On September 26th, Democrat George Sinner’s campaign “leaked” polling to a Politico reporter claiming a 2-point lead over Republican Kevin Cramer. Though Sinner’s campaign never officially released the poll, they did tout it in some fundraising pitches.
But the poll claimed to have used a “registration-based” sample of North Dakotans, where voters don’t have to register. The campaign never bothered to explain that problem (I asked, they didn’t respond), and subsequently the Cramer campaign has released two polls of their own showing a 10-point lead for the Republican.
Now a University of North Dakota poll, commissioned by Forum Communications, is showing Cramer with a whopping 19-point lead over Sinner:
Among those polled, 46 percent favored Cramer, 27 percent Sinner, 4 percent Robert “Jack” Seaman, a Libertarian, and 3 percent favored some other candidate. The remaining 21 percent said they were undecided. Because of rounding, the total does not add up to 100 percent.
Support for Cramer among the likely voters polled was strongest with men and those ages 31 to 45.
Independents who weren’t undecided favored Cramer slightly more than Sinner, 31 percent to 28 percent – though 32 percent of them remained undecided.
Cramer is not going to beat Sinner by 19 points. Certainly not after that veterans cemetery ad debacle which will no doubt send some undecided voters scurrying to Sinner’s side.
This polling was conducted before SayAnythingBlog.com first noted the problems with the ad.
But it does seem pretty certain that Cramer has a commanding lead over Sinner at this point in the race, and that absent some calamity for the Cramer campaign, Sinner isn’t going to win.
The Cramer campaign sees it that way too. An insider with the campaign says the Forum’s numbers matched their unweighted internal polling results:
“For a little ‘inside baseball’ insight on the poll, it may interest the deeper thinkers to know Odney actually had nearly identical raw data as the Forum, but weighted the tables to account for the low Democratic samples common in ND,” my source told me. “In other words, after the poll has been taken, we actually pretend more Democrats were sampled just to make it believable. Some of that is necessary because so few North Dakotans are Democrats, and Democrats tend to be harder to get ahold of on the phone. Although some of that is mitigated by the fact a higher percentage of older citizens have landlines favoring Democratic candidates.”
Democrats will want to spin this poll – the Forum, disastrously, touted polling showing Republican Rick Berg with a 10-point lead over Democrat Heidi Heitkamp before Heitkamp went on to edge out Berg at the polls – but this is going to be a tough one.
FEC reports should be posted this week, and may be more telling than this polling. If Sinner hasn’t closed his significant fundraising gap with Cramer, that may signal that even Democrats don’t see a real path to victory.
Here are the demographic breakdowns for the poll.