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NBP: Weiland Inching Up on Rounds, Beating Other Republicans… But Not Brendan!

Nielson Brothers Polling releases another chunk of data on the U.S. Senate race in South Dakota. Polling 839 likely South Dakota voters during the first week of October, NBP finds that Marion Michael Rounds's lead over Rick Weiland is slipping:

When matched against Rick Weiland (the only announced Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate) Mike Rounds leads 50.2 to 34.8 percent, with 15.0 percent undecided. The race has narrowed since the June NBP survey which had Rounds ahead 54.3 to 27.1 percent. Democratic support, in particular, rises for Weiland in this October survey [Nielson Brothers Polling, press release, 2013.10.18].

Rounds's lead is still bigger than the single-digit gap Weiland paid Public Policy Polling to find. But Rounds down 4 and Weiland up 7 is the kind of trend Dems would like to see continue!

NBP also confirms that Dems should be hoping for some sort of wild Rounds collapse, as Weiland could beat any of the other Republican challengers right now:

  • Stace Nelson receives 34.5 percent support against Weiland’s 35.6 percent with 29.9 undecided.
  • Larry Rhoden garners 32.3 percent compared to 36.5 for Weiland with 31.3 percent undecided.
  • Annette Bosworth receives the least support of the Republican Senate candidates with 32.5 percent to 37.6 for Weiland and 29.9 percent undecided [NBP, 2013.10.18].

Within those numbers, it is important to note that all three GOP underdogs' scores against Weiland fall within the margin of error, suggesting that none of them have differentiated themselves in the minds of the general electorate... which is just what the Rounds-Wadhams machine is hoping for.

Finally (on the Senate race), NBP can't help teasing the bears... or the Brendan, just a little. Just for kicks, they throw Democratic respondents a question about an entirely hypothetical primary among Rick Weiland, Brendan Johnson, and Steve Jarding. Johnson beats Weiland three to one, with Jarding a weak third. 52.7% of Dems fielded that question with an "undecided" shrug, as if to say, "What-choo talkin' about, Nielson? Brendan's out, Jarding's running for Facebook friends and YouTube hits—not gonna happen!"

At the bottom, NBP finds Kristi Noem's job approval rating at 52%, down 4 points since June. Note that number came before the West River blizzard, Noem's rancher-aid hypocrisy, her calls on the banana phone, and her vote to do more damage to the economy. I eagerly await Nielson Brothers' follow-up poll to test Augustana professor Emily Wanless's assertion that Noem's vote to extend the shutdown has no legs.