mks_pullquote]
It’s good news for Senator John Hoeven. At 74 percent approval, and just 10 percent disapproval, he ranks as the third most popular Senator in America. That’s not exactly a surprise. Hoeven routinely puts up big numbers for approval. He’s well situated to win re-election this year over his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Elliot Glassheim.
It’s not so great news for Senator Heidi Heitkamp. She ranks as the 61st most popular Senator with 50 percent approval and 35 percent disapproval. In fact, among the several Senators who came in at 50 percent approval, Heitkamp had the highest level of disapproval.
If we take the survey at face value, and to be fair any one survey can be off, it means Heitkamp has done very little to improve her popularity after barely beating a weak candidate who ran an inept campaign.
That’s not where you want to be if you’re Heitkamp. If she’s at just 50 percent approval roughly two third of the way through her first term in office, before being matched up in the minds of voters with an opponent, it means she’s vulnerable.
Many in political circles wonder if Heitkamp will even run for re-election in 2018. Given that she’s certain to face a tougher opponent in 2018 than she did in 2012, that her popularity doesn’t seem to have increased during her term in office, and that she’s on something of an island as the only Democrat to win statewide office in North Dakota since 2008, she may just decide to sit it out.