Never Fear: Better Polling Is On The Way From


North Dakota Democrat Party Chairman Bob Valeu doesn’t like the polling being put out by the University of North Dakota and the Fargo Forum. And, well, he’s got a point.

“But if you need any further proof of how flawed this poll is look at the cross-tabs on the U.S. House race,” Valeu said in a press release today. “According to the poll, Kevin Cramer leads George Sinner by 24 points in Cass County (Fargo), by only two points in Burleigh County (Bismarck), and is losing by 29 points in Stark County (Dickinson). Any political observer who knows North Dakota, and understands the demographic and political make-up of these three counties, would seriously doubt these numbers.”

I don’t think there’s any question that the polling the Forum is releasing is way off. As pleased as the Cramer campaign no doubt was with headlines touting a 19-point lead for them over Democrat challenger George Sinner, they tell me they don’t buy it. They don’t believe their lead is that enormous.

I think it’s fair to say that that Republican Doug Goehring isn’t leading Democrat Ryan Taylor by 18 points either. Or that Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, fresh off a month in rehab, is leading Democrat challenger Jason Astrup by 14 points (though that race has 41 percent undecided which makes sense).

I think these Republican candidates are definitely leading their opponents, perhaps even by relatively wide margins, but the Forum polling has done more to confuse than inform and Democrats have some credibility in their complaints.

Of course, if the polling had been going the Democrats’ way, I suspect Mr. Valeu wouldn’t be quite so outraged.

So, to that end, I’ve partnered with Valley News Live and Minnesota-based DFM Research to poll all of North Dakota’s statewide races as well as two of the ballot measure competitions.

The polling is taking place now. The results will be released next week.

I picked DFM Research because they have a solid track record in North Dakota, which Democrats can attest to. One of DFM’s former clients was the North Dakota Democrat party. DFM got the Heitkamp/Berg race right, when many (including this observer) thought Heitkamp didn’t have a chance. I think this survey, which I have seen and approved, will give us a fair look at North Dakota’s races.

Honestly, given the mess the Forum has made of the polling thus far, I’m glad I made this decision. I’m fairly certain, though we’ll see, that our polling will show a much more accurate picture of races that are relatively competitive.