It’s nearly February, months since North Dakota Democrats were touting a robust lineup of potential challengers for Rep. Kevin Cramer and weeks since they announced that a liberal candidate entering the race was imminent, yet there is no Democrat opponent for the Republican incumbent (he does have a Libertarian Party challenger). That despite Democrats having House and Senate challengers in the race by November last cycle.
Democrats say they’ll have a candidate announced by next month (we’ll see, I suppose), but clearly there is some reticence on behalf of would-be challengers to get in the race. Maybe this is a reason why. North Dakota is among the states with the lowest approval rating for President Obama.
Nationally, President Obama’s approval is at just 46.5%, but in North Dakota that drops down to 35.5% with several states rating him even lower. Disapproval among North Dakotans was 59.2% based on a sample of 553 people in the state. That number is down about a point from Gallups 2012 version of this poll when North Dakotans gave President Obama 36.3% approval.
I’m actually a little surprised that North Dakota didn’t rank the President even lower, but these numbers are based on averages from Gallup’s daily tracking survey throughout 2013, so for the most part these numbers don’t reflect the where Americans and North Dakotans are right now after the Obamacare fiasco, etc. As Gallup points out, “Obama’s current job approval ratings in most states are likely a few points lower now than their 2013 averages, given that he has averaged 41% job approval so far in January, compared with the 46% average for his fifth year in office.”
Plus, over 35,000 North Dakotans who lost their insurance because of Obamacare is going to be a big drag on his state-level approval.
Regardless, this is going to be a major obstacle for any Democrat seeking federal office in North Dakota this year. Not an insurmountable obstacle – Heidi Heitkamp got elected to the US Senate in 2012 after running long and hard away from Obama – but it doesn’t seem as though Democrats have another Heidi Heitkamp sitting on the bench.