Posts Tagged ‘Chris Nelson’

RC, SF Papers Opposed on Chris Nelson

Posted: Monday, June 7, 2010 at 6:10 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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South Dakota’s two biggest newspapers, the Rapid City Journal and that Sioux Falls paper, demonstrate the ability of apparently rational people to reach diametrically opposed conclusions about the same person. In big weekend primary endorsements, the Rapid City editors conclude that Chris Nelson is too “fiercely partisan” to make bipartisan collaboration happen… and the Sioux Falls editors conclude exactly the opposite.

Here’s RCJ’s take:

…Nelson doesn’t appear to be much for collaboration. Though he may characterize himself as assertive, Nelson sounded fiercely partisan during his meeting with the Rapid City Journal editorial board, trumpeting the political rhetoric which may please some in the GOP, but does not move this country forward [“EDITORIAL: Three good choices in GOP House race, Blacke [sic] Curd the top one,” Rapid City Journal, 2010.06.05].

(PP likes to talk about the “kiss of death.” I think that’s what you call it when the paper that endorses you spells your name wrong.)

And here’s what the big East River paper said:

The key for Nelson is that he doesn’t see things only in black and white or as a blue state/red state issue. He identifies fiscal responsibility as a major driver in his campaign and describes dealing with the budget deficit as more than a Republican or Democrat problem, but as an “American problem” [“Editorial: Nelson has best grasp of issues,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2010.06.06].

Yes, they really are talking about the same person.

Dear readers, you are welcome to spin whatever hypotheses you wish as to what lies behind these dueling endorsements… but your political theories must also account for the fact that both papers have endorsed Dave Knudson in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Honestly, I think the Journal got it wrong, or at least failed to look at the big picture. Yes, Nelson made himself look silly taking the stage with Kitty Werthmann and the guns-in-school Second Amendment Sisters. And yes, Nelson deserves a kick in the pants for his yahoo answer on the bogus birther movement (although the good Dr. Blanchard makes a reasonable argument that we Dems made much more of Nelson’s non-denial than was warranted). That Sioux Falls paper makes a mistake in failing to mention Nelson’s willingness to sacrifice his mild-mannered image to pander to the primary wingnuts.

But is the RCJ serious when it suggests Nelson is more partisan than either Curd or Noem? Did the RCJ not notice the rabid tri-corner-hat wearers R. Blake was hanging out with last year at the tea parties? Did they not notice Noem’s instant appeal to the religious right, appeal so strong it drove a declared fundagelical candidate out of the race? And did they not notice Nelson’s impeccable impartial and fair execution of his duties as Secretary of State, to the extent of alienating some hard rightwingers in his own party?

If apparent partisanship is the RCJ’s criterion for denying a candidate its endorsement, then what would RCJ say about Senator John Thune and his complete resistance to bipartisanship since President Obama took office? Then again, our very partisan junior Senator proves that even South Dakota’s hard right can soften and play nice with Dems when it comes to bringing home those cherished federal earmarks.

If anything, Nelson has the best proven record of being able to work with people from all parties, a record RCJ chooses to dismiss as the putterings of “a career bureaucrat who does not have the real-world private business experience.” Curd has learned to tone down some of his tea party rhetoric, but send him to Washington, and he’ll be exactly the passionate partisan the RCJ thinks it sees in Nelson. Ditto Noem: she’s Michele Bachmann in ranch boots (expensive, federally subsidized ranch boots).

Chris Nelson has made me queasy with his wingnut moments and wimpy Web content (though his Tweets are the best found-object art of the primary season). He’s made Republican supporters nervous with his lackluster fundraising. But when Nelson wins the primary Tuesday (and he will, 45–28–27), as Republicans won’t gamble a good year on relative newcomers who are still learning on the campaign trail), he will change tack. Nelson will turn down the wingnut talk, target the Herseth middle, and start tapping fresh donors. And his Republican friends, hungry for battle, will happily pour on the cash for the main event.

Nelson’s Fiscal Conservatism Crimping Campaign?

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 7:24 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Chris Nelson said something the other day that ought to make me like him. He played to my inner cheapskate:

“Understand, I’m a fiscal conservative. That’s not just a word for me. It’s how I operate. That’s how we’re operating the campaign,” Nelson said. “We’re going to spend less money than the other two campaigns, no question about it” [Chet Brokaw, “Chris Nelson Aims to Win GOP House Race on the Cheap,” AP via Rapid City Journal, 2010.05.17].

In a political jungle dominated by corporate gorillas, the candidate who gets less cash from the big money interests gets extra points on my scorecard. Nelson also scores points for practicing what he preaches about fiscal conservatism.

But there’s a time and place for everything… including principles.

Peacocks waste an absurd amount of resources growing their outlandish tail feathers. A “feather conservative” could cut down its chickpea intake and fly more efficiently. But during mating season, the big spenders get the chicks.

Like it or not, fundraising is a proxy (an imperfect proxy, a distasteful proxy) for electability. It is a market measure of the intensity with which certain people want a candidate to win and think the candidate can win. Dr. Ken Blanchard says so, so it must be true! (That’s the good professor, filling my day with unpleasant truths.) Even if Nelson’s relatively thin wallet results not from donors balking but from Nelson’s not asking, it still sends the signal that he’s not the alpha bird. The absence of that signal makes it easier for Republicans like Michael Sanborn to buy into what the other GOP candidates are offering.

Nelson sounds absolutely sincere when he says he won’t spend lots of money in Congress. But setting that example in his campaign fundraising may mean he won’t get a chance to prove it.

p.s.: Note that that Sioux Falls paper chose to headline the story about Nelson’s low fundraising with the faintly negative “Running on Reputation“. Are they hoping they’ll sell more papers with Noem’s bodacious hair on the cover… or maybe Curd’s gleaming noggin?

“Birther” propaganda and friend of South Dakotan

Posted: Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm
By: Doug Wiken
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Mitchell Daily Republic Saturday-Sunday, May 15-16, 2010 front page has an interesting story about a friend of a South Dakota woman who was living in Hawaii at the same time Obama’s mother was. They  gave birth apparently within minutes or hours of each other.

“My daughters’ birth certificates were 10637 and 10638, and Obama’s was 10641, so his mother must have come in after I did,” Nordyke said, though she never met Obama’s mother.

Nordkye said she doesn’t know who Obama’s mother’s doctor was, but only five obstetricians were at the hospital at the time, she said. Birthers have complained that the name of the attending physician is being hidden.

For about six years, Nordyke’s daughters attended school with Obama at the Punahou School, a school of about 4,000 geared for the college-bound, which Nordyke called “the best school in Hawaii.”

The full story will be here for a day or two:

It indicates that the Hawaiian “long form birth certificate” is only available to family members. Mrs. Nordyke’s husband was a doctor at the hospital where Obama was born.

She recalls that Obama’s birth notice was published several days before her daughters’ notice, even though Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was admitted to Kapiolani Hospital after Nordyke entered the hospital. Obama was born on a Friday, and the Nordyke twins were born on a Saturday, she said.

Nordyke’s late husband, Dr. Robert Nordyke, was an internal medicine specialist at Honolulu’s Straub Clinic.

Mrs. Eleanor Nordyke is now around 82, but she and her daughter appear to have little but contempt for the lunacy of the so-called birthers and she believes the instigators  keep the pot boiling only because it can be used to generate money for right wing causes at the expense of the gullible.

** Stay tuned for more conspiracy theories from the right wing peanut brain gallery– Doug Wiken

Chris Nelson, the Birther Thing, and Red Herrings

Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:45 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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redherring3Does Chris Nelson, South Dakota Secretary of State and candidate for our U.S. House seat, believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and so isn’t qualified to be President?  Cory Heidelberger surely wants us to think so.

The issue began when Kevin Woster of the Rapid City Journal asked the various House contenders whether they believed that the President was born in Hawaii.  Secretary Nelson said this:

“Yes, meeting the constitutional qualifications to be President is a very important issue. If President Obama isn’t constitutionally qualified, it would be the biggest scam ever perpetuated on the American people. MANY people contacted me as Secretary of State prior to and after the election asking how Obama could be on our ballot given this controversy. Absent a court finding that he isn’t a natural born citizen, we have to take the certification from the National Democratic Convention at face value.”

That paragraph is the sole evidence that Cory has against Secretary Nelson.  But he thinks it is enough to bring down Nelson’s candidacy.

I hate to be a one-issue voter. I hate to see one stupid answer negate the technocratic competence a candidate has to offer. But when Nelson shows himself as willing to run with the wingnuts as anyone else in the GOP, and when he steps in a big pile of birther doo-doo that even R. Blake and Kristi are smart enough to step around, I’m much more inclined to think this GOP primary is anyone’s game.

Well, since Cory hates to be a one issue voter, I am here to help.  Nothing in Secretary Nelson’s quote is wrong.  Constitutional qualifications are important.  If the President weren’t qualified that would be an unprecedented scandal.  I don’t doubt that Secretary Nelson got a lot of questions about this.

But, answering like a Secretary of State, he stated the obvious: Obama was on the ballot because he was certified by the National Democratic Convention.  As Secretary of State, that was all he needed to know.  His own opinion, whatever it may have been, didn’t matter.  It wasn’t his job to inquire into murky conspiratorial theories about the President’s birthplace.  Unlike most politicians, who tell us only what we want to hear, Secretary Nelson said what he was competent and authorized to say.

Since he is also a candidate, he probably should have said more.  He does so in a second exchange with Woster:

That question certainly has generated interest which doesn’t suprise me. Of all the issues I’ve dealt with as Secretary of State I have had more public comment on this question over the last year and a half than any other issue I’ve dealt with.

The most important point I can make is this, I strongly believe that constitutional requirements for any office must be met whether its President or Secretary of State or United States House of Representatives.

The President has met all the requirements to have his name placed on South Dakota’s ballot and be elected by the electoral college. That is my concern as Secretary of State.

Personally, I’ve looked at this from a number of angles and am satisfied that President Obama was born in the United States.

Again, Secretary of State Nelson is responding in a professional way.  His personal opinion of the birther myth isn’t really important.  All that matters is that Mr. Obama met the legal qualifications to be President.  That is precisely the attitude one wants in a public official.

But, since he was asked, now we know his personal opinion.  He does not believe the birther nonsense.

I am neither surprised nor offended that Cory and other Democrats should try to exploit the Secretary’s professionally responsible comments.  Just a few weeks ago, Cory was hoping to replace Representative Herseth-Sandlin as the Democratic nominee because of her “votes on numerous issues”.  Now he is very afraid that she may be replaced by a Republican.

And if Nelson manages to recover and win, I’m much less inclined to give a pass to Dems who in their justifiable disgust with Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s votes on numerous issues would vote for Nelson in November. Nelson is making clear he’s not the tolerable centrist we thought he was.

Well, if Cory has recovered I am guessing that Secretary Nelson will as well.  This criticism of Nelson is a red herring.

Rasmussen SD Results on Races, Issues

Posted: Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
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Election 2010: South Dakota Governor

South Dakota Governor: Daugaard (R) 53%, Heidepriem (D) 33%
Building on an already sizable advantage over the likely Democratic nominee, Republican Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard now earns 53% support from likely voters in South Dakota’s gubernatorial race, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state.

Results are also listed for Knudsen and Howie, neither of which run as strongly as Daugaard. According to the poll, there are additional single digit results for “Another candidate”, presumably Knuppe/Munstermann territory.

Also out are results concerning the Congressional race:

Election 2010: South Dakota House of Representatives

South Dakota House: Herseth Sandlin (D) 45%, Nelson (R) 41%

Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is still in a close race with her strongest Republican challenger but has gained support in match-ups with two other GOP hopefuls. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely South Dakota voters finds Herseth Sandlin earning just 45% support to 41% for Republican Chris Nelson. The challenger is South Dakota’s secretary of state.

Looks like Princess Stephanie isn’t able to get a good head of steam this time, which is a sign of danger to her re-election.

This is the third straight month in which the incumbent has earned just 44% or 45% support in a match-up against Nelson. Overall, this month’s numbers are little changed from a month ago or two months ago. Any incumbent at this stage of a campaign who earns less than 50% support is considered potentially vulnerable, but Herseth Sandlin seems stalled in the mid-40s for now in her match-up with Nelson, South Dakota’s secretary of state.

Rasmussen also reports some other interesting data on SD issues polling:

Regarding the Obamacare continuing debate:

Forty-one percent (41%) of all voters in the state favor the requirement in the health plan that every American must buy or obtain health insurance, while 54% oppose it. Forty-eight percent (48%) favor the lawsuit to stop the health care plan that challenges the constitutionality of the requirement. Forty-two percent (42%) oppose the suit.

Tea Time?

Forty-six percent (46%) of all voters in the state say their views on the issues of the day are closer to the views of the average Tea Party member than to those of President Obama. However, nearly as many (40%) say their views are closer to the president’s.

Drill Now!

Seventy-six percent (76%) in South Dakota favor offshore oil drilling, and 59% disagree with the president’s decision to keep the ban on offshore drilling in place off the coasts of New England and California. Voters are closely divided over whether states should have the right to ban drilling off their own coastlines: 39% say yes, while 37% say no.

(I guess this means that support may not be strong for drilling offshore at Lake Herman too – right CAH?)

And, on the economy in general:

Nine percent (9%) of South Dakota voters rate the economy as good, but 38% say it’s poor. Forty-four percent (44%) believe the economy is getting better. Thirty-one percent (31%) say it’s getting worse, and 20% think it’s staying about the same.

Herseth-Sandlin & Nelson in Virtual Tie

Posted: Monday, March 29, 2010 at 9:35 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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chrisnelsonA new Rasmussen poll on South Dakota is out.  Here are the most important results:

Herseth-Sandlin 46%/Chris Nelson 44%

A month ago Rasmussen had this:

Herseth-Sandlin 45%/Chris Nelson 38%

These numbers indicate real trouble for the Congresswoman.  In the first place, she is stuck about 45%.  As I wrote recently, well-known incumbents have a hard time improving on their initial poll numbers because they are, well, well-known.  Voters have a pretty clear early idea whether they want her back or not.  Anything below 50% spells real trouble.

By contrast, challengers usually have nowhere to go but up, at least at first.  Secretary of State Chris Nelson’s half dozen points in one month is a real gain.  It is probably due to no more than growing name recognition.  However, since the race is still well below the radar screen for most voters, that is impressive.

There is a popular saying among political junkies that all politics is local.  Like a lot of popular sayings, it’s wrong.  One thing that is surely depressing Representative HS’s poll numbers is dismay among Democrats regarding her vote on national health care legislation.  My Keloland colleague, Cory Heidelberger is pushing primary challenger Dr. Kevin Weiland.  Cory notes with some satisfaction that Weiland is picking up fans really rapidly on Facebook.

Far be it for me to ignore the testimony of the cybermasses.  I am guessing, however, that Weiland will not deny HS the democratic nomination.  Weiland’s candidacy does mean something in either case.  Every Democrat investing time and money in his campaign represents resources that the sitting Representative cannot count on right now.  That puts her behind.  Of course some of those resources will come back after the primary.  But HS needs all of it.  If the Democratic vote is even slightly depressed in November, the Congresswoman may well be depressed after the election.

Representative Herseth-Sandlin may have had genuine disagreements with the House health care bills, but she probably did not neglect to weigh the political consequences.  She may have thought that a vote for a 940 billion more than a trillion dollar expansion of the welfare state would hurt her with Republicans and independents who voted for her in the past.  If so, she was probably right.  That doesn’t mean that her vote will protect her against the larger political forces moving the nation right now.  This looks to be a very strong year for Republicans.  HS standing at 45% is one piece of evidence for that.

If someone gave me a wad of greenbacks to place, I would place some of it on Nelson to win the primary, and most of it on Nelson to win the general election.  I’d get better odds on the second bet, but not a lot better.

3 Republicans 4 Congress

Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 12:29 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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noemfamilyIt appears that South Dakota Republicans will have three contenders to choose among when they cast their votes in this summer’s Congressional primary.  Right now the field looks to be unusually strong.

I have had the pleasure this year of appearing with two of the Republicans aiming to unseat Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin.  I arrived a bit late for a Tea Party meeting in Watertown, and got to enjoy most of Dr. Blake Curd’s talk.  If memory serves, Dr. Curd was wearing jeans and boots.  He brought a copy of one version of the health care bill, and it stood nearly as tall on the stage as I would.  Dr. Curd struck me as a very serious candidate with an excellent command of the issues and a natural born ability to connect with his audience.  Those two things don’t always go together, and that means we usually have to settle for the latter.  With only this one glimpse to go on, I think that Representative Curd would give us both.

More recently I took part in discussion on Dakota Midday with Secretary of State Chris Nelson.  The topic was the recent Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC.  Secretary Nelson was speaking in his official capacity, so I didn’t get to see his political skills.  I can say that he was very good on the law and the issues surrounded it.  He has that rare ability to unravel very complex legal knots in a way that any listener can understand.  That is something to be wished for in a statesman.  I warmed to him immediately.

More recently still I received a note that Kristi Noem (pronounced like gnome), Representative for District 6 of the South Dakota house, is throwing her hat in the ring.  Perhaps I will get to hear Representative Noem at some venue, but right now I don’t know where she stands on national issues.  I have heard from people I trust that she is sharp and articulate, and knows the public business.

She does have several advantages that are very important for aspiring candidates: she is photogenic, well-rooted in the community, and has three equally attractive children.  We may think that such things do not matter, but perhaps they do.  As a rancher’s wife, she will appeal to a lot of South Dakota voters.

This looks to me like an unusually strong field.  The only SD poll I know about had Congresswoman Herseth-Sandlin ahead, but below 50%.  That is generally a warning sign for an incumbent, especially if she has served more than one term.  I have also heard from my various contacts that Ms. Herseth-Sandlin’s fundraising has been anemic.  There is certainly the sense in the air that she is vulnerable.

A strong field of contenders for the nomination means that Ms. Herseth-Sandlin may well be replaced by a Republican.  That would be more likely if, as seems the case, there is a strong wave building for the GOP.  One of the above may be our next representative in Congress.

Whether that is the case or not, there is also the future to look to.  Any one of the above looks like a serious contender for Tim Johnson’s senate seat in 2014, especially if Senator Johnson decides to retire.  Curd, Nelson, and Noem must compete this year, but it is very important that they avoid savaging one another.  If they can avoid this, the Republican Party may soon control all of South Dakota’s national delegation.

Primary Prediction: Nelson 40%, Curd 31%, Hickey 29%

Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 8:41 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Pastor Steve Hickey has taken my advice to get off the abortion horse and expand his political horizons… and how! This morning he’s joining the field of candidates vying to unseat our Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Hickey’s outspokenness and untraditional positions on issues like Native Americans and the Black Hills will bring back some of potential for interesting debate that we lost when Thad Wasson bailed. hickey also brings whiskers back to the race (Steve! Do not shave!). And with a campaign slogan like “Give Congress a Hickey!” how can he lose?

Here’s how: Pastor Hickey and Dr. R. Blake Curd now split the angry conservative and fundagelical vote. Hickey pulls ahead with coherent conservatism as Curd proves himself a Tea Party faker… but then Curd cries “Indian lover!” and scares the hard base away from a candidate who wins praise from a liberal blogger for proposing reparations to Native Americans. The Chamber of Commerce Republicans run for the safety of Secretary of State Chris Nelson.

Final primary vote: Nelson 40%, Curd 31%, Hickey 29%. I want to give Hickey second place, as I think he’ll cream Curd on personality and communication… but I really worry the Native American issue won’t play well among GOP primaryvoters. Republicans, please prove me wrong.

Pastor Hickey, make the most of it. Lead the conversation.

But after June 8, the race gets boring again.

So If Chris Nelson Is Pandering By Wearing A Yarmulke, What About President Obama?

Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Todd Epp
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Obama YarmulkeYarmulkegate is now in its third day, with Badlands Blue issuing a non-apology apology about their original comments about Republican SOS Chris Nelson doning a yarmulke at a menorah lighting ceremony at the state Capitol rotunda.

They also complain about my young Republican friend PP at the War College “outing” their true identities which, it appears, were easy enough to find.

Perhaps I’ll have a future post on anonymous blogging, which I think is about as chicken-caca as anonymous commenting.

But I digress.

The point is that while my Democratic colleagues over at Blue berate Republican Congressional candidate Nelson for “pandering” by wearing a yarmulke at a Jewish religious event, my own beloved Man Crush, President Barack Obama, who I think the world of, is seen above in a photo at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel wearing, um, er, a kippah or yarmulke. US009_MCCAIN

So, was Barack pandering too? I don’t think so. I think he, like Nelson, was showing respect and appreciation for a religion not his own.

(The photo is undated so I don’t know if President Obama was there as a U.S. Senator or before that as a state legislator or whatever.)

Google your favorite national male politician’s name  and yarmulke and you’ll get lots of other similar, bipartisan kippah wearing photos.

And gee, here’s a photo with Republican Presidential candidate John McCain–and a kippah! He must be pandering too!

obama-kah2Then there is this gem–a Jewish Obama supporter came up with an “Obama-kah”–a kippah with the Obama campaign logo on it.

According to the blog Jews for Obama, it was an instant favorite and sold out.

Friends, politics and religion is a dangerous mix. Particularly when South Dakotans who don’ know much about other religions try to make partisan hay out of yarmulkes.

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Herseth-Sandlin Below 50%

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 10:58 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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herseth-1A Public Policy Polling survey of South Dakota was released today, and it contains some disturbing news for Congresswoman Herseth-Sandlin.

When it comes to her reelection next year it appears Herseth Sandlin will have a competitive challenge from Secretary of State Chris Nelson. She leads him at this point by a 46-39 margin, but that’s a close margin given that Nelson is an unknown to 59% of voters in the state. Among voters who do know Nelson 29% have a favorable opinion of him to 12% unfavorable and he leads Herseth Sandlin 49-43. So this race could tighten up as he becomes better known. Herseth Sandlin leads Nelson 76-11 with Democrats and 47-29 with independents and also holds him to a 62-24 advantage with Republicans. In a strongly GOP tilted state she needs every one of those independent and Republican votes that she can get.

The key finding there is that H-S leads Nelson 46-39%.  That spread is worse for the incumbent than it looks.  As PPP points out, very few South Dakotans know who Chris Nelson is; yet he only trails H-S by seven points.  An incumbent member of the House should be ahead of even a well-known challenger by double digits to feel safe.

Moreover, H-S is polling below 50% at this point, meaning she will have to gain support to secure reelection.  The usual pattern in House races is for incumbents to start out ahead and then for the race to tighten a bit in the challenger’s favor.  That’s because the incumbent starts out about as well known as she is going to get.  Barring some bad campaigning by the challenger, the incumbent has no untapped source of support.

Likewise, her approval numbers are weak.

Herseth Sandlin sports approval numbers that are well ahead of the curve in a year when the popularity of politicians has hit unusual lows. 49% of South Dakota voters approve of the job she’s doing to 38% disapproving.

An approval rating of 49% looks pretty weak for an incumbent.  None of this means that Herseth-Sandlin is doomed, but it does mean that she has her work cut out for her.

Why is Herseth-Sandlin weak?  One reason may be that her vote against health care reform has weakened her support among activist Democrats.  See this post by Doug Wiken from the Keloland blog site, and this one by Cory Heidelberger, and this one, and this one also by Cory.  Of course, Cory and his fellow Democratic enthusiasts aren’t really going to run a challenge against H-S, let alone vote Republican next November.  But this sentiment may translate in weaker than usual support during the campaign and decreased turnout in the general election.  As PPP points out, that could spell doom for H-S.

Herseth Sandlin leads Nelson 76-11 with Democrats and 47-29 with independents and also holds him to a 62-24 advantage with Republicans. In a strongly GOP tilted state she needs every one of those independent and Republican votes that she can get.

But the main drag on our lone Congresswoman is the weakness of the Democrats in general and the President in particular among South Dakotans.

52% of voters in the state disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance with just 41% approving. That makes him downright popular compared to Congressional Democrats who get a 60% disapproval rating with only 28% of South Dakotans giving them high marks. And when it comes to the Democratic health care bill that passed the House last month, which Herseth Sandlin prudently voted against, only 25% of voters are supportive with 59% opposed.

This is the Blue Dog dilemma.  Her vote against the health care bill might save her if her support improves among Republicans and independents, as you would expect in a normal year.  But if her support among those groups is weak, the only thing it does is dampen the spirits of her base.

This poll may have a significant effect on the election outcome.  It will surely make it easier for Chris Nelson to raise money in state and out of it.  A lot may change over the next year, but to Republicans the lone South Dakota house seat is now one that looks ripe for the pickin’.