MINOT, N.D. — How has the ceaseless controversy from his first term in office, not to mention impeachment, impacted President Donald Trump's popularity among North Dakotans?
It hasn't changed much of anything, according to recent polling from DFM Research.
Pollster Dean Mitchell, who has surveyed North Dakotans for many years on behalf of various clients, both political and nonpolitical, provided me the results of his most recent survey exclusively. It found that President Trump is enjoying a level of approval in our state, which is pretty much identical to his vote outcome in 2016 when he earned early 63% of the North Dakota vote to Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton's 27%.
Mitchell did 600 live-caller surveys with a representative sample of North Dakotans, including calls to both landlines and cell phones. His survey has a margin of error of 4%.
The timing is noteworthy. The surveys were conducted Jan. 28 through Feb. 1, as intense impeachment coverage dominated the national media landscape.
If Democrats were hoping to convince North Dakota voters to regret supporting Trump and Republicans, if they were hoping to persuade voters here that impeachment was a good idea, it sure seems like they've failed. At least based on this survey.
Also included in the survey were questions about who North Dakotans might prefer in potential 2020 matchups. Here's how Trump fared against his potential challengers among survey respondents who said they were likely to vote this cycle:
- Joe Biden 38%, Trump 57%
- Bernie Sanders 35%, Trump 60%
- Amy Klobuchar 36%, Trump 57%
- Michael Bloomberg 36%, Trump 56%
- Elizabeth Warren 34%, Trump 59%
- Pete Buttigieg 34%, Trump 57%
There's not a lot of spread in the numbers between the different matchups. I'm not sure many of you readers are surprised to learn that a majority of North Dakota voters, who lean Republican, are going to stick with Trump, and the minority of voters who lean Democratic will vote for whoever is challenging him.
I had thought we might see a more distinct preference for one, or maybe even two or three, of the Democratic candidates over the others, but I guess for those who aren't supporting Trump, it's anyone-but-Trump.
Mitchell, though made a good point when we were discussing the poll. He said that a slightly more popular Democratic candidate at the top of the ticket could be a difference-maker in down-ballot races. Particularly local legislative races.
The NDGOP picked up some legislative seats in traditionally blue districts in 2016, riding a Trump wave. Democrats will be looking to take those seats back. Having Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar setting the tone for the election would be more advantageous for them than, say, Elizabeth Warren.
Though it's unlikely that many Democrats, nationally, are going to be prioritizing down-ballot races in North Dakota when making their calculations for their 2020 presidential nominee.
Here's the full polling memo from DFM:
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.