Poll shows dead heat in House Republican primary, Armstrong leads for governor

MINOT — A poll released by North Dakota United, a union for teachers and public employees, appears to confirm another poll released last week by gubernatorial candidate Kelly Armstrong's campaign: He has a significant lead over his primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller.

The North Dakota United poll also shows a dead heat in the Republican primary in the U.S. House of Representatives. Former lawmaker Rick Becker and Civil Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak are essentially tied in the pentathlon, while former Miss America Cara Mund is a distant third.

DFM Research of St. Paul, Minn., conducted the survey of 550 likely primary voters May 6-8 via landline and cell phone calls and text messages.

“We published the survey because there is a lot of different information. We wanted to know what the real story was,” Nick Archuleta, the president of North Dakota United, told me about their decision to go public with this data. “If we have the opportunity to collect this information, we think it would be a good idea to share it with the people of North Dakota. Many of these races are not reported in real time. There aren’t many polls. “It doesn’t come from one of the candidates themselves.”

You can read the full voting note below.

Miller trails Armstrong in the gubernatorial race

In the gubernatorial primary, Armstrong leads Miller 56 to 18, a margin of 38 points. 26% of respondents said they were undecided. The Armstrong campaign released poll results last week indicating a nearly identical 41-point lead over Miller. The Armstrong survey was conducted May 4-8.

“While it is not uncommon for a candidate to close a gap of nearly 40%, the likelihood of Miller closing this large gap is complicated by the fact that she is not particularly popular with Republicans in North Dakota,” Dean wrote Mitchell of DFM Research The poll said Miller is viewed favorably by 36% of Republicans and unfavorably by 41%, a 5-point gap. Among all voters, Miller trails by 16 points in her popularity ratings.

Miller's path to victory on primary day was “short and sweet,” Mitchell writes.

Becker and Fedorchak split in the House race

Things are less clear in the Republican House primaries. There, Becker has a slight lead over Fedorchak at 29 to 26, although this is within the poll's margin of error. Mund is now at 14%.

Alex Balazs, who won the support of the North Dakota Republican Party at the state convention last month, is at 5%.

Sharlet Mohr, an unknown from Williston who pushed her way to the polls with signatures from Becker supporters, is at zero percent, although support for her is clear in some demographic categories. Mohr polled 1% among voters ages 50 to 64 and 1% among rural voters in central North Dakota.

Fedorchak seems to have an advantage, and that is her favorability ratings. Both Becker and Fedorchak are favorably viewed by Republicans at 45% each, but Becker is much more polarizing: 32% of Republicans view him unfavorably, while Fedorchak only has 19% in his favor. Meanwhile, only 24% of Republican respondents are positive about Mouth and 36% of Republican respondents are unfavorable.

When it comes to winning over voters, Fedorchak should theoretically have a higher ceiling than Becker. Becker has always enjoyed a passionate, active support base, but his bombastic approach has angered many voters. Still, this race will almost certainly come to the end.

While neither Mund nor Balazs are likely to win this race, they could be the most important factors in the coming weeks. How much of the vote will they swallow? And who will they get support from, Becker or Fedorchak?

Last name “Heitkamp” helps unknown superintendent candidate

The race for public school superintendent isn't particularly close. It's a four-way race, and incumbent Kirsten Baesler is winning with a strong plurality of support despite being denied the North Dakota Republican Party's convention endorsement last month, which has benefited her in three previous cycles.

Baesler leads with 38% of respondents saying they would support her. Coming in a distant second place is former Senator Jason Heitkamp, ​​who appears to enjoy the support of Democrats who like his last name. Former Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and her brother, talk radio host Joel Heitkamp, ​​are distant relatives.

Jason Heitkamp was a MAGA-aligned Republican in the state Senate, but no doubt enjoys a 30% approval rating among Democratic pollsters because of his last name. Among Republicans it is just 16%.

The superintendent race is nonpartisan and appears on both Republican and Democratic primaries. The top two vote-getters from the June ballot advance to the November general election. Confusion over Heitkamp's last name could play a role in both votes, although Baesler's lead is probably comfortable enough that she has little to worry about.

Jim Bartlett, the candidate who won the support of the NDGOP Congress on a promise to reinstate the Ten Commandments in North Dakota schools, is in third place with 8%. Darko Draganic, a former administrator at the University of Mary and United Tribes Technical College, both based in Bismarck, is at 1%.

The survey measured more than just the popularity ratings of the candidates running this cycle. The values ​​of some political figures who were not on the ballot were also measured. I calculated the net positivity scores for each candidate/political figure by subtracting their unfavorable number from the positive number. Not surprisingly, Donald Trump is by far the most popular person among all respondents, regardless of political affiliation, with a net popularity score of 26.

Fedorchak and Armstrong are virtually tied for second place with 17 and 16, respectively. Burgum is third with 11, Baesler is fourth with eight and Mund, whose unfavorable number is almost as high as her favorable number, is fifth with three.

Becker is under water at -5, closely followed by Bartlett at -6, although the latter was not particularly well known to those surveyed. Heitkamp is at -15, Miller is at -17 and President Joe Biden is at -41.

The poll question of whether or not North Dakota is on the right track could, at least on the surface, worry North Dakota's Republican leaders, who hold a majority in elected office here.

A majority of respondents said North Dakota was either on the wrong track or unsure. Only a majority of 45% say the country is on the right track. However, it can be difficult to measure the importance of such survey questions.

Even when it comes to North Dakota, to what extent do respondents rate their perception of the country as a whole?

And when they identify problems like inflation or our foreign policy, to what extent do they blame state-level leadership?

Nevertheless, despite these reservations, it is a remarkable result, even if it does not mean anything significant for the outcome of the election.

It's safe to bet that the winners of these Republican primaries will likely be the winners in November as well.

Anna Harden

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