According to the latest polling from Morning Consult, Senator Heidi Heitkamp has seen a big drop in her approval numbers among North Dakota voters, though her net approval number is still relatively strong +17.
Troubling for the incumbent, however, is that she lost 7 points in approval among self-described independents and 14 points among Republicans.
North Dakota is a state dominated by Republican and independent voters. Heitkamp needs both if she hopes to be re-elected to a second term in the Senate after her oh-so-narrow victory in 2012.
Heitkamp was just one of several (mostly Democratic) Senators, seen as vulnerable in 2018, who saw a net drop in their approval numbers.
This graphic from Morning Consult:
For what it’s worth, Senator Hoeven’s approval rating is 54 percent and his disapproval is at just 25 percent.
Why such a sharp decline for Heitkamp?
Her vote on tax reform probably had little to do with it, given that the vote happened in December at the tail end of the polling period, though that’s not exactly good news for Heitkamp. If her numbers are already dropping before her vote against tax reform, and before the tidal way of positive economic news voters have been hit with in the wake of that vote, the Senator may be in a lot of trouble.
Particularly given the trend in this poll over the last year. Her approval number has edged down, while her disapprove numbers have gone up:
Democrats were jubilant, and a lot of Republicans were down-in-the-mouth, after Congressman Kevin Cramer opted to stay in the House rather than run for the Senate against Heitkamp, but if these numbers tell us anything it’s that the GOP still very much has an opportunity here.