Governing doesn't think anyone watched Rep. Susan Wismer at the Dakotafest debate and said yesterday that Governor Dennis Daugaard will cruise to victory in November. The new Survey USA poll commissioned by KSFY, KOTA, and AAN agrees, pegging Daugaard at a steady 54% and Wismer at a rising but distant 34%. The comparable May poll put the split at 56–23.

But Survey USA also reinforces conclusions offered by Nielson Brothers Polling in August: even if Wismer can't catch Daugaard, voters will overwhelmingly approve Initiated Measure 18, the proposal launched by Democrats to increase South Dakota's minimum wage to $8.50. Both Nielson and Survey USA find majority support for the wage hike; where Nielson put the split at 52–28, Survey USA finds the split at 61–22, an insurmountable 39-point gap.

Those numbers point Wismer toward one clear path toward breaking 40%: find those IM 18 supporters and remind them that she's on their side and Governor Daugaard isn't. The Democratic Party's whole strategic point in placing IM 18 and other measures on the ballot (aside from promoting the general welfare) is to give Democratic candidates coattail issues that resist personal attacks and resonate with core South Dakota values. Get on those coattails, Rep. Wismer!