John Thune is the strong choice of South Dakota Republicans to be their nominee for President next year. 37% say he would be their top pick to 12% for Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, 11% for Mike Huckabee, 10% for Newt Gingrich, 5% for Ron Paul, 2% for Tim Pawlenty, and 1% for Mitch Daniels.
Thune's performance in his home state may seem unremarkable- you would expect a native son candidate to do well. This is actually more the exception than the rule in PPP's 2012 Republican polling though. Mitt Romney does very well in Massachusetts, polling at 47%. But beyond that Tim Pawlenty gets just 24% in Minnesota, Jim DeMint 24% in South Carolina, Sarah Palin 15% in Alaska, Rick Santorum 11% in Pennsylvania, and Rick Perry 9% in Texas. There was a little discussion last week about the possibility of native son candidates returning to the nomination picture in 2012, but in most of the states we've polled Republicans don't seem real interested in supporting their home state candidates.
South Dakota's not going to be terribly relevant to either the Republican nomination process or the general election next year but it seems to me that a good first test for whether you're going to be viable at the Presidential level is whether your current constituents like you and on that front Thune fares a lot better than most of the rest of the GOP potentials.
If you take Thune out of the picture in South Dakota Sarah Palin nabs a rare first place finish, albeit by the smallest of margins. She gets 21% to 19% for Huckabee, 17% for Romney, 12% for Gingrich, 7% for Paul, 5% for Pawlenty, and 1% for Daniels. The most noteworthy thing there might be Pawlenty's low level of support- you would expect him to do better in a neighboring state.
Full results here