Research 2000 for Daily Kos (2/9-11, registered voters):
Byron Dorgan (D-inc): 57
John Hoeven (R): 35
Conventional wisdom seems to dictate that in the 2010 North Dakota senate race, Byron Dorgan is safe despite North Dakota’s red-state status… unless popular Republican governor John Hoeven runs, in which case we’d have an epic battle. There’s been no indication, however, that Hoeven intends to run, and based on R2K’s first poll of this race, he may not want to bother.
Despite the fact that he’s just as well-known and popular as Dorgan (Hoeven’s favorables are 68/27, while Dorgan’s are 67/30), Hoeven loses by a substantial margin, losing every part of the state and every demographic category except “Republicans.” As Kos speculates, North Dakotans, like other small-staters (consider Alaskans’ attachment to Ted Stevens), know well how linked their local economy is to federal appropriations, and seem unwilling to trade in Dorgan’s decades of seniority and powerful committee posts.