Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Palin, Thune numbers interesting in South Dakota

There are two interesting story lines for next year's Presidential race in South Dakota: it's one of the few states we've polled that responds positively to a home state candidate and despite the fact that a Democrat hasn't won it in a Presidential contest since 1964 Barack Obama leads Sarah Palin by 8 points there.

John McCain took the state by 8 points in 2008 and if Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee next year they'd win by margins similar to that. Huckabee leads Obama 47-41 and Romney has an identical 6 point advantage at a 46-40 spread.

If the GOP went with Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin as its nominee Obama's prospects for picking up the state would improve dramatically. Against Gingrich he holds a slight lead at 44-42 and pitted against Palin that increases to a somewhat remarkable 48-40.

The one potential candidate who would completely blow Obama out of the water is John Thune. He leads the President by 20 points in a hypothetical contest, 57-37. Thune is the first of the potential Republican candidates we've polled who's really done well in their home state. Tim Pawlenty trails Obama in Minnesota by a wider margin than Romney does. Rick Perry ties Obama in Texas even as the rest of the Republican candidates lead him. Chris Christie is down double digits in New Jersey and doesn't do any better than Romney or Huckabee. We haven't tested any head to heads in Alaska but voters there hate Sarah Palin now. Mitt Romney does better than the other Republicans in Masschusetts but still trails by a wide margin and Rick Santorum can't even finish in the top four for a primary contest in Pennsylvania. So South Dakota's strong support of a Thune run is more the exception than the rule in our 2012 polling to date.

Thune's strong showing is no surprise given that he's one of the most popular Senators in the country. His home state approval rating is 58% with only 31% of voters disapproving of him. He has near universal support from within his own party but he also gets good marks for his job performance from a third of Democrats, far more support than most folks in his position across the country get from across the aisle.

Obama's slightly unpopular in the state with 42% of voters approving of him and 49% disapproving. He's ahead of both Gingrich and Palin though because they're more unpopular than that. Gingrich's favorability is a 31/43 spread and Palin's is even worse at 37/55. Voters there are positive toward Huckabee, with 40% rating him favorably to 30% with a negative opinion, and a small plurality like Romney as well- 35% favorable, 34% unfavorable.

In the last two weeks we've found Palin up 1 point in Texas, up 1 point in Nebraska, and down 8 points in South Dakota. What those numbers indicate is that she would only really be safe in states that Republicans won by at least 20 points in 2008. And there weren't very many of those. It's becoming clearer and clearer that a Palin nomination would be Goldwater redux for the GOP. They need a new face and it will be interesting to see if John Thune gets in whether voters other places will respond as positively to him as those in South Dakota too. One thing's for sure: his home state support is at least one thing that differentiates him out of the gate from the other Republicans seriously considering the race.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

What this tells me is that if the GOP nominates Palin, the Democrats will regain the House.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't surprise me if Thune were to run. Normally, when a candidate runs unopposed it just means there's no major party opponent, but in 2008 Thune was literally the only candidate on the ballot. Yet even though he clinched victory several months before election day, he continued to fundraise. Either he keeps that extra money for a potential presidential bid or he donates it to other Republicans because being a campaign rainmaker tends to help one's presidential aspirations as well.

The Republicans have always fared best when they promoted young telegenic vassals with impeccable image control and the ability to conceal their ultraconservative sympathies and backers.

Anonymous said...

When are you planning to release SC General and AZ numbers ?

Any other states this week besides NE, SD, SC and AZ ?

Jonny V said...

Here's hoping Thune doesn't gain any momentum... I don't know much about him but he's very pretty (he looks presidential) and having such great results in his home state is a sign he's a pretty good politician.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting numbers: if the GOP cares about winning it seems they either have to go with Mitch Daniels or Thune. Almost everyone else is DOA with the general electorate. Keep up the good work guys; glad you do this stuff for free, along with your paid work!

Dustin Ingalls said...

"The Republicans have always fared best when they promoted young telegenic vassals with impeccable image control and the ability to conceal their ultraconservative sympathies and backers."

When in recent memory has that been the case at the presidential level? Bush would be the closest thing, but he doesn't fit that description to a T.

"When are you planning to release SC General and AZ numbers ?

Any other states this week besides NE, SD, SC and AZ ?"

How about you hold your horses and wait and see.

Smooth Jazz said...

Oh terrific. Another DailyKOS poll on former Gov Palin. Isn't that wonderful. Once again, your polls are believable ONLY to the Kool Aid drinkers comprise the Liberal cheering section.

Once another, more independent pollster (ie not affialiated with Palin Hater DailyKOS), confirms your numbers, more people, including Repubs, will take you guys more seriously.

The Interesting Times said...

Did the poll the 2012 Presidential primary itself in South Dakota?

Anonymous said...

The GOP is finished for two decades if Palin wins.

We lose the presidency. We lose a chance at the Senate.

And we lose the House.

Sarah Palin's support is dropping like a stone.

Fewer people like her. But the intensity of her small band of believers is growing with every snarky comment she makes.

Unknown said...

Smooth, until then this is what you have. Many independents don't like Palin and there are some Republicans who like her poking the Democrats but don't want her as the nominee.

Anonymous said...

Smooth Jazz,
Let's take a look at the national Obama/Palin polls.

(McClatchy-Marist) Obama +26
NBC: Obama +22
PPP: Obama +17

So PPP is conservative in this case!

NRH said...

What did the supervillain say when the Republican Senator from South Dakota offended him?

"Thune, I will have my revenge!"

Dustin Ingalls said...

"So PPP is conservative in this case!"

According to Nate Silver, we had the least partisan bias in our final 2010 polls of any pollster, but the slight bias we had was actually toward Republicans, so we slightly underestimated the ultimate Democratic support overall.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you poll Ron Paul in South Dakota? He did very well there in the last GOP primary. He does well in prairie and mountain states, altogether.

Anonymous said...

SO, Sarah Palin will lose to Obama by 8 points in South Dakota? Sure. If you believe that then I have some ocean front property in the Badlands to sell you.

Clark Whitney said...

Thune fans please check out my blog over at thune2012.blogspot.com for the latest Thune 2012 news.. Thanks!

vp said...

Thune's vote for TARP could be a big problem in the primaries.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Why didn't you poll Ron Paul in South Dakota?"

We always only poll these four against Obama, plus any home-state candidates that may be thinking of running.

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