U.S. President — Harstad Strategic Research was a lead pollster and consultant for the Obama presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
- Harstad Research polled for the Obama-Biden re-election campaign in 12 states, including as lead pollster in 7 core Battleground states.
- We provide ongoing national issue polling and strategy for President Obama and the DNC.
- Harstad Research polled in the critical 2008 Iowa caucuses. Our research showed Obama more than doubling his share of the caucus vote from early 2007, moving from a distant third place to the decisive win that launched his history-making victory in November.
- We polled in a total of 12 Democratic primary and caucus states in 2008.
- We polled in 11 general election Battleground states, including 8 of the core Battleground states in 2008.
- Harstad Research was named a 2009 Pollster of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants, and won a ARF 2009 David Ogilvy Gold Medal Award in the Government + Non-Profit Category for our work on the Obama campaign.
U.S. Senator and Governor — We have won 14 of our last 16 races for U.S. senator:
- U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana in 2012
- U.S. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado in 2010
- U.S. Senator Mark Udall of Colorado in 2008
- U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri in 2006
- Former U.S. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in 2004 – including a tough 7-way primary in which Obama won 53% of the vote
- U.S. Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado in 2004
- U.S. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa in 2008, 2002, 1996, 1990 and 1984 – defeating an incumbent U.S. Senator and three incumbent congressmen in the process
- U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island in 2008, 2002 and 1996
- Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa in 2002 and 1998 – the first time his party won Iowa’s governorship in 32 years, since 1966
- Lt. Governor Bill Halter of Arkansas in 2006 – including a tough 4-way primary and 2-way primary run-off, as well as the general election
We also independently helped elect the following Democrats in close races:
- U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio in 2012
- Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado in 2006
- U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana in 2006
- Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin and 2006 and 2002
- Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana in 2004
- U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington in 2000
U.S. House of Representatives
- U.S. Representative Walt Minnick of Idaho in 2008
- U.S. Representative Mark Udall of Colorado in 2006
- U.S. Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota since 2000
Referenda — We have won 14 of our last 15 statewide referenda campaigns:
- State TABOR (Taxpayer Bill or Rights) initiative to restrict state government taxing and spending powers. Nebraska. (DEFEATED)
- Statewide school voucher program. Utah (DEFEATED)
- State constitutional restrictions on school spending. Colorado. (DEFEATED)
- Gay marriage ban. Arizona. (DEFEATED)
- Increase in the state minimum wage. Montana. (PASSED)
- State constitutional amendment to require 10% renewable electric energy. Colorado. (PASSED)
- State ballot initiative to increase the state tobacco tax for health care coverage. Montana. (PASSED)
- State constitutional amendment to enact sweeping campaign finance reform. Colorado. (PASSED)
- State ballot initiative to dedicate half the state’s tobacco settlement funds for tobacco prevention and other health purposes. Montana. (PASSED)
- Two state constitutional amendments to sharply restrict tax increases. Iowa. (DEFEATED, despite overwhelming initial support)
- Statewide ban on animal trapping. Colorado. (PASSED)
- Statewide referendum to allow video lottery, with funds going to public education. (PASSED)
- Statewide referendum initiated by the Religious Right to ban existing video lottery program that funds public education. South Dakota. (DEFEATED)
Primaries and Run-offs — We win tough primaries and run-offs for non-incumbents:
- In 2008, helped Barack Obama come from 3rd place to win the 7-way Iowa Democratic Caucuses with 38%, and polled in a dozen other key Democratic presidential primaries
- Won a 4-way primary and a tough 2-way primary run-off for Lt. Governor Bill Halter in Arkansas in 2006
- Won a 7-way primary for U.S. Senate in 2004 in Illinois for then State Senator Barack Obama with 53% of the vote
- Won a 4-way primary and a tough 3-way general election for Betty McCollum for Congress in St. Paul in 2000. The third candidate was former Democrat turned independent Reform Party candidate Tom Foley, endorsed on TV by Governor Jesse Ventura
- Won a 2-way primary from 17% behind for Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack in his first statewide 1998 election
- Won a 5-way primary and a 2-way run-off for Congressman Ken Bentsen in Houston in 1994. This set-up a striking win for Bentsen in the general election despite his being outspent 4-to-1
We win difficult elections despite being heavily outspent:
- Won a primary election for U.S. Senate in 2004 in Illinois despite being outspent 6-1
- Won a Houston congressional election in 2000 despite being outspent 3-1
- Won the general election for governor of Iowa in 1998 despite being outspent 3-2
- Won the primary election for governor of Iowa in 1998 despite being outspent 3-2
- Won an open Wisconsin congressional election in 1996 despite being outspent 2-1
- Won an open Houston congressional election in 1994 despite being outspent 5-1