Posts Tagged ‘Polls’

Post Mortem in the Wee Hours

Posted: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12:25 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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For much of the last year I have been arguing with my friends at Badlands Blue and the Madville Times about the Rasmussen polls on the South Dakota U.S. House race.  They argued that Rasmussen was biased in favor of Republicans, and it appears that they were right.  Rasmussen’s last poll gave Kristi Noem a five point lead.  It looks like Noem’s margin of victory will be a little less than three percent.  I could take refuge in the margin of error, but I prefer to be magnanimous in victory.

I speak here not as a Republican but as a political nerd.  By victory I mean only that I have been predicting a Noem win based on a number of indicators.  Maybe I am biased as well, but I wasn’t wrong.

Why did Noem win?  Over the next several days there will be a lot of post mortems.  It looks to me pretty simple.  Herseth Sandlin did well in all the traditional Democratic strongholds in the state.  Noem surged everywhere else, racking up large margins in county after county.  Two things, I think, explain this.  One is that a lot more South Dakotans can identify with Kristi than with Stephanie.  The second is that the Republican wave that swept across these United States did in fact wash across South Dakota.

At this hour, it looks like the Republicans have bagged at least 57 seats in the House of Representatives.  That gave Orange John Boehner the opportunity to give an acceptance speech.  He choked up a couple of times.  He is going to be Speaker.  A lot of seats are yet to be determined, so it may well go over sixty.  It might not reach the seventies, which last happened in 1938.  It is going to be well over the Republican surge of 1994.  That might be a good thing and it might be a bad one, but it is a thang, as my Southern brethren say, and it’s a big thang.

Republicans fell short of immortal fame in the Senate races, if only because the bar was set so high.  They have bagged six Senate seats, and will probably get two more: Colorado and Alaska.  Harry Reid survived, and that is one of the great heroic stories that Democrats are well-entitled to tell.  However, Mitch McConnell will have forty-one votes when he needs them, and that changes the board.

What astonishes me about this election cycle is how stable it has been.  Fifty plus seats in the House and eight Senate seats is what the wizards have been predicting all year.  The game was fixed as early as summer a year ago.  That is food for thought.

One last Nugget of Nerd’s Candy from the House Race

Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 11:30 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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weather sdThe SD U.S. House race remains the most interesting election in South Dakota, both here and nationally.  My colleague Professor Schaff has done a great job of putting some of the numbers in perspective.  I can’t resist making some final comments.  This is my last post on this race.  No foolin’.

As weather patterns become visible to meteorologists when they create models based on pressure systems and fronts, so voting patterns become visible to political scientists when they build models consisting of voting blocks and population dynamics.

In the U.S., the most important voting blocks are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  The outcome of an election is determined by three factors: 1) the relative size of each voting bloc; 2) the direction each bloc is moving; and 3) how much of each bloc turns out.

While candidates try very hard to influence all three of these factors, they really have only a marginal influence.  A good candidate running a good campaign can change the final outcome only if the forces are in virtual balance.  The only thing that is likely to shift the forces described above in a dramatic way is a scandal serious enough to undermine one of the candidates.

In the South Dakota House race, the first factor is easy to gage.  According to the Secretary of State’s website, voter registration numbers are:

Republican    237, 809

Democrat      194,204

Independent  85,296

That obviously gives the Republican a significant advantage but it also means that independent voters will decide the election.  If the Republican advantage over Democrats holds in the election and if independents split or break Republican, then the Republican will win.  The Democrat can win if independents break strongly enough in her direction.

Of course, some registered Republicans will vote for the Democrat and vice versa.  That is the second factor.  Professor Schaff’s post parses the numbers.  Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is a familiar incumbent and she has clearly done a good job of attracting Republican votes in the past.  According to the Keloland poll (Mason-Dixon) HS is doing a bit better at attracting Republican votes than Noem at attracting Democrats.

It seems likely that the third factor will be most important in determining the outcome here as it has been doing elsewhere.  Polls showing Herseth Sandlin leading all assume that Democratic turnout will be at least as robust this year as in the last two years.  Indeed almost all the difference in the various polls results from differences in estimating this factor.

All year long Republicans have enjoyed two major advantages in state after state.  Republican voters are turning out in large numbers and independent voters are swinging robustly toward the GOP.  This is measured not only in opinion polls but in actual elections and primary elections.  More people voted in Republican primaries this year than in Democratic primaries, something that is unprecedented.

It is possible, to be sure, that South Dakota will buck that trend.  Democrats may turn out in numbers more like those in 2008.  Republicans and independents may not show the pronounced preference for GOP candidates that the polls indicate nationally.

The only real numbers we have to go on suggest something else.  Here are the numbers of new registered voters in each voting bloc since Oct. 1st.

Republican      1,903

Independent   1,497

Democrat            900

These numbers measure two things, both of which are more real than poll samples.  One is people bothering to register to vote.  The other is people bothering to encourage them to register.  A more than two to one advantage for Republicans over Democrats suggests that the national GOP wave is building here as it is elsewhere.  Among recent registered voters, the Democrats have become a third party.

This post on the House race and my last are nerd’s candy.  I don’t know what is going to happen on Tuesday, and neither do you.  I am not a gambling man but, if I were, I’d bet on a Noem victory.  Three days from now we will know whether I would have collected.

Noem Likely

Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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The South Dakota U.S. House race has attracted national attention.  If Herseth Sandlin survives her campaign will serve as a model for relatively conservative Democrats in the vast middle of the country.  If she does not, it will serve as a model for conservative challengers and a challenge to the very idea of the Blue Dog coalition.

The race looks to me the same as it has looked all year long: our incumbent Representative is in trouble.  One indication of this is an ad run on Herseth Sandlin’s behalf by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


This ad has been subject to criticism from both sides of the aisle in South Dakota.  It is certainly over the top, but it was also the most entertaining ad of the season.  With the John Carpenter horror sound track and the “Kristi is on her way to kill your children theme,” what’s not to like?

What I find interesting is the fact that it runs at all.  The SHS campaign has already produced one ad on the issue, and it was a good one.  This is a serious enough issue and you can hardly blame any campaign for exploiting something like this.  Ticket gate is the one issue that gave the SHS campaign some traction.

The trouble is, running a second ad on the topic seems ill-advised.  It dilutes the seriousness of the original point and it looks like a transparent case of milking the one good cow.  To run an ad so over the top looks like a sign of desperation.

The South Dakota House race, like the electorate national (as I have argued recently), has been remarkably stable.  SHS has been stuck below fifty percent all year.  Except for the brief turbulence cased by the eruption of Ticketgate, Kristi Noem has been consistently ahead since she won the nomination.

Rasmussen confirms the trend.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Noem, a state legislator, picking up 49% of the vote, while Herseth-Sandlin draws support from 44%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are still undecided.

Assuming that’s right, Noem has only to pick up two percent from the “prefer another” and undecided voters.  Herseth Sandlin has to win all seven percent.  Undecided voters tend to break for challengers; but even if they don’t, they are unlikely all to break for SHS.

Nate Silver lately of the New York Times, who has been friendlier to Democrats than most poll analysts, gives Noem a 78% chance of taking the seat.

All the indications at our disposal point toward a victory for Kristi Noem.

The Republic makes up its Mind

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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heston mark anthonyAll year long I have heard people say, and have seen people write, that the polls and the electorate have been unusually volatile.  All year long I have thought otherwise.  The patterns that emerged in the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey were manifest in the primary elections through the summer: Republicans turned out to vote in larger numbers than Democrats and independents shifted Republican by a dramatic margin.

I see no evidence that isn’t about to happen in this year’s election.  Consider the recent spirit lifting poll (for Democratic spirits) in Pennsylvania.  Republican Toomey has been leading Democrat Sestak for some time.  Three recent polls had Toomey ahead by margins between seven and ten points.  Then along comes the PPP poll to show Sestak ahead by one point.  Is Sestak coming back again as he did against Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter?  The Democratically affiliated poll assumes that Democrats will turn out in larger numbers relative to Republicans than they did in 2006 and 2008, two big Democratic years.  There is no earthly reason to expect that that will be true.  PPP looks to be trying to cook the books for Sestak, perhaps to generate some enthusiasm among Democratic voters.  Good luck with that.

Then there is the news from Nevada, where early voting has begun.  From the Politico:

Early-voting numbers out of Nevada’s two biggest counties could spell trouble for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his tough contest against Republican Sharron Angle.

In Reno’s Washoe County and Las Vegas’s Clark County, Republican turnout was disproportionately high over the first three voting days, according to local election officials. The two counties together make up 86 percent of the state’s voter population.

Some 47 percent of early voters in the bellwether Washoe County so far have been Republicans, while 40 percent have been Democrats, according to the Washoe County Registrar…  Voter registration in the county is evenly split, 39 percent to 39 percent. The disproportionate turnout is a concrete indication of the Republican enthusiasm that is expected to portend a nationwide GOP wave.

That is indeed bad news for Senate Majority Leader Reid and bad news for Democrats across the board.

President Obama has a theory about all of this.  He thinks the voters are angry because they’re scared, and they’re scared because of the difficult economy.  Again from the Politico:

President Barack Obama said Americans’ “fear and frustration” is to blame for an intense midterm election cycle that threatens to derail the Democratic agenda.

“Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared,” Obama said Saturday evening in remarks at a small Democratic fundraiser Saturday evening. “And the country’s scared.”

President Obama thinks the voters (that’s us) are behaving irrationally.  If only we were guided by “facts and science and argument,” and were thinking clearly, we’d all be voting the way he would have us vote.  He is not unique in this thought.  Newsman Peter Jennings famously said after the 1994 election that Americans had a temper tantrum.  Only people who have gone nuts vote Republican.

Maybe.  But when the masses behave irrationally, under the influence of popular passion, their behavior is usually rather jumpy, isn’t it?  See Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  You can turn ‘em with a good Mark Anthony speech.

The President has been trying to pull a Mark Anthony since last summer, but his Shakespearean oratory just seems to bounce off the electorate.  Could it be that the voters aren’t out of control and off their nut after all?  Might it be that the people have just made up their collective mind?  Might it be that they made up their minds as early as last year, when Congress and the President were hammering the rough, angular edges of their health care bill through the round opening of legislative procedure?

This is what a Republican form of government looks like.  Welcome to the majors, Mr. Obama.

Blame the People

Posted: Friday, September 3, 2010 at 11:06 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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rabbleWho is to blame?  That is a persistent question in politics, and it becomes more persistent when things don’t seem to be going your way.  The President and Congress have been extraordinarily bold.  The New York Times has done everything in its power back up their play.  And yet…it looks like the voters are about to cancel their subscription.  While some enlightened organs of thought, like the New Yorker, see sinister cabals at work behind the scenes, the Times and Eugene Robinson have the courage to put the blame squarely where it belongs.  The people are to blame.  The people have let their heroes down.

We have been told that New Yorkers were more sympathetic to the building of a Mosque, pardon me, an Islamic Center, near ground zero.  So the NYT commissioned a poll and found that, well, they aren’t, exactly.  The Times Editorial tells the disappointing story.

A full 72 percent agreed that people had every right to build a “house of worship” near the site. But only 62 percent acknowledged that right when “house of worship” was changed to “mosque and Islamic community center.” Sixty-seven percent thought the mosque planners should find “a less controversial location.”

One may disagree with the majority of New Yorkers here, but this is surely a reasonable position.  Yes, the Constitution protects the right of Muslims to free exercise.  No, this isn’t the best place to put your mosque.  The Times doesn’t merely disagree, they think the majority is retarded.

As the site of America’s bloodiest terrorist attack, New York had a great chance to lead by example. Too bad other places are ahead of us. Muslims hold daily prayer services in a chapel in the Pentagon, a place also hallowed by 9/11 dead. The country often has had the wisdom to choose graciousness and reconciliation over triumphalism, as is plain from the many monuments to Confederate soldiers in northern states, including the battlefield at Gettysburg.  New Yorkers, like other Americans, have a way to go.

New Yorkers and Americans in general have a long way to go to be as evolved and enlightened as the editors of the New York Times.  If we were that evolved, apparently, we would have to build a monument to the terrorist who died in those airplanes.  That’s going to take a lot of evolution on our part.

Eugene Robinson is also disappointed with Americans.

In the punditry business, it’s considered bad form to question the essential wisdom of the American people. But at this point, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious: The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.

Robinson admits, correctly, that both parties promise painless solutions to our problems.  But he thinks that we are being spoiled brats because we are holding the current bunch of office holders to account.  He thinks that the solutions to the problems facing the economy, including the astronomically rising public debt and the insolvency of our entitlement programs, will take time to work and therefore require patience on the part of the electorate.  Fair enough.

Ought we not, then, at least demand that the party in power present a plan for solving these problems?  What is the Democrat’s plan for bringing the budget into balance?  What is their plan for putting Social Security and Medicare on a sound financial footing?  Right now, we are running deficits of a trillion or more a year, just as these programs go into the red.  That’s not what happens if Obama’s plan fails.  That’s his plan.

The New York Times and Eugene Robinson are right.  The people, spoilt and retrograde as they are, just aren’t getting with the program.

Is Noem Really Ahead? Yes.

Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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rasmussenBadlands Blue has produced another counter-spell to ward off the black magic of the Rasmussen poll.  Writing for BB, Badlands Blue Liberal wants desperately to dismiss the Rasmussen poll, for the obvious reason that he/she doesn’t like the result.

Having had direct experience in public opinion survey work drafting and interpreting professional polls for commercial, political, government and non-profit clients throughout the nation, I take great issue with Rasmussen. Rasmussen uses automated operators, not real people. That’s a major problem.

The statement (lacking either argument or evidence) is that “robopolls,” using automated voice-response systems, are unreliable.  Are they?

It’s a good question, since polling is so important a part of election coverage.  Two methods of polling are prominent.  The American Association for Public Opinion Research did a study of 2008 primary polls.

In the case of the pre-primary and caucus polls we analyzed, only two modes of data collection were used: 1) telephone interviews using a human interviewer in combination with a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system, and 2) telephone interviews using an interactive voice recognition (IVR) system in which digitally recorded questions were answered using a touch-tone phone.

That’s a good test, isn’t it?  A lot of polling was done in a lot of states, trying to predict who would win the various primaries.  All involved either a human interviewer with a computer making the calls (CATI), or a computer doing all the work (IVR).  Here’s what the AAPOR found, or more accurately didn’t find:

We found no evidence that one approach consistently out-performed the other – that is, the polls using CATI or IVR were about equally accurate [page 28].


The use of either computerized telephone interviewing (CATI) techniques or interactive voice response (IVR) techniques made no difference to the accuracy of estimates [page 75].

So in the 2008 primaries, robopolls were as accurate as polls using a human interviewer.  Until contrary evidence surfaces, there is no reason to discount Rasmussen’s robopolls.

Of course, the real test for Rasmussen is whether his polls have been accurate in past elections.  I addressed that question in a previous post and showed that Rasmussen has been very accurate this year.  I pointed out in a more recent post that Rasmussen himself defended his accuracy with regard to South Dakota, and did so successfully.  So far, Rasmussen is at the top in his record of accuracy.

Of course, BBL isn’t really into accuracy; he/she is in denial.  Consider this gem:

Stephanie’s name identification is, authentically, over 90 percent among most-likely voters in South Dakota. How does [Kristi Noem,] a little-known first time statewide candidate from a small town and a rural district compete with 90 percent name ID overnight?

Well, maybe she wins the GOP primary in a state that is about two thirds Republican, in a year when Republican enthusiasm is off the charts.  That primary win put her on all the newspapers, radio news, and television news across the state.  The fact that she actually defeated a much better known Republican, Secretary of State Chris Nelson, is proof enough that Kristi has something that beats name recognition.

Is it so hard to believe that a candidate can come from virtual obscurity in a short time and go on to defeat universally known candidates, first in a series of state primaries, and then in a national election?  Barack Obama did it.  I am not saying that Kristi Noem is a Barack Obama.  I am saying that it is obvious that an unknown candidate can break into the big time relatively quickly in American elections.  Maybe that’s a good thing and maybe not.  It is obviously true.

I am not making any case for Kristi Noem as a candidate.  Maybe she is a good choice for South Dakota, and maybe not.  Whether political trends please me or not, I like to know what is really going on.  Noem really is poised to win South Dakota’s at large House seat.  The party that cannot field a candidate in the Senate election should not be too surprised.

Noem Reads Poll Trend Upside Down

Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 at 6:30 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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…I wonder if she also tells her clients that premium increases are refunds…

Call Kristi Noem Little Miss Sunshine: she sure knows how to turn a frown upside down! Or in this case, poll numbers.

The Republican candidate for South Dakota’s lone U.S. House seat toots to her supporters that she’s up-up-up! on the Talking Points Memo PollTracker.

Of course, if you look at the actual TPM data, you’ll see Noem’s interpretation has no validity whatsoever. Noem’s “trend” requires including pre-primary polls, back when she was just one of three pretty faces on the Republican ballot. To suggest that you can compare polls conducted when the GOP had three choices with polls conducted when they have one candidate around whom to rally stretches credibility.

So, let’s throw out the old oranges and just compare apples to fresh apples, shall we?

The only reasonably comparable data we have available are the two well-reported post-primary Rasmussen polls. Travis and I maintain our doubts about the polls, but if Noem wants to cite them, let’s see what she has to work with. In June, Noem enjoyed an immediate primary victory bump and outpolled incumbent Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin 53–41. Last week, Noem’s lead dropped to 49–44, just outside the margin of error.

Two data points do not a trend make… but if Noem wants to talk trend, the only one I see is down for Noem, up for SHS (oh! and up for “Some other candidate“, too, as 15 more people out of the 500 lucky Rasmussen robocall receivers decided they don’t want either of the top gals).

And I would think an insurance agent would be better at math than that….

…not to mention better at proofreading her business’s Facebook page.

Rasmussen Reliability & Wishful Thinking

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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My friend A.I. bad mouthed the Rasmussen poll in a recent comment, something I noticed because my friends at Badlands Blue and Madville Times recently did the same.  Here is A.I.’s comment:

Does this mean you will stop quoting Rasmussen, create-a-positive-Republican-narrative, robo-call polls as though they are worth more than a pitcher of warm spit?

Here’s Travis at BB:

Rasmussen’s not credible for a couple of reasons. Most notably, he worked for George W. Bush and the Republican National Committee.  He’ll also be joining Karl Rove and other conservative big shots as a featured speaker for a National Review post-election cruise in November.  So, it’s not surprising that after a thorough analysis of a number of Rasmussen’s polls, Nate Silver at  finds that Rasmussen’s “polls have tended to show substantially more favorable results for Republican candidates” than other surveys.

Here’s how it works…In order to publish as many “polls” as possible that show Republicans in the lead, and therefore convince the electorate that the Democrat doesn’t stand a chance (credit to the Daily Kos for that analysis), Rasmussen does them on the cheap.

That’s an ad hominem, followed by an unsupported accusation involving a contradiction.  Lots of professional and respected pollsters have party affiliations, and anyway you can’t discredit a poll by telling us the pollster is biased.  You have to show the poll was biased.  And surely the Daily KOS is just as biased as Scott Rasmussen, so how can that site confirm Travis’s accusation?

To be sure robopolls are controversial, but it isn’t at all clear why they are unreliable.  Are people less likely to answer recorded questions?  Are they more or less likely to fudge when talking to a real human being?

Let’s do what Travis did not, and take a look at recent elections and Rasmussen’s record.


Final Rasmussen Poll

Actual Results

Mass. Senate Brown Coakley 47% 49 52% 47
New Jersey Gov Christie Corzine 46 43 49% 45
Virginia Gov McDonnell Deeds 54 41 59 41
2008 Pres McCain Obama 46 52 46 53

In the Massachusetts special election, Rasmussen’s last poll still showed a Coakley lead.  However, the difference between that one and previous R polls clearly showed a strong surge for Brown.  R underestimated the surge by bit with a week to go.  In the case of the New Jersey Governor’s race Rasmussen gets it about right (a three point win for Christie) while overestimating, perhaps, the third party candidate.  Rasmussen’s last poll in Virginia is a bit low on McDonnell’s final tally, but right on Deeds’ number.

In all three cases, Rasmussen’s polls were about as accurate as good polls tend to be.  Only Survey USA, I think, did consistently better.  In none of these polls did Rasmussen exaggerate Republican support or the gap between the winning Republican and the losing Democrat.  The same is true of the 2008 President election, which Rasmussen nailed.

In short, Rasmussen looks to be a very reliable poll in recent elections, and there is no evidence at all in these cases of a Republican bias.  But I can see why A.I., Cory Heidelberger, and Travis Dahle all want to believe that the R polls are unbelievable.  Rasmussen has Daugaard leading Heidepriem 52% to 36%.  We won’t know how accurate this polling is until we can compare the last R poll with November’s result, but gentlemen: isn’t this what South Dakota gubernatorial elections look like?

2006 2002 1998 1994 1990 1986 1982 1978 1974
Rep 62 57 64 55 59 52 71 57 46
Dem 36 42 33 41 41 48 29 43 54

R’s 52/36 fits comfortably into that series.  If anything, Daugaard’s advantage looks a bit low in comparison.  South Dakota Democrats haven’t won the state house since 1974.  If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on it happening this year.

Finally, there is Rasmussen’s post-primary polling showing Kristi Noem leading Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin 53% to 41%.  That twelve point lead looks surprising to me, even as a post victory bounce.  It is hardly outside the range of probability.  We live in a largely Republican state.  All the polls, even the “legitimate ones,” Travis, are showing a strong advantage in enthusiasm among Republicans.  I can’t help but point out that, not too long ago, my friend Mr. Heidelberger was rooting for a Democratic challenge to H-S.

Moreover, other polls show a dramatic shift in support to the GOP, especially among independents.  Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, whom Travis cites approvingly, backs up the NPR poll.

A new poll from Public Opinion Strategies and GQR for NPR, which shows Democrats performing badly in vulnerable House seats, is making a lot of waves this morning. It certainly contains bad news for Democrats — however — it is the same bad news that was already implied by generic ballot polling.

So far as I can tell, Herseth-Sandlin’s seat has been considered vulnerable by most analysts all year.  And then there is the recent Gallup poll showing independent voters favoring Republican candidates by a good ten percent.  Considered together with the enthusiasm gap and the Republican advantage in South Dakota, Rasmussen’s last House Race poll was hardly unbelievable.

I am not making any predictions here.  My only point is that Scott Rasmussen has a good record and his current polling in South Dakota is supported by a lot of additional evidence.  I can understand why my friends on the other side of the aisle want to believe otherwise.

Nelson, Noem, Curd — Who’s Best for House?

Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 5:42 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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New Madville Times poll! After your great enthusiasm for the GOP gubernatorial poll, it’s time for a GOP House poll: “Which Republican is best qualified to represent South Dakota in Congress?

Once again, I’m not asking which one will win in June. I’m also not asking which one you’ll vote for in June or November. Even if you’re a Herseth or Marking voter, I’d like your assessment of the qualifications of the three Republican candidates for South Dakota’s lone House seat. Chris Nelson, Kristi Noem, or R. Blake Curd—which one’s best qualified to represent our fair state in Washington?

Vote in the poll in the right sidebar at this address, then leave your comments below. Voting ends Saturday night, so click now!

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.