Rasmussen: Dorgan trailing in ND re-election bid by 22 points

Call it the Wages of ObamaCare.  When only 30% of a state’s likely voters support the one piece of legislation on which the incumbent has worked for most of the year, they tend to get a little chippy about the idea of sending him back to Washington.  When paired up with Republican Governor John Hoeven in a 2010 midterm election, Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan trails by 22 points, 58%-36%:

Incumbent Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan may have a serious problem on his hands if Republicans recruit Governor John Hoeven to run for the U.S. Senate in North Dakota next year.

The first Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 telephone survey of likely voters in North Dakota finds the popular Republican governor leading Dorgan by 22 points – 58% to 36%. Just six percent (6%) are undecided in that senatorial contest.

Part of the challenge for Dorgan is the health care legislation working its way through Congress. Dorgan, along with every Democrat in the Senate, has voted to move the legislation forward and is expected to vote for final approval of the reform later this week. That’s not likely to be well received in North Dakota where just 30% favor the proposed health care reform plan and 64% are opposed.

Thus far, Hoeven has not declared an intent to run for Dorgan’s seat — but these poll results can’t hurt.  When Dorgan gets matched against the one Republican who has declared, Duane Sand, Dorgan easily bests him by almost the same margin that he loses to Hoeven.  Hoeven beats Dorgan by 15 points among women, a rather shocking prospect for Democrats, who rely on the gender gap each election.

Dorgan’s poor showing indicates a big problem for a man who won his last election by over 30 points.  Like most Democratic Senators from red states, Dorgan has tried arguing that he represents common-sense moderation over partisan agendas.  His participation in passing ObamaCare makes a mockery of that claim, and North Dakota voters see him now as a man who carries water for Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama.

Still, if Hoeven doesn’t jump into the race, Dorgan may be able to get past his midterm trial, unless Duane Sand can make an impression in a hurry.  Expect the North Dakota GOP to be making a beeline to Governor Hoeven’s office with this poll in hand.