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Published October 22, 2010, 11:50 AM

Poll: Berg leads Pomeroy by 10 points in North Dakota US House race

GRAND FORKS - New poll results released Thursday show Republican challenger Rick Berg increasing his lead over Democratic incumbent Rep. Earl Pomeroy in North Dakota’s U.S. House race.

By: Ryan Johnson, Forum Communications Co., INFORUM

GRAND FORKS - New poll results released Thursday show Republican challenger Rick Berg increasing his lead over Democratic incumbent Rep. Earl Pomeroy in North Dakota’s U.S. House race.

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of 500 likely North Dakota voters conducted Monday and Tuesday showed Berg leading Pomeroy 52 percent to 42 percent. Just 1 percent of respondents said they’d vote for another candidate, while 5 percent said they were undecided.

Rasmussen Reports, a national pollster that has tracked the state’s U.S. House race since February, has put Berg in the lead each month.

A Sept. 20-21 telephone survey showed Berg holding a 48 percent to 45 percent edge over Pomeroy, the closest gap between the candidates that the pollster had found all year.

But this month’s results put Berg up 10 points, well above the margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent and Berg’s biggest lead in a Rasmussen Reports poll.

In a Thursday written statement, Berg spokesman Tom Nelson said the latest results are “another clear indication” that Pomeroy “can’t run from his record of putting Nancy Pelosi and Washington before North Dakota.”

“As we head into the final days of this race, there is strong momentum behind our campaign from North Dakotans across the state who are ready to change Washington,” Nelson wrote. “Our statewide grassroots team is energized and ready to turn out the vote on Election Day.”

A written statement released Thursday by Pomeroy spokesman Brenden Timpe brought up a criticism of Rasmussen Reports that state Democrats have raised all year: Scott Rasmussen, founder and president of the polling firm, has strong ties to the Republican Party.

Timpe said the polls are “so unreliable” that most major news organizations refuse to publish the results. The latest numbers show Rasmussen “is at it again,” and that he’s “trying to convince North Dakotans to vote for Rick Berg and his special-interest agenda.”

“More trustworthy polling has shown that Earl is slightly ahead of Rick Berg in this close race,” Timpe wrote. “As long as Rick Berg refuses to explain his 26-year record and keeps running ads that lie about Earl’s record, he won’t gain much traction in this race.”

Johnson is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, a Forum Communications Co. newspaper.

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