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Poll: Optimistic Undecideds Dig Huether, May Break Yes on SF Event Center

Last updated on 2011.11.07

Mr. Ehrisman mentions the latest poll results from Nielson Brothers Polling, noting Mayor Mike Huether's 62% approval rating. That's a 7% drop from Huether's May approval rating, but still stronger than the 60% approval rating NBP found in September for Governor Dennis Daugaard. I leave for my commenters the question of whether the mayor of the most prosperous city in the state ought to find it easier to outpoll a governor who cuts K-12 education by over 6% and costs the state nearly 1500 teaching jobs.

Nielson Brothers find a more surprising jolt to Sioux Falls voters' confidence about the direction their fair city is taking:

NBP also asked whether Sioux Falls is headed in the "right" or "wrong direction." In this survey, Sioux Falls voters are less certain about the city's direction than they were in May. 48 percent of respondents say "right direction"—down from 61 percent in NBP's May survey. 21 percent say "wrong direction"—up 3 percent from May, and 31 percent say "undecided"—up 10 percent from May [Nielson Brothers Polling, press release, 2011.11.06].

48%? Really? You have more job opportunities, more housing growth, more taxable property value, and heck, more Hy-Vees and Targets than any other town in the state, and not even half of you think your town is going in the right direction? Was everybody just looking forward to JazzFest in the May poll? Or did Nielson brothers get a hold of that same sample who told them Heidepriem was within three percentage points of Daugaard?

Then the Nielson brothers cross their tabs and offer some tea leaves for determining which way the big chunk of undecideds might break in a race that their polling showed was a statistical tie at the end of October:

NBP's previous release on findings for the proposed events center noted that 42 percent say they will vote for it's construction, and 41 percent will vote against it, with 17 percent undecided. These answers also show a correlation with answers on Sioux Falls direction and mayoral job approval. 61 percent of those who say the city is going in the right direction plan to vote "yes" on the events center, compared with only 15 percent of support among those who say "wrong direction." 85 percent of voters who "strongly approve" of the mayor's performance will vote for the new center, while only 12 percent of those who "strongly disapprove" plan to vote for it. Of the 17 percent of voters "undecided" on the events center, 56 percent say the city is going in the right direction and 74 percent either "strongly" or "somewhat" approve of Mayor Huether's job performance [NBP, 2011.11.06].

NBP finds that if folks like the mayor, they tend to support the event center. If folks like the direction Sioux Falls is taking, they tend to support the event center. Folks who say they are still undecided on the event center appear to like the mayor and the city's direction more than the general sample. If NBP is right, then the undecideds break for the event center. Scott, Scott, Jen, Joel, and Steve won't be happy about that.

One Comment

  1. Troy Jones 2011.11.08

    Looks like this is more a referendum on the Mayor than I thought.

    I thought it not only possible but likely the issue was decoupled from the Mayor (people who like Mike can still oppose the EC and people who don't can still support the EC). This strong a correlation means the Mayor has had an effect on people's position. I praise him for his leadership as it is proving to be material.

    That said, I think it will lose. Capital projects are like incumbents. If they don't cross 50% by election day, they lose. Undecideds break against them, the supposition views of the Mayor notwithstanding. In the end, he willhave kept it from being a bloodbath.

    Prediction: Tomorrow, the "no's" will be characterized as neanderthals with no vision.

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