Poll Shows 64 Percent of North Dakotans Support Building Teddy Roosevelt Library


Archive Photo Courtesy of the Dickinson State University Theodore Roosevelt Center Theodore Roosevelt portrait with globe. 1903

When Governor Doug Burgum introduced his executive budget to lawmakers late last year it included $50 million in funding from the state’s Legacy Fund earnings for a Theodore Roosevelt presidential library to be built in Medora.

It’s proven to be one of the most controversial proposals of the legislative session so far, running into the fraught politics of the Legacy Fund itself and resistance from critics who think the project isn’t a priority.

But according to public polling conducted by WPAi, and released by the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, nearly 2/3’s of North Dakotans support building the library.

The foundation’s press release (sent out as an emailed JPEG, for some reason) can be read here.

The full polling memo is below. It was conducted January 6 – 8 of this year and included a sample of 400.

Here’s the headline result:

I’d be interested in seeing how the questions for the survey were worded.

If the question was only something like “do you support establishing the library” I’m not at all surprised that a strong majority said yes. I don’t think North Dakotans are opposed to the concept of the library. I think most of us are interested in having things like that in our state.

Where things get complicated is how the library is to be paid for. If this question was “do you support using $50 million in Legacy Fund earnings to establish the library” and nearly 2/3’s of respondents said “yes” then I’m surprised.

I’ve sent in a request to the foundation for the wording of the questions, and will update this post with any answer.

For what it’s worth, I support appropriating the money to the project. I think it would be a real boon to tourism in our state, and even from a fiscally conservative point of view, the state absolutely has a role to play when it comes to preserving and promoting history. The history of our elected officials, in particular.

Here’s the polling memo:

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