McFeely: Poll shows Mund less than 4% behind Armstrong in ND US House race – InForum

FARGO — The race for North Dakota’s sole seat in the United States House of Representatives is competitive, and abortion appears to be a key reason for that, according to polling results obtained by The Forum.

Republican incumbent Kelly Armstrong leads independent challenger Cara Mund by just four points, according to a poll by DFM Research and described in a memo to North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party Executive Director Tyler Hogan.

The poll has Armstrong, first elected in 2018, with 44% while Mund, a first-time candidate for public office and former Miss America, is at 40%. The undecided represent 14% of respondents while the “others” collect 2%.

The numbers are shocking if they accurately reflect North Dakotans’ opinions of Armstrong and Mund. Armstrong won his 2020 re-election bid with nearly 70% of the vote while Democrat Zach Raknerud got less than 30%.

This is the first race survey to be made public. Republicans are likely to be conducting polls, but none have been released.

Neither Armstrong nor Mund could be immediately reached for comment.

The poll was conducted September 19-21 through live phone calls with 400 likely North Dakota voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

It was sponsored by the Democratic Party-NPL and is what the political world calls an internal poll, not intended for public consumption. The Forum obtained a copy of the memo earlier this week.

“What we’ve observed is that voters from all political walks of life are fed up with the status quo,” Hogan said of the poll. “They don’t believe our state is moving in the right direction, and they’ve started to downgrade our federal delegation. Voters want new ideas, they want action, and the Dobbs decision has really changed the political landscape. – both here in North Dakota and across the country.”

Hogan did not answer specific questions on the poll.

The question about Armstrong and Mund appears to be part of a larger poll conducted by DFM Research, a St. Paul-based firm that polls North Dakota regularly. The memo includes the results of three polling questions, but the questions are labeled 2a, 4 and 12.

When contacted for further comment on the poll, DFM Research pollster Dean Mitchell confirmed the results, but when asked specific questions he replied: “The memo is about him. -same.”

“In short, the US home race is competitive,” the memo reads, “with Cara Mund just 4 percentage points (44-40%); this despite the same respondents showing a very unfavorable view of President Joe Biden and a survey sample is R+24 (42% R and 18 D).”

The poll being R+24 indicates that DFM-weighted respondents show North Dakota’s heavily Republican streak.

One of the questions in the memo asked respondents what they thought of Democrat Biden, and it indicated that 65% of North Dakotans viewed him unfavorably. This includes 60% who view it very unfavorably. Only 33% view Biden favorably, including just 14% who view him very favorably.

The third question included in the memo asked respondents how mad they would be if their legislator supported an abortion ban. Thirty-nine percent said “very angry”, 9% said “angry” and 9% said “somewhat angry”.

Thirty percent responded “not angry at all”.

“The closeness of the House race is likely due in part to the high number of North Dakotans who are mad or very mad if lawmakers supported an abortion ban,” the memo said.

The memo also includes a tantalizing nugget about North Dakota’s three-way U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican John Hoeven, Democrat Katrina Christiansen and ousted conservative Republican Rick Becker.

While no numbers are provided, the memo states, “The other statewide races are about where you’d expect, although Rick Becker’s strong numbers make the three-way race at the US Senate is not a fatality.”

Asked about the US Senate poll, Mitchell declined to comment.

The Armstrong-Mund race drew considerable media attention in North Dakota in what was expected to be an otherwise sleepy political year, given the statewide political dominance of the GOP.

Mund, 28, added juice when she announced an independent bid for the state seat in the General House in early August. She is from Bismarck, won the Miss America title in 2017 and graduated from Harvard Law School in May.

Armstrong is a Dickinson native who has a law degree from the University of North Dakota and served as a state senator from 2012 to 2018. He served as chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party from 2015 to 2018.

Mark Haugen, a longtime Democrat-NPL member recruited at the party convention to take on Armstrong, dropped out of the race in early September after being urged to do so by some Democrats.