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NBP: Weiland Trails Rounds by 13, Needs 31,000 Pressler Dems

Last updated on 2014.09.04

Northern Plains News doesn't just provide new polling data from Nielson Brothers Polling on South Dakota's U.S. Senate race; NPN also provides nifty clickable widgets to display the data:

NBP is consistent with every other poll, showing Mike Rounds with a strong lead, Rick Weiland in second, and our two Independents and undecided taking up enough votes to make things interesting. NBP does find a far smaller segment of undecided voters than the Clarity Campaign Labs poll released by the South Dakota Democratic Party last week: Polling from July 16–23, Clarity found 29% were undecided; polling July 23–28, NBP found 20.4% made up their minds, leaving 8.6% undecided. (If there is any alignment between the Clarity and NBP numbers, Rounds got 9 of those newly deciding percentage points, Weiland 6, Pressler 4, and Howie 1.)

Compared to the Public Policy Polling numbers from May, NBP finds Rounds up 5 points and Weiland up 2. Back in June 2013, NBP found Rounds beating Weiland 54–27.

NBP finds Larry Pressler putting more drag on Weiland's total than Rounds's. Pressler pulls 17.9% of the Democrats in NBP's sample, 11.1% of Republicans, and 18.9% of independents and others. Multiply those percentages by the voter registration totals as of August 1, and Pressler would draw about 31,000 Democrats, 26,000 of his former fellow Republicans, and 19,000 now-fellow Indies and others.

The key to Weiland winning back those 31,000 errant Dems (focus up, people! unity!) may be continuing to build name recognition. In June 2013, NBP found 50% of voters didn't know who Rick Weiland was. PPP found 33% of voters still not knowing Rick in May; NBP finds 22% of voters still not knowing the best singer on the campaign trail. (I'm telling you, Rick: bring Amy Poehler here, and that 22% disappears faster than you can say, "Calm down, Kaitlin!")

Note also that the percentage of Democrats who say they don't know Rick, 17.6%, is really close to the percentage of Democrats who say they are voting for Pressler, 17.9%. Those two categories may have a lot of overlap (NBP could prove me wrong with cross-tabs!), as a lot of "Rick who?" Democrats might still have the good sense to say "No way!" to Rounds but default to Pressler's familiar face. (Pressler's name non-recogntion overall is 9.9%, Rounds's is 4.7%, because some people live under hay bales.) Rick, job one for August is to find those Rick-who?/Larry-default Dems and bring them back!

In Tea Party news, the NBP results show the Tea Party—whatever that amorphous blob of frightened Glenn-Beck parroters may be—having little effect on the outcome so far. Ultra-conservative Gordon Howie ought to be galvanizing those voters with his calls to theocracy, gunocracy, border lockdown, yet he is only drawing 14.1% of folks who call themselves Tea Party voters. 67.5% of Tea Party voters are voting in "blind loyalty" to the candidates other people are saying is supposed to win", Mike Rounds, the candidate who represents all the big-money and go-along-to-get-along politics that the Tea Party supposedly reviles. So much for that movement.


  1. Steve Sibson 2014.08.04

    "The key to Weiland winning back those 31,000 errant Dems (focus up, people! unity!)"

    "67.5% of Tea Party voters are voting in "blind loyalty" to the candidates other people are saying is supposed to win", Mike Rounds, the candidate who represents all the big-money and go-along-to-get-along politics that the Tea Party supposedly reviles. So much for that movement."

    So Cory, what is the difference between "unity" and "blind loyalty"? Both Establishments are arguing that their base not go independent. Seems one who says its good for the goose, but not for the gander is the blind loyalist.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.04

    Fair question, Steve. Howie and Pressler both have to argue against party loyalty, Howie perhaps more so, since he is making more of an argument that the Republican Party has abandoned its principles.

    I will contend there is a small difference between "unity" and "blind loyalty." "Blind loyalty" would imply that no thought or discussion is taking place, that voters are just doing what someone else tells them to do.

    I'd feel a bit queasy if those 31,000 Pressler Dems all voted for Weiland just because I told them to (although... hmm... I say jump, and 31,000 people just do it? Oooo... I can feel that corrupting tingle...). If to my cry of "Unity!" they say, "Why?", I would respond, "We're rebuilding a party with good principles. Rick Weiland represents those principles. Larry Pressler says he represents a number of those principles, too. But Rick Weiland will be in a better position to fight for those principles as a member of the Democratic caucus. Electing Rick Weiland will help us strengthen the Democratic Party to elect candidates with similar principles to other offices. Larry Pressler will not provide the same coattails for bolstering our fight for our principles long-term. If we all stick together and vote for Rick, we come out better. So yeah, unity!"

    I don't want blind loyalty. I want unity built on loyalty with eyes wide open.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.04

    What those 31,000 Pressler Dems need to be asking is, will Pressler caucus with Republicans or Democrats?

    I can appreciate Pressler coming of age on many social issues, but does his conservatism still run deep on other issues?

  4. Tim 2014.08.04

    Cory, if republican voters opened their eyes and did some serious soul searching on what they truly believe, and what todays republican party really stands for, I think a fair amount of them wouldn't be republican anymore. The trick is to get them to open them up instead of eyes wide shut.

  5. Tim 2014.08.04

    I don't know how to get somebody that has been voting straight R for thirty years to stop and actually get to know who they are voting for.

  6. Bob Klein 2014.08.05

    This sounds like the poll I participated in a few days ago. I think the poll was paid for by Pressler, or else there is another reason they used all his talking points in attempting to figure out if I'd change my vote.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.05

    Tim, maybe that's exactly the conversion process Larry Pressler went through. I know a lot of Dems are thinking we need to get Pressler to be quiet and let Weiland be the liberal in this race, but maybe Pressler could lead that eye-opening conversation with South Dakota Republicans and help them see what he saw. He'd end the conversation with, "Vote for me!" instead of, "Vote Demcoratic!" but in the long run, it might still be a worthwhile conversation for Pressler to have throughout our state.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.05

    Bob, that's just curious, because the information we're getting in the press is pretty straight reporting. Do you recall, did the poll you got ask you for whom you were voting, then ask those Pressler push questions, then ask one more time for whom you were voting?

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