None of the candidates on either side are particularly well known at this point, but Republicans start out favored to keep the Governorship of South Dakota next year.
Nobody running has even 50% name recognition with the state's voters. Ken Knuppe is the most obscure with 82% of voters professing no opinion about him. He is followed by Scott Munsterman at 78%, Dave Knudson at 72%, Dennis Daugaard at 67%, and Scott Heidepreim at 57%.
All four of the Republicans lead the Democrat Heidepreim by margins ranging from 2-13 points. Starting out in the best position is Daugaard with a 42-29 lead. Knudson does next best at 39-29, followed by Munsterman at 35-30 and and Knuppe at 32-30.
Perhaps helping the cause of all the Republicans is the fact that Mike Rounds remains very popular. 55% of voters in the state approve of his job performance to just 32% disapproving, a strong performance in a time when many Governors are seeing their approval ratings deteriorate. Out of 23 Governors whose approval ratings PPP has looked at this year Rounds ranks in a tie for second in popularity with Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, behind only Mike Beebe of Arkansas. Having a well liked outgoing Republican incumbent should help the party's prospects for keeping the office.
Given the relative anonymity of the candidates at this point a lot could change as they become better known, but in a Republican state in a Republican year this office will probably stay in Republican hands.
Full results here