UPDATE: I asked Dean Mitchell from DFM Research, which conducted the poll, why gubernatorial candidate Rick Becker wasn’t included in the questions. “The poll is for an expected primary race, not a convention,” Mitchell told me via email. “Based on what I have heard/seen, Becker is not expected to run in a primary if he does not get the party nomination. Should he get the nomination, I will re-ask the question.”
A new poll commissioned by North Dakota United (the combined state public worker and teacher unions) has some bad news for Fargo businessman Doug Burgum. His name recognition is very, very low and a strong majority of voters are saying they’d vote for his opponent Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
The pollster is DFM Research, a firm with a solid track record in North Dakota. In fact, I’ve commissioned polling from them myself.
Here are the Burgum versus Stenehjem results:
It doesn’t seem as though they polled for state Rep. Rick Becker who is competing for NDGOP nomination as well. That’s another slight for Becker who was apparently left out of internal polling being done by the Burgum campaign as well.
Anyway, those are ugly numbers for Burgum. I mean, sure, he can spend a ton of money on advertising and raise his name recognition between now and the June primary (and I’m certain he will) but Stenehjem is already at 59 percent. Even if all of the 31 percent of uncertain voters went to Burgum he’d still lose by 18 percentage points.
That’s ugly. All the more so when you consider that Burgum doesn’t even get much of a boost from the eastern part of the state where he’s something of a media darling. He got just 14 percent there compared to Stenehjem’s 57 percent.
The poll also showed that North Dakotans are feeling a bit more uncertain about whether or not their state is on the right track. That’s the headline North Dakota United (a generally far-left organization) took out of the poll, pointing out that in August of 2015 over 80 percent said the state was on the right track (it’s now down to 63 percent) but I think we probably need to keep things in perspective.
Republican fortunes are very much tied to how voters perceive the well being of the state, so a precipitous drop in this number should have them worried. But 63 percent? I think a lot of states in the union would like to have 63 percent of voters feeling things are on the right track. Democrats desperately need to get this number down, which is why they’re working overtime to create a negative perception of the state’s economic and budget situation, but I think 63 percent is a number Republicans can live with.
As long as it doesn’t fall much lower, that is.
The other interesting tid-bit from the results is that North Dakotans seem to like Donald Trump. And Hillary Clinton. Each of those candidates lead their respective fields. Obviously Clinton, in a two-person race, had the larger total of the two.
This polling was conducted February 18 – 25 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
Here’s the press release and the polling memo: