Poll shows 'wide open' governor's race in S.D.Results of a poll about the South Dakota gubernatorial candidates show the race to be “wide open,” according to the firm that conducted the poll.
By: Seth Tupper, The Daily Republic
Results of a poll about the South Dakota gubernatorial candidates show the race to be “wide open,” according to the firm that conducted the poll.
The poll, released Friday by Rasmussen Reports, shows Republican Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, of Garretson, garnering the most support. But even he failed to reach the 50 percent threshold.
“Roughly one-in-five South Dakota voters remain undecided no matter who is running at this point,” said the analysis of the poll from Rasmussen Reports.
In a hypothetical matchup with state Sen. Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls, the only declared Democratic candidate, Daugaard led 41 percent to 32 percent, with the remainder of respondents saying they were undecided or supported somebody else.
Daugaard and Heidepriem both claimed in e-mailed messages to their supporters Friday that the Rasmussen poll results bode well for their respective campaigns. They also noticed that The Daily Republic posted a poll Friday on its Republic Insider blog, and they encouraged their supporters to vote. As of 4:30 p.m., there were 423 votes in the unscientific poll, and Heidepriem was edging Daugaard 46 to 45 percent with all of the other candidates barely registering any support.
In the Rasmussen poll, Heidepriem led in his other hypothetical matchups. Against state Sen. Gordon Howie, of Rapid City, Heidepriem led 37 percent to 29 percent. Rasmussen noted that Howie “has been active in the state’s Tea Party movement.”
Against state Sen. Dave Knudson, of Sioux Falls, Heidepriem led 34 percent to 31 percent.
Rasmussen did not include matchups of Heidepriem against Republicans Scott Munsterman, of Brookings, or Ken Knuppe, of Buffalo Gap, because the polling firm did not consider them to be among the “three top announced GOP candidates.” Current Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, is term-limited and therefore cannot seek re-election.
Other candidates could still enter the race before the June 8 primary election. The general election will be Nov. 2.
Rasmussen said Heidepriem appears to be the best-known candidate. Eighteen percent shared a very favorable opinion of him, Rasmussen said, while 17 percent viewed him very unfavorably. One in four voters had no opinion of him.
Daugaard is viewed very favorably by 19 percent and very unfavorably by 4 percent, but 33 percent were not sure what they think of him.
For Howie, very favorables totaled 5 percent and very unfavorables 8 percent. Forty-two percent didn’t know enough about him to voice an opinion.
Five percent view Knudson very favorably, and 4 percent see him very unfavorably. Nearly half of the state’s voters, 47 percent, share no opinion on him.
“At this early stage of the campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the very favorable and very unfavorable figures more significant than the overall favorability totals,” the polling firm explained.
Male voters preferred the Republican candidates to Heidepriem, but female voters leaned toward Heidepriem in every matchup.
Voters not affiliated with either of the major parties favored the Republicans in all three cases, but the number of undecideds among unaffiliateds was about 30 percent.
In a separate poll released Thursday and reported Friday by The Daily Republic, Rasmussen Reports said U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., led against her potential Republican opponents but is showing signs of vulnerability.
Herseth Sandlin led 45 percent to 38 percent in a hypothetical race against South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson, of Pierre; 49 percent to 34 percent against state Rep. Kristi Noem, of Castlewood; and 51 percent to 33 percent against state Rep. Blake Curd, of Sioux Falls.
Rasmussen said Herseth Sandlin’s failure to garner 50 percent support indicated that she “appears to be suffering from the same political backlash as those of many incumbents around the nation.”
In that same poll, Rasmussen reported that 59 percent of South Dakota voters disapprove of the job that President Barack Obama is doing, including 45 percent who strongly disapprove, which means Obama has a slightly worse job-approval rating in South Dakota than he does nationally.