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Dakota Poll shows 2-to-1 support for sales tax increase

Initiated Measure 15 on the Nov. 6 ballot has strong support among likely South Dakota voters, according to a poll released Tuesday.

IM 15, which calls for adding 1 percent to the current 4 percent sales tax to help fund education and Medicaid, has a 67-33 percent lead, according to results of the new Dakota Poll.

The poll sought likely voters' views on four of seven ballot questions and also asked their views on the overall economic condition of the state. It did not ask opinions on proposed Constitutional Amendments M, N and P.

Support for the sales tax crossed ideological lines, according to a Dakota Poll release. Self-described conservatives, liberals and moderates all supported Measure 15 by large majorities. Even self-identified tea party supporters said they intended to vote yes by a margin of 49-43 percent.

However, among "very conservative" voters, 49 percent said they intended to vote no, while 46 percent said they intended to votes yes.

Respondents to the Dakota Poll also indicated that they were leaning against Referred Law 16 on the November ballot by a margin of 52-46 percent. Referred Law 15 grew out of Gov. Dennis Daugaard's education reform initiative in the 2012 Legislature.

If passed, the law would establish a system of merit pay for excellent teachers, pay bonuses to math and science teachers, establish a uniform teacher and principal evaluation system, and eliminate the current requirements for teacher tenure.

Conservatives narrowly support the governor's initiative. Moderates and liberals were opposed.

Regarding Referred Law 14, the Large Project Fund, 34 percent of the respondents supported the measure while 54 percent said they intended to vote no or were leaning toward a no vote.

If passed, it would allow the governor to eliminate the contractor's excise tax on construction projects that exceed $5 million in cost on a case-by-case basis when the governor deems it beneficial to give the project a financial incentive,

On Constitutional Amendment O, which would change the way proceeds from the Cement Plant Trust Fund are allocated to support state aid to schools, respondents were overwhelmingly positive. Sixty-three percent indicated that they would vote yes to change the constitutional language.

Only 28 percent said they intended to vote no.

According to its website, The Dakota Poll is a private, non-partisan, survey of South Dakota citizens that will be conducted four times a year for at least a five-year span starting in 2010.

The Dakota Poll advisory group is made up of Sam Hurst, a Rapid City writer, blogger and filmmaker, Jody Severson, of Rapid City, a veteran political consultant, Don Frankenfeld, of Rapid City, an economist and former Republican congressional candidate, Jeff Masten, a former Lincoln County state's attorney, who is now a physician in Minnesota; and Eric Abrahamson, a Rapid City businessman, author and historian and former Rapid City school board member, who was the 2006 Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

The Dakota Poll was conducted by RBI Strategies and Research, of Denver, Sept. 29-30, and 400 likely voters were surveyed by telephone. The margin of error is 4.9 percent.

All questions, topline results, and crosstabs are available at