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Poll finds majority feel North Dakota is on right track

BISMARCK - A majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents who responded to a recent statewide poll said they feel North Dakota is on the right track.

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BISMARCK - A majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents who responded to a recent statewide poll said they feel North Dakota is on the right track.

West Fargo-based Telos Associates released the full results of its poll Wednesday after providing preliminary results earlier this week that showed Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem receiving the most favorable responses among potential candidates for governor in 2016, which Stenehjem said he found encouraging as he seriously considers a run.

The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted by phone Friday through Sunday, with 42 percent of respondents identifying as Republican, 24 percent as Democrat and 34 percent as independent.

In a state where Republicans hold every statewide elected office, two of three congressional seats and a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, 87 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of independents said the state is on the right track.

Only 4 percent of Republicans said the state is on the wrong track, compared with 22 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of independents. The other respondents had no opinion.

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Telos Associates was founded early this year by Todd Reisenauer of Fargo and Jason Matthews of Bismarck, who said they got to know each other last year while Reisenauer was running as a Democratic candidate for the North Dakota Public Service Commission and Matthews was working as communications director for the state Democratic-NPL Party, a job he had through May.

They said with Reisenauer's background in software and business consulting and Matthews' experience in public relations and communications, they decided to launch a market research and strategic consulting firm that caters to nonprofits, businesses and public policy groups. The company also employs a statistician.

While saying they don't want to build their business around politics, Reisenauer and Matthews said they decided to conduct the poll on the governor's race because it appeared no one else was doing so and they saw it as an opportunity to gain publicity for their new firm.

"We are doing this to drum up business," Reisenauer said.

In addition to being surveyed about specific potential gubernatorial candidates, respondents were asked if they would consider voting for an independent candidate for governor. Sixty-two percent said yes, 16 percent said no, 19 percent were unsure and 3 percent had no opinion.

Matthews and Reisenauer said they asked the question because of reports in the media and discussion on talk radio about statements by Fargo entrepreneur Doug Burgum - a frequent donor to the GOP and Republican candidates - that he's considering a run for governor and hasn't ruled out running as an independent. Some political observers have speculated that Burgum's liberal views on social issues could prevent him from winning the GOP nomination.

"It wasn't any kind of a push poll at all," Matthews said. "We threw it in there because people have talked about it."

Telos Associates is based in the same West Fargo building that houses FishNet Marketing LLC, a call center that Reisenauer managed from March to October of last year while running his campaign. Telos Associates used FishNet to conduct the poll.

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Asked about the poll methodology, Matthews said Telos has a proprietary method of dividing the state into population quadrants "to develop an accurate and reflective sample of North Dakota's population."

The telephone survey was conducted using randomly selected landline and cellphone numbers, the company said. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

Related Topics: WEST FARGO
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