Poll: Governor Doug Burgum Enjoys 60 Percent Favorable Rating, Has Support of a Plurality of Democrats


Doug Burgum addresses the crowd after winning the office of governor Tuesday night, Nov. 8, 2016, at the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo. Brent Sanford, at right in the photo, is the new Lt. Governor Dave Wallis / The Forum

In polling from DFM Research (which I’ve written about earlier this week with regard to the Teddy Roosevelt library project and President Donald Trump), North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has a 60 percent approval rating.

That’s about what you’d expect from a Republican governor in a Republican state, and it’s line with the numbers for two other Republicans who were also on the statewide ballot in 2016.

Senator Kevin Cramer has a 57 percent favorable rating in the same poll (taken in May including 400 North Dakotans – not likely voters – with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent), and as I wrote yesterday Trump is at 56 percent.

But the demographic breakdowns indicating how each of these men got to those numbers is interesting.

You can see them below.

Both Cramer and Trump have very strong favorables among Republicans (91 for the former, 93 for the latter) though Cramer’s numbers are a bit lukewarm. Only 56 percent of Republicans see him very favorably versus 73 percent for Trump. Burgum, though, has only 38 percent of Republicans saying they seem him very favorably and 73 percent overall.

It’s Democrats where Burgum really outperforms the other two. Cramer is at 22/58 favorable/unfavorable among Democrats, and Trump is at 9/86, but Burgum is at 37/34.

He actually has a larger percentage of Democrats viewing him favorably than unfavorably, albeit by number that’s within the poll’s margin of error.

I don’t know what sort of polling Democrats do and do not have, but it’s worth noting they’ve been attacking him of late:

A Republican governor who is above water in favorability even among Democrats is going to be almost impossible to unseat in the 2020 election cycle.

I’m not at all surprised about Burgum’s popularity among Democrats, though, given what we saw in the 2016 primary election.

In North Dakota the political parties select choose their candidates in a statewide vote which happens in June. When you go to the polls you must choose whether to vote on the Republican slate of candidates or the Democratic slate. You can’t cross over.

Not surprisingly Republicans have seen far more voters casting ballots in their contests than the Democrats. But the 2016 primary, which was Burgum’s first appearance on a ballot, was something special:

Burgum’s presence on the Republican ticket brought in a lot of Democrats for Republicans, and it doesn’t seem as though Burgum’s appeal among Democrats has faded much.

There may be some in North Dakota’s Republican circles who look askance at that bipartisan appeal, but I’m not sure they should. While conservatives can quibble here and there, Burgum has largely governed as a conservative, yet in a way that appeals to a whole lot of Democrats.

That’s something for Republicans to emulate, not scorn.

You win elections by adding to your political movement, not subtracting from it.

Here’s the party ID breakdowns among North Dakotans for each man:

Doug Burgum:

Kevin Cramer:

Donald Trump: