Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) leads Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) by four points, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Congressman Kevin Cramer leads Sen. Heitkamp—48 to 44 percent—in a Fox News poll released this week, while eight percent of voters remain uncertain about whom they will vote for in the November midterm election. The margin of error is 3.5 points, giving Cramer a lead beyond the margin of error sampling.
Heitkamp faces an uphill election battle in a state that Donald Trump won by a staggering 36 points and where 54 percent approve of his job performance.
Eighty-four percent of Cramer supporters and 85 percent of Heitkamp supporters say they are confident they will vote for their preferred candidate. Only 15 percent of voters say they may change their voting preference before the election in the next two months.
Men prefer Cramer by 15 points, while women support Heitkamp by seven percent. The North Dakota Republican also received 30 percent support from white evangelicals and 30 percent of voters emphasizing the economy.
Given the increasingly competitive race between Heitkamp and Cramer, the North Dakotan faces more pressure to back President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, for the Supreme Court.
One-quarter of North Dakota voters said if Sen. Heitkamp were to vote against Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, it would make them less likely to vote for Heitkamp in the midterm election; only 18 percent of North Dakotans suggested they would be more likely to vote for Heitkamp if she voted against Kavanaugh, while 53 percent said it would make no difference.
Heitkamp is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election this year, along with Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
Daron Shaw, a Republican pollster, suggested that North Dakota is an “uphill fight” for Democrats this cycle.
“It’s a red state overall, and anti-Trump sentiment just isn’t a rallying point here like it is in some other states,” explained Shaw.
Sen. Heitkamp’s campaign faced backlash after the senator’s brother, Joel Heitkamp, tweeted on Wednesday that President Trump will help potential victims of Hurricane Florence because “they’re white.”
Contrary to Joel’s tweet, the hurricane will affect Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, which all feature significant black and Hispanic populations.
The local radio host’s controversial statement comes as leading strategists deemed the race for Sen. Heitkamp’s re-election as “lean Republican” towards Cramer.