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Herseth Sandlin, Rounds Top Senate Strength Poll; Noem 4th Behind Nelson

The latest Madville Times poll asked you, gentle readers, which South Dakotans would be the strongest Dem and GOP candidates for Senate in 2014. 215 of you weighed in on the Democratic choices; 206 of you checked a Republican. That's better than the under 200 who voted in the Dakota War College poll on possible Democratic Senate candidates, and much better than the zero who voted in the Dakota War College poll on the possible Republican candidates... oh, wait, that's because the SDGOP spin blog hasn't run such a poll yet on the potential SDGOP primary battle the SDGOP doesn't want to talk about.

But you don't need this poll to tell you that Madville Times is the stronger blog. You want to know which candidates are recognized as the strongest.

Among Dem choices, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin holds a commanding lead:

Madville Times online poll results: "Who would be the strongest Dem candidate for Senate in 2014?"

60% of you think SHS is the strongest candidate we Dems could field for the Senate race. On name recognition and likability, SHS at this point is probably the strongest candidate we could field for any race. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, son of the retiring Senator Tim Johnson, comes in at 13%, just barely ahead of my suggestions of state Rep. Bernie Hunhoff at 10% and Johnson staffer Matt Varilek at 9%. "Someone else" drew only 6% interest, with one commenter submitting the name of attorney and former state legislator Margaret Gillespie.

Rep. Hunhoff tells WNAX he's not interested in running for U.S. Senate, but hey, we've got eleven months to work on changing his mind. If he does change his mind, Bernie can always note that WNAX ran that story on April 1.

Now what about the Republicans? You like former governor M. Michael Rounds, but not as much as you like Herseth Sandlin:

Madville Times online poll results: "Who would be the strongest GOP candidate for Senate in 2014?"

Rounds gets 41% of the vote here, again not a surprise given his likability the fact that he's the only announced candidate for Senate. The surprise in these numbers is second place. One in four of you think state Rep. Stace Nelson would be the strongest candidate the SDGOP could field to take Tim Johnson's seat. 25% for the Fulton Fulminator—that's almost double the support for aspiring Fox News personality and U.S. Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Our rodeo queen can't even beat "Someone else," who polled 15%. (One name not polled and suggested for that category: state Senator Larry Rhoden.) Former Rapid City legislator and radical right-wing option Bill Napoli draws only 4%.

As usual, the margin of error here is slightly larger than the big bend in Highway 81 near Kristi's house, so use these results at your own peril. But if these results say anything, they paint an interesting picture of the subset of South Dakota voters reading this blog. Despite my vocal criticism of Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for her Blue Doggery on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, credit card reform, cap and trade, and other issues, she remains popular with the Democratic base that one would assume is reading this blog. As for the Republican choices, this blog apparently has a fair contingent of Main Street moderates who recognize Pierre's pearly-white insurance salesman as the sensible pick for Senate... but right alongside them we have some fire-breathers and mischief makers who'd love to see Stace Nelson on the statewide stump. That's a fascinating mix!


  1. mike 2013.04.02

    Stace would be a hoot on the statewide stump and he probably could do well. I don't know why he wants to keep banging his head against a wall in Pierre when he could do some demolition in a statewide race.

  2. Dougal 2013.04.02

    Mike's right. Stace can win if he runs big and doesn't pander. The questions to ponder is if the candidate can find a campaign manager who understands what that means and can Stace manage the discipline to stay on message, not comment on rape, and take orders from the campaign manager. Other than that, all Stace has to do is hug everybody on the campaign trail, smile a lot and raise money from whomever the hell he wants.

  3. G-Man 2013.04.02

    Great results Cory! Do you have any indication (from inside sources) if Stephanie is actually close to making a decision yet?

  4. G-Man 2013.04.02

    ...And, Cory, if you can not reveal anything yet, then, do you have an opinion on when the Democrats need to declare a candidate? It seems to me that waiting at this point is moot. But, then again, I'm not running.

  5. Mark Schuler 2013.04.02

    The only one person worthy of holding an office is Stace Nelson! He is easy to relate to. Common sence, no hocus pocus, so far, he stands up for the people which he represents! The problem is democrate vs republican or versa visia, your heads swell because your voted in instead of the other! From what I see, that has never solved any problems. Republican or Democrate, represent the people that put your into office! You are there to voice the people's wishes, what the people want and need! Instead you bicker about a Demorate did this or a Republican did that! B.S. I'm so sick of listening to that. How about tackeling the task at hand! Solve the problems of poor roads, funding education, and doing good for the people of South Dakota. Instead you spend, spend, spend! I think Stace represents what I wish for in a canidate and need more like minded souls in Pierre and in D.C. !

  6. Michael Black 2013.04.02

    We can be assured of one thing: the best person for the job is smart enough not to run.

  7. grudznick 2013.04.02

    We want the man who stirs the drink, not a minion. We want Mr. Napoli.

  8. Joan 2013.04.02

    Mickey Mouse would be better than Rounds.

  9. larry kurtz 2013.04.02

    Cory worded the poll to ensure that we would choose Stace as the strongest candidate.

  10. Brett 2013.04.02

    Again--even with your disclaimer about the validity of the poll--it is worth noting that the language may have caused some confusion. I voted for SHS because, at this juncture, it would be hard to argue that another candidate would be in a better position to win. That doesn't mean that another candidate couldn't win, or even that I would not support another candidate in a primary. But the poll didn't seem to be asking for personal preference.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.03

    I agree, Brett. I chose the wording carefully, but it is easy for people to see a list of candidates and ignore the specific wording of the question above that list. But until I incorporate my own polling firm and hire some professionals to ask questions, I've got to have faith in my readers' reading ability.

Comments are closed.