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Published June 10 2012

Poll says Cramer leads Kalk by a wide margin

FARGO – Less than two days before North Dakota voters will decide the Republican primary in the U.S. House race, a new independent poll shows challenger Kevin Cramer leading the endorsed candidate, Brian Kalk, by a wide margin.

Fargo-based Valley News Live and Bismarck-based KFYR-TV commissioned a poll of 625 likely North Dakota voters last week to gauge voter preference in the contested House and Senate primaries. The stations released the results of their House poll Sunday afternoon.

In the House race, the media poll found 60 percent of likely Republican primary voters would choose Cramer, while 21 percent would select Kalk. Nineteen percent remained undecided at the time of the poll.

The TV stations commissioned Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C., to conduct the telephone survey June 4-6. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Looking ahead to November, the Valley News Live poll indicated that Cramer also has an advantage over Democrat Pam Gulleson and libertarian Eric Olson.

In that hypothetical contest, likely general election voters gave 49 percent of their support to Cramer, 35 percent to Gulleson and 4 percent to Olson. Twelve percent remain undecided, five months ahead of the November election.

Valley News Live did not release results of a hypothetical general election matchup that might include Kalk.

Valley News Live, which operates KXJB and KVLY in Fargo and Grand Forks, is owned by Texas-based Hoak Media.

The Valley News Live/KFYR poll is the second independent snapshot of North Dakota’s contested U.S. House race this year.

Last month, Forum Communications Co. released a poll of 500 likely primary voters statewide, which found 37 percent of Republicans had yet to make up their minds about a month before the June primary.

Among decided Republicans, though, 38 percent said they’d vote for Cramer in the June 12 election and 25 percent said they’d support Kalk, according to the Forum poll.

Essman/Research of Des Moines, Iowa, conducted the telephone survey May 3 to May 8. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

However, Democrats disputed Forum Communications’ findings on the general election results, because its poll asked likely primary voters about a general election contest.

Prior to Forum Communications’ poll, only one poll – with questionable partisan ties – had been publicly released on North Dakota’s U.S. House race.

Last fall, a conservativeleaning alternative news outlet in North Dakota commissioned a poll that gauged how the six Republicans then running for the seat would fare against Gulleson in 2012.

That survey by Plains-Daily.com found both Cramer and Kalk ahead of Gulleson, but not by as wide a margin as Forum Communications’ poll found this month. Cramer’s communications director Kate Bommarito was formerly a regular contributor for PlainsDaily.com.

Among objective ratings, national media outlets consistently predict North Dakota’s seat will be reasonably safe in Republican hands this year.