ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Both sides encouraged by Measure 5 results

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Spokesmen for the campaigns supporting and opposing Measure 5 both say they are encouraged by poll results published Sunday that found the contest over the proposed conservation fund in a statistical dead heat.

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Spokesmen for the campaigns supporting and opposing Measure 5 both say they are encouraged by poll results published Sunday that found the contest over the proposed conservation fund in a statistical dead heat.

The poll of 505 randomly selected adults, commissioned by Forum Communications Co. and conducted by the University of North Dakota College of Business and Public Administration, found 44 percent of respondents planned to vote for the measure, 37 percent planned to vote against it and 18 percent were undecided.

The spread between those for and against the measure was within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent, leading UND associate professor of political science Robert Wood to say the race "statistically is too close to call."

Jon Godfread, spokesman for the opposition group North Dakotans for Common Sense Conservation, says they would have loved to be on the upside of the poll results, "but we're actually very encouraged by what we saw."

"When you have a measure called Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks, on the surface you're going to get a lot of support," says Godfread, vice president of governmental affairs for the Greater North Dakota Chamber. "But what we've been seeing is as people kind of dig into this measure and really start to look at it, the trend is coming our way."

ADVERTISEMENT

Godfread says the results are consistent with trends seen in the opposition's internal polling.

"This is the first time that we've seen them without a majority, so we're pretty excited about that," he says.

Steve Adair, spokesman for North Dakotans for Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks, also calls the poll numbers "encouraging."

"We are grateful the poll is showing no large effect from the aggressive negative campaign being waged by our opponents with the help of a large Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm, API," Adair says in an emailed statement, referring to the American Petroleum Institute, which has poured more than $1.1 million into the campaign against Measure 5.

The constitutional amendment would dedicate 5 percent of the state's oil extraction tax revenue to a conservation fund and trust for the next 25 years. According to a state revenue forecast, that would amount to $308 million in tax revenue over the first 2½ years. At that rate, collections would top $3 billion over 25 years.

Adair, regional operations director for Ducks Unlimited, which has spent more than $1.87 million in support of the measure, says API "is making calls across the state to scare North Dakotans with misinformation about the measure."

"We are doing everything we can to counter these mistruths and negative campaigning by telling North Dakotans the facts about this unique opportunity to take care of what we love most about our state," he says.

Poll surveys were conducted via landline and cellphone from Sept. 26 to Oct. 3.

ADVERTISEMENT

Godfread nots that polling started before a week of TV ads against the measure had aired, before opponents' had unveiled a new coalition of legislators and mayors called Decision Makers for Common Sense Conservation and before Forum Communications Co.-owned newspapers across the state had run editorials urging a "no" vote on Measure 5.

"All those things weren't taken into account with this poll, and I think that'll help move some more points our way, as well," he says.

What To Read Next
As Mikkel Pates approaches his retirement from Agweek after 44 years in journalism, he talks to Rose Dunn about learning TV, covering ag's characters and scandals and looking toward the future.
Members Only
“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.
Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Growers Association were pleased with items in Gov. Tim Walz's "One Minnesota Budget" proposal.
John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation recently announced they had come to an agreement that will lead to more accessible repairs to John Deere equipment.