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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Republicans on Top

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monmouth University Poll finds likely GOP statewide sweep

The Monmouth University Poll finds that Republicans hold double digit leads in the South Dakota races for Governor, Senate and House.  The poll results suggest that independent Larry Pressler may be taking support away from the Democrat in the Senate race, but perhaps not enough to be the deciding factor.

In the upcoming election for South Dakota's open U.S. Senate seat, former governor Mike Rounds has the support of 45% of likely voters while Democrat Rick Weiland has 31%.   Independent candidate Larry Pressler has 19% of the vote.  Pressler previously held this seat as a Republican from 1978 until he was defeated by Tim Johnson in 1996.  Johnson chose not run for re-election this year.  The other independent candidate in this race, Gordon Howie, has 1% of the vote and another 4% of likely voters are undecided.

Weiland has complained that outside groups' attacks against Rounds may actually be helping Pressler more than the Democrat.  The Monmouth University Poll  finds that Pressler seems to be pulling more support from Weiland.  Pressler supporters were asked who they would support if their preferred candidate was not on the ballot.  When these results are combined with the initial support levels for the other candidates, Rounds would still lead Weiland, although by a smaller 48% to 40% margin, in this hypothetical head-to-head contest.

"There was some buzz earlier in the month that South Dakota's Senate seat may be back on the toss-up board.  It looks like that was a false alarm," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

The major party candidates get strong support from their partisan bases, but independent voters are evenly divided.  Three-fourths (77%) of Republicans support Rounds, 14% support Pressler and 6% support Weiland.  A similar majority of Democrats (72%) support Weiland, 16% support Pressler, and 9% support Rounds.  Independents split almost evenly, 31% for Pressler, 31% for Weiland and 28% for Rounds.  When asked which U.S. Senate candidate they find honest and trustworthy, 29% say Rounds, 22% say Weiland, 15% say Pressler, 12% say all of them, and 14% say none of them.

The poll also finds the GOP nominees hold significant leads in the races for Governor and U.S. House.  In the governor's race, incumbent Dennis Daugaard leads Democratic challenger Susan Wismer 68% to 29%.  For South Dakota's at-large Congressional seat, two-term incumbent Kristi Noem leads Democratic challenger Corinna Robinson 61% to 34%.

South Dakota voters prefer to see the Republicans (44%) rather than the Democrats (29%) in control of the U.S. Senate, while 26% say it makes no difference to them.  These voters hold a negative opinion of Barack Obama, with just 36% who approve of the job he is doing as president and 57% who disapprove.

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone from October 24 to 27, 2014 with 429 South Dakota voters likely to vote in the November general election.   This sample has a margin of error of   ±  4.7 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.      If the election for U.S. Senate was today, would you vote for Mike Rounds the Republican or Rick Weiland the Democrat, or Larry Pressler the independent, or Gordon Howie the independent? [ROUNDS, WEILAND, & PRESSLER WERE ROTATED]    [IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following at this moment, do you lean more toward Mike Rounds or more toward Rick Weiland or more towards Larry Pressler?]

[The following question was asked only of Pressler voters.]

2.      If you had to vote for one of the following at this moment, do you lean more toward Mike Rounds or more toward Rick Weiland? [Results below include other candidate support from Question 1]

3.      If the election for Governor was today, would you vote for Dennis Daugaard, the Republican, Susan Wismer, the Democrat, or Michael Myers the independent? [DAUGAARD & WISMER WERE ROTATED]    [IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following at this moment, do you lean more toward Dennis Daugaard or Susan Wismer?]

4.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?

5.      Which party would you like to see control the U.S. Senate – the Republicans or the Democrats, or would it make no difference?

6.      Which candidate for Senate is honest and trustworthy – Mike Rounds, Rick Weiland, Larry Pressler, all of them, or none of them?

7.      Finally, if the election for U.S. House of Representatives was today, would you vote for Kristi Noem the Republican or Corinna Robinson the Democrat? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]    


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from October 24 to 27, 2014 with a statewide random sample of 429 likely South Dakota voters drawn from a list of registered voters who voted in at least one of the last four general or primary elections and indicate they are likely to vote in the upcoming election. This includes 343 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 86 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, gender, and party registration based on state registration list information on the pool of voters who participated in recent midterm elections. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and L2 and Aristotle (voter list).  For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points. Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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- Monmouth University Polling Institute