Tom Campbell Campaign Releases Polling Showing Their Candidate Beating Heidi Heitkamp


State Senator Tom Campbell’s campaign has released polling from a firm called 1892 which they say shows the candidate beating Democratic Senate incumbent Heidi Heitkamp in the general election and also winning a six-way Republican primary.

You can read their full press release below. Here’s the run-down on who conducted the polling and how:

1892 polled North Dakota’s United States Senate race October 11-12 using a sample size of n=500 likely general election voters and n=400 likely Republican primary voters. The poll has a margin of error of ±4.9% for general election results and ±4.0% for primary results. 1892 previously conducted a poll from May 30 – June 1, 2017, with identical sample sizes and methodology. 1892 has a proven history of accurately polling in North Dakota’s 2016 Governor’s race in both its primary and general elections.

Here are the key findings they’re highlighting:

Here are the results the campaign provided for an imagined six-way primary. Keep in mind that Campbell is the only candidate in this polling who has actually announced a Senate campaign:

Campbell also released head-to-head numbers with former Congressman Rick Berg who has been making noises about a rematch with Heitkamp who he lost to by a narrow margin in 2012:

“Among voters who have “heard of both” candidates, Campbell’s lead grows, and he defeats Berg by 22%,” the release adds. “Among voters who have an “opinion of both” candidates, Campbell leads by 38%.”

As for the general election, Campbell’s polling shows him leading Heitkamp by 3 percentage points which is within the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error:

Campbell’s polling also shows that 55 percent have a favorable view of President Donald Trump while 39 percent view him unfavorably. It also claims that 56 percent of respondents support President Trump’s agenda while just 30 percent oppose.

How seriously do we take all of this?

You always have to be skeptical of polling released by a campaign. Methodologies can be deployed to skew numbers toward a specific outcome. Also, candidates are only going to release those numbers from polling which favor them.

The larger problem, though, is that this sort of polling done so early is measuring a state of affairs which isn’t going to exist during the NDGOP convention in the spring. Or on primary day in June. Or on election day in November of next year.

Some of these candidates Campbell is pitting himself against will begin their campaigns and begin communicating a message to voters. Other candidates will drop out. Perceptions of both Campbell and his various opponents will change over time based on the arguments and information promoted during the campaigns.

Is Campbell polling strongly right now? He could be. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was.

But then, he’s also the only Republican candidate in the race right now.

UPDATE: This is pertinent:

Burgum surprised a lot of people when he defeated Republican opponent Wayne Stenehjem in the 2016 primary, and the polling he released ahead of that victory was vindicated. Though I’d argue that Burgum’s victory had a lot more to do with Burgum and his message than favorable polling.

Here’s the full release:

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