Romney leads in SD, says new pollA South Dakota polling firm claims Mitt Romney is leading his Republican rivals for the party’s presidential nomination among South Dakota voters.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A South Dakota polling firm claims Mitt Romney is leading his Republican rivals for the party’s presidential nomination among South Dakota voters.
Nielson Brothers Polling, a Sioux Falls company, said Romney received 33 percent support from registered Republicans in the state, followed by Rick Santorum with 24 percent.
Ron Paul, who led in the December NBP poll, and Newt Gingrich tie for third with 9 percent each.
More than a quarter of Republican voters — 26 percent — are undecided, according to the poll.
The Republican contest to choose a presidential candidate has been a wild affair, with frontrunners popping up and then imploding.
At various points, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and businessman Herman Cain led in polls. All three have since dropped out of the race.
Gingrich had a brief period as the frontrunner and Santorum has been in the lead in recent days. Romney, who also ran for the party’s nomination in 2008, has been at or near the top the entire campaign.
At South Dakota Republican Party State Dinner in Sioux Falls on Nov. 5, Cain won a straw poll, with Gingrich second and Romney third.
Cain, dogged by numerous reports of extramarital affairs, dropped out of the race a few days after winning the straw poll.
None of the candidates have appeared in the state yet.
The South Dakota primary will be held on June 5, the same day as voters in New Mexico, New Jersey and California will cast ballots.
South Dakota will award 25 delegates on a proportional basis. The Republican presidential nominee needs 1,144 delegates.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has endorsed Romney and has made campaign appearances with him.
Neither Rep. Kristi Noem and Gov. Dennis Daugaard, both Republicans, have endorsed a presidential candidate.
In its February poll, NBP also asked South Dakota voters to choose in a head-to-head race between President Barack Obama and the two leading national Republican candidates.
Romney leads Obama 44 to 35 percent among registered voters, with 21 percent saying neither or undecided.
In its December poll, Obama trailed Romney 48 to 29 percent.
Santorum leads Obama, 45 to 33 percent, according to the poll, with 22 percent saying neither or undecided.
In 2008, President Obama received 44.7 percent of the vote in South Dakota against Republican candidate John McCain’s 53.2 percent.
“Mitt Romney now leads the field of Republican presidential candidates after finishing fifth in our December South Dakota poll,” notes Paul Nielson, president of NBP.
“Support for Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich has fallen off dramatically,” he said.
Nielson adds that, “while President Obama again trails Romney among voters, he makes up ground in this survey.”
NBP surveyed a random selection of South Dakota registered voters Feb. 15-17.
The question on voting for a Republican presidential candidate drew 302 responses from registered Republicans, with a margin of error of 5.64 percent.
The question on the head-tohead race between Obama and Romney drew 559 responses for a 4.15 margin of error. All of the above questions have a 95 percent confidence level, according to Nielson Brothers Polling.
The firm said it will release other survey findings including South Dakota voters’ opinions on the state’s direction and the national economy