This is intriguing. Republican candidates for the Big Three offices — governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House — are holding a bigger share of support from their party’s members, than the Democratic candidates are from their members, according to the SurveyUSA polling results released this week.
The poll, performed for the Aberdeen American News, KOTA TV and KSFY TV, was the first independent look at where the candidates stood among the likely voters in South Dakota two months before the Nov. 4 elections.
The telephone poll depends on people saying whether they are likely to vote. And it depends on people self-identifying their party registration. The poll wound up with a sample split 50 percent for Republicans, 33 percent for Democrats and 16 percent for independents.
And with Republicans outnumbering Democrats in the latest monthly totals 238,791 to 175,178, and independents as the third major group at 99,509, it’s no wonder that Republican candidates were the frontrunners in the poll.
But the loose bolt for the Democrats was the weaker support they had among their own side.
For governor, Republican incumbent Dennis Daugaard had 78 percent of the Republicans and 23 percent of the Democrats, while Democratic state Rep. Susan Wismer had 65 percent of the Democrats and 13 percent of the Republicans. The third candidate, independent Mike Myers, had 6 percent of Republicans and 5 percent of Democrats.
For U.S. Senate, Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds had 61 percent of the Republicans and 10 percent of the Democrats, while Democratic candidate Rick Weiland had 56 percent of the Democrats and 11 percent of the Republicans.
There are two other candidates, both former Republicans running this time as independents for U.S. Senate. One is former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler who had 21 percent of the Republicans — and 29 percent of the Democrats. The other is former legislator Gordon Howie, who had 4 percent of the Republicans and 1 percent of the Democrats.
Only 3 percent of the Republicans and 4 percent of the Democrats were undecided in the Senate contest.
For U.S. House, Republican incumbent Kristi Noem had 83 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of the Democrats, while Democratic challenger Corinna Robinson had 78 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of the Republicans.
In the contests for governor and U.S. House, the Republican candidate has a larger share of the Democratic vote than the Democratic candidate has of the Republican vote. In the U.S. Senate contest, it’s essentially a draw with Weiland slightly better — but with Pressler the wild card as the former Republican drew more Democratic support than Republican.
So Republicans are ahead or tied on the crossovers as well as holding their own party’s voters.
Where are the independents? In two of the contests, they are foremost for Republicans.
For governor, they are 41 percent for Daugaard, 36 percent for Wismer and 8 percent for Myers, with 15 percent undecided.
For U.S. Senate, they are 34 percent for Rounds, 24 percent for Weiland, 31 percent for Pressler and 1 percent for Howie, with 10 percent undecided.
For U.S. House, they are 41 percent for Noem, 44 percent for Robinson and 16 percent undecided.
Overall, the survey indicates Republicans lead all three contests by fair to big margins, with undecideds all in the single digits and already pretty small to play much of a role in the remaining seven weeks.
In the governor’s race, Daugaard was at 54 percent, Wismer 34 percent, Myers 6 percent and 7 percent undecided.
In the U.S. Senate race, Rounds was at 39 percent, Weiland 28 percent, Pressler 25 percent, Howie 3 percent and undecided 5 percent.
In the U.S. House race, Noem was at 53 percent, Robinson 40 percent and undecided 6 percent.
The strangest thing of all? Rick Weiland has worked the hardest among the three Democratic candidates and has spent the most money on advertising — and he’s faring the worst. But Susan Wismer and Corinna Robinson don’t have to contend in their races with Larry Pressler, who has certainly turned the U.S. Senate contest into a three-way race.