Wednesday, February 2, 2011

South Dakota Miscellany

-Stephanie Herseth Sandlin may be the poster child for how thoroughly nationalized last year's House races got, with how voters felt about the candidates themselves taking a back seat to how they generally felt about the direction of the country. 55% of South Dakota voters have a favorable opinion of her to only 36% with a negative one. That puts her in about the 90th percentile of popularity for all the politicians we poll on. And she lost anyway.

Herseth Sandlin would be viable in a hypothetical rematch against Kristi Noem. She leads 46-45, including a 52-31 advantage with independents. Herseth Sandlin only lost by a couple points last year so her polling three points better on the margin now than she did in November seems pretty consistent with the national shift toward the Democrats over the last three months.

Noem's only been in office for a month so it's no surprise that voters don't have really strong opinions about her performance so far- 38% think she's doing a good job, 35% a bad one, and 27% have no opinion.

-Tim Johnson has pretty solid approval numbers with 47% of voters approving of him and 41% disapproving. The Democratic base is pretty unified in their approval of him, he's very popular with independents at a 54/34 spread, and 21% of Republicans think he's doing a good job which is at least a little bit ahead of the national curve when it comes to crossover popularity. He's not nearly as popular as Herseth Sandlin though so it's a pretty darn good thing for Democrats that he wasn't up for reelection last year and isn't next.

-Tom Daschle and George McGovern may have both seen their careers in elected office end in defeat at the ballot box in South Dakota, but with the passage of time the state's voters look back favorably on both of them. 49% have a favorable opinion of Daschle to 41% with a negative one and 42% give McGovern positive reviews to 29% who have an unfavorable opinion of him. Both are pretty universally well liked by the Democratic base and have very solid numbers with independents, but only 19% each are rated favorably by Republicans and in a strongly GOP leaning state that lack of crossover appeal is why they eventually lost their Senate seats.

-Finally, new Governor Dennis Daugaard starts out his tenure with decent numbers at 43% approving and 33% disapproving.

Full results here

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