Politics

Cramer Pulling Away In North Dakota Race, Now Leads Heitkamp By 16 Points

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A poll conducted by KVLY, KFYR and Strategic Research Associates of likely North Dakota voters revealed Monday that incumbent North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is continuing to lose her grip on the race to GOP challenger Rep. Kevin Cramer, who leads by 16 points.

Cramer now leads Heitkamp by his biggest take so far, 56-40 percent, according to the survey of 650 likely voters.

Cramer’s lead has expanded since an earlier poll had him at a 12-point lead, and before that, ahead by 10 percentage points.

The Strategic Research Associates poll is also the first look at how North Dakota voters are feeling ahead of November’s race after Heitkamp ran advertisements listing alleged sexual assault victims without their permission.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - FEBRUARY 28: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) speaks to the press after President Trump signed an executive order aimed at undoing former President Barack Obama's Clean Water Rule at The White House on February 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – FEBRUARY 28: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) speaks to the press after President Trump signed an executive order aimed at undoing former President Barack Obama’s Clean Water Rule at The White House on February 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

“I deeply regret this mistake and we are in the process of issuing a retraction, personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this and taking the necessary steps to ensure this never happens again,” Heitkamp said of her campaign’s blunder in a statement.

Many of the women in the ad were not even sexual assault survivors, and claimed Heitkamp’s political agenda has disturbed their lives.

A key component in this most recent poll, however, is the percentage of voters who say their minds could change on election day.

Only five percent of Heitkamp’s voters say they could change their minds compared to 17 percent of Cramer’s voters.

Republicans have been feeling increasingly confident about taking Heitkamp’s seat, especially after such self-inflicted errors. (RELATED: Republicans Feeling Better Than Ever About Taking Heidi Heitkamp’s Senate Seat, Keeping Majority)

The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips declared Heitkamp’s Senate seat the “most likely to flip” in an Oct. 17 analysis.

“Throughout her entire campaign, Heidi Heitkamp has used whoever she can for political gain,” North Dakota GOP Communications Director, Jake Wilkins, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Recently, she outed victims of sexual assault, continued to campaign instead of apologize, then lied about it. Heitkamp’s nearly insurmountable deficit is well deserved,” he added.

FARGO, ND - JUNE 27: U.S. president Donald Trump (L) looks on as U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Scheels Arena on June 27, 2018 in Fargo, North Dakota. President Trump held a campaign style "Make America Great Again" rally in Fargo, North Dakota with thousands in attendance. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

FARGO, ND – JUNE 27: U.S. president Donald Trump (L) looks on as U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Scheels Arena on June 27, 2018 in Fargo, North Dakota. President Trump held a campaign style “Make America Great Again” rally in Fargo, North Dakota with thousands in attendance. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

According to the poll, North Dakota voters are also increasingly viewing Heitkamp unfavorably, signaling a Democratic slip in excitement for their party as the midterm elections grow closer.

Compared to 41 percent of voters viewing the sitting senator unfavorably in September, this poll shows that number jumping to 52 percent. This compares to 38 percent of voters seeing Cramer unfavorably.

This poll was conducted  of 650 likely voters on Oct. 12-19 with a margin of error of 3.84 percentage points.

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