The Washington Times - October 8, 2012, 08:05PM

Democratic Heidi Heitkamp, once considered a long shot to win North Dakota’s open Senate seat, is locked in a dead heat with GOP candidate Rep. Rick Berg, a new poll says.

The results of a Mason-Dixon survey released Monday afternoon show both candidates with 47 percent of the vote, with 6 percent undecided.

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But Mrs. Heitkamp is “recognized favorably” by 46 percent of the respondents, compared with 42 percent for Mr. Berg. The Democrat’s “unfavorable” rating of 35 percent is two percentage-points lower than her opponent.

A similar percent of voters have “neutral” opinions of the candidates; 20 percent for Mr. Berg and 18 percent for Mrs. Heitkamp.

The telephone survey of 625 likely voters has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent.

This is the first major independent poll taken in the race since July, when a Rasmussen Reports survey showed Mr. Berg up 9-percentage points. A Mason-Dixon poll of the race from early June showed Mrs. Heitkamp with a 1-percentage point advantage.