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Rounds at Rock Bottom; Weiland Can Focus on Pressler?

David Montgomery makes up for giving Dick Wadhams too much room to run on the Darley ruling by reviewing the latest SurveyUSA poll numbers and saying Mike Rounds is on the floor... of Republican support in South Dakota:

Mike Rounds is as mainstream as Republicans get. He's well-known and well-funded and a constant presence on TV. What these poll numbers should tell you, if accurate, is that Rounds is very near the floor of his support. No matter how much negative advertising gets slung at him, he's not likely to fall any further. (That's not to say negative ads won't be effective — they can keep Rounds' numbers down, and preempt any comeback.) Which means that if either Pressler or Weiland is going to win, they're going to have to reach a plurality by taking votes from each other [David Montgomery, "That SurveyUSA Poll," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.10.07].

Montgomery notes that Rounds's 35% is down where GOP losers Joel Dykstra, Jan Berkhout, Ron Schmidt, and Char Haar finished in their ill-fated races. Mike Rounds is almost as bad a candidate as Bruce Whalen.

Rick Weiland will have more trouble than Larry Pressler capitalizing on Montgomery's thesis that there are no more Rounds votes to flip. The hypothetical head-to-heads show a pure Rounds–Weiland tilt ties 47–47, while Pressler-Rounds goes 54–39. That result, if reliable, shows how hard it is to get a certain segment of South Dakotans to mark "D" on their ballots. (Rick! Remind them that Harry Reid hates you!)

Pressler, of course, is ecstatic:

We are humbled by the results of today’s poll, showing our message of taking the best ideas from both parties to end the poisonous deadlock between Republicans and Democrats in the US Senate is starting to resonate.... Harriet and I have been blessed by the outpouring of support of our grass roots campaign to stop the endless fighting of the two major parties. No one party has a monopoly on all the answers. South Dakotans agree with me that both parties are locked in a lobbyist-controlled spending and taxing cycle, trapped in a partisan fight while nothing gets resolved [Larry Pressler, press release, 2014.10.07].

But anyone who thinks this one set of numbers will somehow convince Weiland (or me, or any good Democrat) that he has a moral imperative to drop out of the race is mistaken. Four weeks to go, just seven points behind the failing frontrunner, Lawrence Lessig giving my campaign a million-dollar vote of confidence, and now my major battle is to knock off not Dick Wadhams but Larry Pressler? Yes, please, bring me that fight!


  1. Michael B 2014.10.08

    Cory, Weiland's poll numbers are unchanged. Rounds may be losing support but Weiland is not gaining and Pressler is.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.08

    True. So what should Weiland do? Accept those numbers as fate and take no action?

  3. jerry 2014.10.08

    Dust off the ole playbook that sent Pressler packing in the first place. There were reasons we South Dakotans were very dissatisfied with Pressler in the past. As an incumbent republican he should have easily won his reelection during the Clinton era, but we smelled a rat. Nothing has changed, he is still the same Larry that gave us the sellout Telecommunications Bill for one (thank Larry each month you get your bill). Say what you will about Larry Pressler and it is probably true. He is a big business prostitute, that is a reliable vote for Wall Street.

  4. lesliengland 2014.10.08

    did larry just say the same thing sibby has been saying? happy Halloween, again.

  5. 96Tears 2014.10.08

    It's the Pressler bubble. Everybody saw it coming. It will pass as soon as people realize he's a re-tread who had his day for 18 years and got the boot from voters way back in 1996.

    Weiland should just keep his campaign on its present course and get that serious money in the door.

    Reid! Paging Senate Leader Harry Reid!

  6. Bill Dithmer 2014.10.08

    To little, to late

    The Blindman

  7. Bill Fleming 2014.10.08

    Rounds has to understand that where once he had no way to lose, there are now two ways. Similarly, if Weiland's true objective is to make sure Rounds loses, he now has two ways to do it.

    A Zen moment for both of them?

    Okay, maybe just a George Clooney 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou' moment. "We're in a tight spot."

    Meanwhile Larry Pressler has some formidable brand attributes: Experience, Independence, Integrity, Humility.

    But Larry has Weiland, Rounds and the media to thank for his current level of support. By beating each other up, Pressler could well win by being the last man standing.

    He's the only one who's NOT in a tight spot.

  8. Bill Fleming 2014.10.08

    Oh, almost forgot... Another key Pressler brand attribute... Detachment.

  9. lesliengland 2014.10.08

    96, hopefully it should be a good week what with MSNBC supposedly to enter the fray with SD interviews on both Ed Schulz' EDSHOW and Steve Kornackie's UP show. Both great commentators.

    that's the rumor anyway but Kornackie did say live he would definitely have Weiland on his weekend timeslot.

  10. lesliengland 2014.10.08

    bill f., do you mean his mental facilities have slipped with age; as stated previously I know there really are people who interact with him weekly who say he is not all there?

    at my age this is not something I like saying.

  11. Michael B 2014.10.08

    Weiland's hope might lie with Rounds and Pressler attacking each other.

    The poll showing no change for Weiland tells us something about voter loyalty in SD

  12. larry kurtz 2014.10.08

    MB: so you're saying GOP are fearful, feckless, fickle earth haters?

  13. Michael B 2014.10.08

    No Larry, I di not not say that.

  14. Bill Fleming 2014.10.08

    Lesliengland, no, that's not what I meant by detachment. My perception is that Pressler never really expected to get this far. He thought there may be an opportunity and was willing to place a small bet to see if it might pay off. He has all his marbles, and he's playing a few of them to see how many of Rick and Mikes he can make off with. Larry's a clever, low key player. I would never underestimate him.

  15. JR 2014.10.08

    I think this is the perfect example of an election where ranked voting would be the best way for the will of the people to be reflected in the results. Right now, my vote would probably go like this;

    1) Pressler
    2) Weiland
    3) Whats his name
    4) Write in - anybody but Rounds

  16. JeniW 2014.10.08

    It all gets down to the fact that Rounds is not going to be able to take the voters for granted as he had been.

  17. Bill Dithmer 2014.10.08

    "GOP are fearful, feckless, fickle earth haters?"

    There i said it Larry.

    The Blindman

  18. DR 2014.10.08

    If rock bottom is being the next US Senator well then I guess I will take that.

  19. Chris S. 2014.10.08

    I understand people weighing their potential votes to have the best chance of keeping Rounds out of the Senate, and trying to decide if Weiland or Pressler would be the better bet. A person has to be judicious.

    But here's the deal: We all know who the better Senator would be: Rick Weiland. We had our fill of Larry Pressler years ago, thank you very much, and don't really need him as a vanity candidate. Democrats and Independents considering a Pressler vote because their gut tells them he's "more likely" to win are basically gambling — you know, like when your gut tells you the Vegas odds are better for one team over the other. That's not voting for a candidate; that's betting on what percent of the vote you feel somebody is going to get — and none of us can possibly know that. Even professional pollsters get that stuff wrong.
    I know we South Dakotans are conditioned to feel like only Republicans have a shot at winning, but we can't let Pressler siphon off votes by playing the political Stepford Wife card on us long-suffering people who deserve better than him and Mike Rounds.

  20. Bill Fleming 2014.10.08

    Anyone else noticing that DWC and the GOP gang isn't discussing this new set of poll numbers? Interesting.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.08

    Jerry and Chris appear to have the basic roadmap for letting the air out of Pressler's tires: remind South Dakotans that they retired Pressler for a reason in 1996. That conversation makes his old record all the more relevant.

    And frankly, a Weiland–Pressler debate would be much more interesting and policy focused than any conversation involving Rounds. Plus, if Rounds still shows up for the debates, making him sit there on the sidelines while Rick and Larry have a grown-up conversation would drive Mike nuts.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.08

    JR, I'm all for ranked voting: much more exciting math, and much more like speech tournament finals! Doing pretty much anything more like a speech tournament means marked improvement. :-)

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.08

    Bill, they aren't discussing those results because they have to wait for Dick Wadhams to get out of his current press conference and tell them what lies to tell next.

  24. Bill Fleming 2014.10.08

    LOL. Yeah I suppose. 'The talking points memo is still under construction. Please check back later this week.' ;-)

  25. bearcreekbat 2014.10.08

    I just happened on to a bumper sticker from Pressler's last run that a friend gave to me. It reads "Keep PBS; privatize Pressler."

  26. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.08

    Rick needs to keep doing what Rick is doing, attacking Mike Rounds, despite his poll numbers he is still the big dog in the hunt.
    Rounds is being threatened most by Pressler, expect the Dump Site, Wadhams, and Karl Rove's "dark money" to take on Pressler, let them have at it.
    I'm inclined to agree with John Tristan's recent analysis, Pressler is likely to attract more Rounds votes than Weiland, we are talking about Republican votes here after all.
    There are likely a lot like minded thinkers like Tristan that are tired of Mike Rounds and disgusted by his involvement in his EB-5 scandal.

  27. John Tsitrian 2014.10.08

    Yeah, Roger, speaking as a Pub, I have no doubt Republicans will find it much easier to vote for Pressler than switch all the way over to Weiland. If the ultimate winner's plurality is derived from a Rounds defection, then Pressler will win. This is now Weiland's problem: Rick is softening up support for Rounds, but the benefit goes to Pressler.

  28. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.08

    True John, now the independents (not Tara Volesky's Independent Party) come into play big time.

  29. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.08

    What were felony Mike's highest poll numbers going into this campaign?

  30. Dave Baumeister 2014.10.08

    I almost hesitate to comment... Last time I commented on this topic, I think I was labeled as a shill for Pressler. While I do like Larry Pressler, I am a Weiland man, but I do think Pressler has much to offer. However, there is a reason this particular seat was originally taken away from Sen. Pressler. I have pointed out to anyone who listens that I have liven in South Dakota since 1963, and in that entire time, SD has had at least one Democratic person in the U.S. Congress, and for about half of that time the Dems had held two seats. Why would that change now? If, as the Rounds camp is now claiming, South Dakota needs a Republican to "stop Obama," wouldn't it be more applicable that we would want at least one person who could work with any possible Democrat in the White House? After all, time will take Obama out naturally in two years.

  31. Steve Sibson 2014.10.08

    "Rick is softening up support for Rounds, but the benefit goes to Pressler."

    Yep, and I suspected Pressler could pull a Rounds (Remember the Barnett Kirby primary fight?).

  32. larry kurtz 2014.10.08

    Rounds should pull out and support Gordon Howie the principled white supremacist in the race.

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