The three members of North Dakota’s Public Service Commission serve six-year terms. Normally, one member of the PSC is on the ballot every election cycle.
Commissioner Brian Kalk, who was first elected in 2008, is up for re-election this year. Also on the ballot is Julie Fedorchak, who was appointed by Governor Jack Dalrymple to finish former Commissioner Kevin Cramer’s unexpired term after Cramer was elected to the U.S. House. State law requires that Fedorchak’s appointment be confirmed by voters. She’ll have to run again at the end of her term in 2016 if she wins.
According to polling sponsored by SAB and Valley News Live, both Kalk and Fedorchak have comfortable leads over their Democrat challengers Todd Reisenauer and Tyler Axness heading into election day. The SAB/Valley News Live poll was conducted by DFM Research out of Minnesota. It polled 430 “certain” or “very likely” voters between October 13 and October 16 with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent.
The full crosstabs are below.
A strong plurality – 48 percent – say they support Kalk for re-election, 20 percentage points more than Reisenauer who was supported by just 28 percent of respondents. A total of 24 percent said they were undecided.
Breaking down respondents by gender, Kalk enjoyed the support of a majority – 57 percent – of men and a plurality – 40 percent – of women.
A majority of respondents aged 40-64 support Kalk, and the Republican also enjoyed plurality support among respondents age 18-39 and over 65.
Looking at respondents by education level, the two candidates were split among voters with a high school diploma or less while Kalk enjoyed majority support among respondents with at least some college education.
In terms of Geography, Kalk enjoyed support from at least a plurality of respondents in every region of the state with his strongest areas in the central and western rural areas. Most of Reisenauer’s support came from the eastern and western urban areas which were the only parts of the state where he was above 30 percent support.
Kalk, not surprisingly, had strong majority support from Republicans and also lead Reisenauer by 18 points among independents. Reisenauer enjoyed support from 80 percent of Democrats.
Fedorchak, also, enjoyed support from a strong plurality of respondents. A total of 46 percent said they’d vote for the appointee versus just 29 percent for Axness. A total of 25 percent were still undecided.
Fedorchak enjoyed support from 50 percent of men and 43 percent of women, while Axness was supported by 27 percent of men and 30 percent of women.
Fedorchak also had plurality support in every age demographic, but was strongest among voters age 40-64.
Breaking respondents down by level of education, Fedorchak again had plurality support in every demographic. It was closes among those with a high school diploma or less – Fedorchak 39, Axness 31 – but the Republicans’ lead was much wider among those with at least some college education.
In terms of geography Axness – who is a state Senator from the Fargo area – enjoyed his largest level of support in the eastern rural area. That’s the one region in the state where he outperformed Fedorchak. The Republican had at least a plurality of support in every other region, including 59 percent of respondents in the western rural area.
Axness actually had a surprisingly low level of support from Democrat respondents compared to Reisenauser at 72 percent. Fedorchak enjoyed support from a plurality of independents, and 82 percent of Republicans.