Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) led Rep. Rick Berg (R) 50 percent to 44 percent in a Senate race poll conducted for the North Dakota Democratic Party.
The poll is a good sign for the Democrat running in a solidly Republican state. She vastly outperformed President Barack Obama, who trailed presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney by 19 points.
North Dakota was atop the Republican target list even before Sen. Kent Conrad (D) announced his retirement in January of last year. Democrats' successful recruitment of Heitkamp has kept in play a seat once seen as a likely loss for the party.
The poll of 400 likely voters was conducted from July 24-26 by DFM Research of St. Paul, Minn. The margin of error was 4.9 points. The partisan breakdown of respondents was 42 percent Republican, 29 percent Democratic and 29 percent independent.