Political fanatics analyze KOTA Poll results on SD race for U.S. - KOTA Territory News

Political fanatics analyze KOTA Poll results on SD race for U.S. Senate

Collectively, Don Frankenfeld (I), Sam Hurst (D) and Harry Christianson (R) have 120 years of experience analyzing campaigns in South Dakota and beyond. While they shared a cup of coffee and pore over our poll results Tuesday, they didn't share the same political affiliations. But they could agree that this election survey is an interesting snapshot of the U.S. Senate race.
"If you did a snapshot of the Kentucky Derby 200 yards after the start, the ultimate winner, California Chrome, was in 5th place.  That's what we're getting today," Frankenfeld said.
His horse is Independent Larry Pressler. At 17 percent, Frankenfeld said there's a ray of hope.
"That makes him a viable candidate.  It makes him a potential player in the contest," he added.
The horse race isn't as much of a safe bet for Democrat Rick Weiland at 30 percent, according to longtime pollster Sam Hurst.
"He needs Pressler to take away from Governor Rounds but if this data is correct, it suggests that Pressler is taking just as many votes away from Weiland as he is from Governor Rounds.  That's not good for Weiland's strategy," Hurst said.
If this is former Governor Mike Rounds' race to lose, Harry Christianson said the poll suggests Rounds is on the right track at 44 percent.
"Unless something terrible happens, he's going to be the next senator from South Dakota," Christianson said.
The reason Christianson can say that with confidence, besides the fact that Rounds has a huge war chest and he was a very popular governor, the poll shows that an overwhelming number of South Dakotans say that health care is the most important issue in deciding their vote for Senate.

And as we've seen in his commercials, opposition to the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is a Rounds' campaign strategy.
"If Weiland is looking for a way to raise his own profile and reduce Governor Rounds' profile, the natural place to go is the Affordable Care Act but he can't go there because people don't support his position," Hurst said.
Another factor playing against Weiland and Pressler, according to Hurst, is that the Tea Party wing of the Republican party has not landed a glove on Rounds.
"Rounds will come out of the primary handily, undamaged," Christianson said.
"So, the whole notion that democrats operated from that he would be beaten up a little bit in the primary, I don't think that shows up in this poll," Hurst said.
While there is no certainty in the numbers, these poll fanatics say the survey could represent a trend as we get closer to the general election in the fall.
"There's reason to think that this is going to be a very interesting horse race before it's over," Frankenfeld said.


There is no democratic primary for the U.S Senate race.

Here's how the GOP's.candidates ranked as far as favor ability among the voters who were polled:
Mike Rounds tops the list at 44 percent. He's followed by Stace Nelson at 16 percent, Annette Bosworth at 11 percent, Larry Rhoden at 9 percent and Jason Ravnsborg at 4 percent.
The KOTA Poll was conducted by SurveyUSA for KOTA Territory News, along with our partners KSFY News in Sioux Falls and the Aberdeen American News. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percent.

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