Nielson Brothers Polling finds Governor Dennis Daugaard gets high marks from a majority of South Dakotas:
NBP finds that 23% of South Dakota voters strongly approve and another 37% somewhat approve of Governor Daugaard's job performance. Among the 40% that disapprove, 17% somewhat disapprove and 23% strongly disapprove.
Republicans are more likely to approve of the governor's performance than either Democrats or Independents. 67% of Republicans approve (33% strongly/34% somewhat) compared to 54% of Democrats (11% strongly/43% somewhat) and 53% of Independents (24% strongly/29% somewhat) [Nielson Brothers Polling press release, 2011.09.11].
These approval numbers don't appear to square with South Dakotans' impression of how things are going:
Despite relatively high approval ratings for Governor Daugaard, South Dakotans show less certainty about the state's direction. Only 27 % of respondents say South Dakota is headed in the right direction, while 31% think it is going in the wrong direction, and another 42% are undecided [NBP, 2011.09.11].
60% of South Dakotans say the governor is doing a good-enough job, but 73% can't bring themselves to say South Dakota is headed in the right direction. How can we square those numbers?
- Perhaps South Dakotans don't think the governor has much to do with the direction the state is taking.
- Perhaps South Dakotans find it easier to blame President Obama than Governor Daugaard for their problems.
- Perhaps we're just too polite to say bad things about one man's job performance.
- Perhaps a majority of South Dakotans just aren't making the connection between declining public services and infrastructure and the austerity budget from Pierre.
- Perhaps South Dakotans are generous souls who are giving Governor Daugaard a full year honeymoon. We'll be able to test that possibility after we see the governor's 2012 legislative agenda.