Last week the Fargo Forum ran an editorial critical of Democrat US House candidate George Sinner’s attack on incumbent Kevin Cramer for missed votes (that attack backfired on Sinner when it became clear that the candidate, a state Senator, had gone on vacation during the 2013 Legislative session).
But in that editorial was mentioned some polling which supposedly shows the House race as a close one.
“A couple of private internal polls show that at this point in the campaign (and it’s very early), Sinner is within striking distance of Cramer,” wrote the Forum. “In the last reporting cycle, Sinner raised more money than Cramer, suggesting a lot of contributors believe the challenger has a shot.”
I think Sinner’s strong fundraising in the last couple of quarters had more to do with his late start and the usual-suspect Democrat contributors maxing out to his campaign in quarters 1 and 2 of 2014 instead of quarter 4 of 2013. But the claim about polling was intriguing.
I reached out to some friends in Republican circles who are familiar with Cramer’s campaign, and they tell me that their internal polling shows little to worry about. Cramer has “done two polls testing head to head and both show 20 point leads,” my source told me. I’m also told the campaign tested vulnerabilities for both candidates, and Sinner’s “are off the charts in terms of moving voters away from him.”
Apparently illegal immigration is a particularly bad area for Sinner.
My source also tells me that Cramer never polled this well internally against Democrat Pam Gulleson, who Cramer defeated in the 2012 election cycle 54.89 percent to 41.7 percent.
I’m also told that Libertarian Party candidate Jack Seaman comes in with about 4 percent of the vote in each poll, which is on par with the 3.24 percent LP candidate Eric Olson pulled down in 2012.
Of course, this is all coming from the Cramer campaign, and they didn’t show me any specific polling data, so take it all with a big grain of salt.
And, to be clear, Cramer shouldn’t get overconfident. Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s upset victory over Rick Berg last cycle should be in the back of Republican minds this cycles. But still, this polling matches up with my gut feeling about this race. It just doesn’t feel like a competitive race, and Cramer hasn’t even really begun to campaign yet.
Plus, George Sinner is no Heidi Heitkamp and Kevin Cramer is no Rick Berg.