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Northern Beef, EB-5 Affecting Majority of Voters in SD Senate Race

KELO misreads its own poll on the effect of Northern Beef Packers and EB-5 on the U.S. Senate race. "EB-5 Has Little Effect on Voters," says the headline, introducing Ben Dunsmoor's dismissal of the potency of the issue. But we can easily read the actual responses to say the opposite, that the Northern Beef Packers/EB-5 scandal EB-5 has had a significant effect on how South Dakotans will vote.

"How much of an effect have the issues raised about the funding that the Northern Beef Packers Plant in Aberdeen received through the EB-5 immigration program had on your voting decision on the South Dakota Senate race? Have they had a major effect, some effect or no effect at all?"
Major Minor No Effect Not Familiar
State 21% 31% 45% 3%
Rounds Voters 9% 16% 73% 2%
Weiland Voters 41% 34% 23% 2%
Pressler Voters 19% 56% 22% 3%
Howie Voters 13% 44% 37% 6%
Undecided Voters 9% 55% 31% 5%
Men 19% 32% 48% 1%
Women 23% 30% 43% 4%
Democrats 28% 41% 28% 3%
Republicans 15% 25% 57% 3%
Independents 23% 26% 47% 4%

First, consider the question. KELO (via Mason-Dixon) asks voters whether NBP/EB-5 is affecting their voting decision. That question doesn't just measure the impact of the issue; it also measures the dedication of voters to their candidates. NBP went bankrupt and EB-5 went scandal after Rounds and Weiland started campaigning. Many voters committed to those candidates before NBP/EB-5 could have an effect on their decision. Democrats and Republicans have partisans who will stick by their party no matter what. I've written more about Northern Beef Packers and EB-5 than most reporters, but my honest response to this survey question would have been "No Effect." Even in the alternative universe where Joop Bollen didn't run NBP into the ground and Richard Benda retired quietly to a beach in the Philippines, I'd still be voting for Weiland.

Second, consider the numbers. A majority say NBP/EB-5 has some effect on their vote. In every subgroup except for Rounds voters and Republicans, more people say the issue is has some effect than say it has no effect. NBP/EB-5 matters to 75% of Weiland voters and Pressler voters. Nobody should expect one issue to resonate with every voter, but having a "major" effect on one in five voters, the vast majority of whom swing away from the favored Republican frontrunner in South Dakota, tells me that NBP and EB-5 are worth every bit of attention the Weiland and Pressler and Howie campaigns are willing to give it.

I would argue that Rounds's challengers themselves have not hit Northern Beef Packers and EB-5 as hard as they could. It's already swaying a sizable chunk of the electorate, against all the advantages Republicans have, to Weiland and Pressler. There is still time to pull some of 31% "minors" over to the 21% "majors" and use the endemic corruption exposed in the NBP/EB-5 scandal to pull Rounds's 9% lead back to the side of good, honest government.


  1. Bill Fleming 2014.10.28

    Good point, Cory. It's possible that the question is so generic, it's meaningless. Example, If 40% of the Republicans (15+25) say EB-5 will have an effect on their vote, we still don't really know what that means. But if it means they won't vote for Rounds, that's a pretty big deal, isn't it?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.28

    As our friend Joe Biden would say, if we can find any way to pry South Dakota Republicans away from the R on their ballot, that's a big f-ing deal, and we should press the heck out of that advantage in the next seven days.

  3. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.10.28

    Bill to your point, if the 9% of Rounds voters, on whom NBP/EB-5 has an impact, decide to vote for one of the other candidates or say all decided to vote for Weiland or all to vote for Pressler, would that be enough to change the outcome?

    The part of this that is so hard for me to understand, is how can one identify him or her self as a Rounds voter, if this issue has a major impact on how they will vote? This poll almost looks cooked up, to make the electorate think the way the poller wants them to think.

  4. Steve Sibson 2014.10.28

    Cory, currently it seems anybody bringing up EB-5 is going negative, and even Weiland is saying the negative ads are hurting his campaign. Does he really mean that , or is he using deception to distance himself from the negative ads. Like Rounds says, if the groups stop running the ads, as requested by Weiland, that would equate to coordination.

  5. 96Tears 2014.10.28

    The issue has suffered from mishandling the core message. The Weiland campaign preferred to center their argument around exchanging citizenship for half-million dollar investments. You have to ask yourself "where's the fire" other than the fairness issue of rich people getting in front of the line. If that's what Republicans heard, I can see how 73 percent of Rounds voters did not see EB-5 as a factor.

    Republicans are trained by their benefactors to think feeding privileges (tax dollars, Wall Street advantages, etc.) is just fine because they still believe trickle-down is a valid concept, despite the proof it is a ridiculous waste that pays nothing back to the economy.

    What cuts hay is the real crime. In one word: Theft.

    In this case, a gang of political pals organized a system of fleecing a federal program for their personal benefit. Worse, they used our state universities system to help cloak their criminal activities. Mike Rounds clearly made sure his ring leaders got no-bid contracts to control the graft and then privatize the fleecing operation to prevent public disclosures.

    Exposing the theft and the racket should have been the only message. Mike Rounds preferred that if we talked about it, we should only discuss how the federal green card exchange program worked ... and how his genius leadership produced thousands of jobs.

    We'll see after this election if the federal and/or state justice systems are capable of doing their jobs. The evidence is there for multiple perp walks. It's too bad the heart of the matter was not made the focus much, much sooner.

  6. Bill Fleming 2014.10.28

    Lanny, I think they should vote for Rick. He's the one who has consistently polled close enough to Rounds to be able to actually beat him. But any vote taken from Rounds works, just a little more iffy. Put it this way, if Everyone who doesn't want Rounds to win votes for Rick, Rounds won't win. Simplest possible pathway to making your vote count.

  7. jerry 2014.10.28

    The one thing that resonates with the voters I have seen and listened to both casually and eavesdropping is that the EB-5 is indeed something they are starting to understand. They are getting the idea that Rounds is saying he will be tough on immigration with one hand while the other hand gets greased by the Chinese and others for big dollars. He could even bring back the ghost of Janklow with the shady deal for the cement factory to foreign entities as well. Republicans hate the immigrants unless they bribe and grease their palms. Weiland needs to beat the drum of this EB-5 for another week. If I were running the show, I would even show a shadow of a little twerp in the perp walk along with a shadow dude in wooden slippers dressed in orange while ill gotten mooah drops from his pockets. The corruption must cease.

  8. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.10.28

    Sure wish this ad that we wrote about here on Madville two weeks ago had made the campaign.

    "Politics need to be changed like a baby's diaper, and for the same reason.

    South Dakotas's diaper hasn't been changed for 36 years.

    This year, vote for the Democrats."

  9. John Hess 2014.10.28

    The question would be more meaningful knowing the percentage of former Rounds voters that have jumped ship over the issue. I'm not buying that 97 or 98 percent of the majority of voters are familiar with EB5. Heard of it, but could they give an accurate narrative? No way.

  10. Steve Sibson 2014.10.28

    "Everyone who doesn't want Rounds to win votes for Rick, Rounds won't win."

    And we send a Buffet crony capitalist to DC.

  11. Bill Fleming 2014.10.28

    I don't think so, Sibby. I think Rick really is for the people. You may not agree with him on social issues, or the Constitution (nobody in their right mind agrees with your take on the Constitution) but when it comes to crony capitalism, Rick is singing out of the same hymnal you are.

  12. JeniW 2014.10.28

    A hellva lot better than having Rounds as a Senator!!

  13. Bill Fleming 2014.10.28

    Should have written...crony capitalism and corruption...

  14. John Hess 2014.10.28

    Remember the "I am a DC resident" ad against Daschle? Have long wondered the context of why he said that, but ads can work. Stop singing and blast Rounds with both barrels.

  15. Bill Fleming 2014.10.28

    Excerpt from Gordon Howie's interview at the Argus:

    U.S. Senate candidate Gordon Howie is running as a conservative alternative to Republican nominee Mike Rounds. On Friday, he stopped by the Argus Leader for an appearance on “100 Eyes” with managing editor Patrick Lalley. The following are highlights from their conversation on key issues in the race.

    On independent status:
    “I’m a lifelong Republican. I’m running as an independent because there wasn’t a conservative in the race if I didn’t run.”

    On EB-5:
    “I believe there’s a good prescription for success in politics. If you have a political problem, you shine a spotlight on it instead of trying to cover it up. Why wouldn’t Mike Rounds testify under oath and encourage Joop Bollen to testify under oath, and put this whole mess behind us if they can? Well, there's a reason for that. Something stinks"

    Full article here:

  16. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.10.28

    So Steve, are you saying that you think Rounds is not a crony capitalist in addition to being a crook?

  17. Bill Fleming 2014.10.28

    My take on Steve is that he's an ideological purist, and believes he shouuld vote his conscience, even if his candidate doesn't have any chance of winning.

    In that context, such candidates are at least able to have access to the media soapbox and have their positions heard. It seems to me, Mr. Howie's views have been conspicuously ignored by the Rounds machine in this election.

    And he's also been ignored to a large extent by the pollsters and the press.

    I think most of Howie's ideas are extreme and unworkable. He probably thinks mine are. But we do agree that all our ideas should be heard and discussed. (And in that, context I'll argue that we are both "liberals." ;-)

  18. jerry 2014.10.28

    @John Hess, that was my point about the EB-5. Voters need to keep hearing about it. They need to not only hear of it, they need to know that it was corruption at the very top of state government that stole money from their pockets. The more they hear of it the more they will be likely to vote against the little weasel.

  19. Steve Sibson 2014.10.28

    "So Steve, are you saying that you think Rounds is not a crony capitalist in addition to being a crook?"

    Rounds is a crony capitalist. So is Weiland. If we want to fix the crony capitalist problem, then we need to elect limited government conservatives.

  20. Tom W 2014.10.28

    EB5 has no affect on my vote. its a good program that gets a black eye over 1 individual who misused it during the NBP plant.

    Daugaard, Fred D, John W - got my Vote!

  21. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.28

    What caught my attention with this poll was the Not Familiar, throughout this campaign many Rounds supporters have said something like, "90% of South Dakota voters don't even know about EB-5" or "90% of SD voters don't care about EB-5".
    The poll accurately states that voters are aware of the Rounds scandal and that it does matter to some degree, I'd take that as good news for Rick.

  22. Bill Fleming 2014.10.28

    Sneak preview from KOTA. Full poll results will be released on KDSJ, KOTA and Aberdeen American News tonight at 6:00 pm.

    These are from Survey USA, the same poll that once had Rounds, Weiland and Pressler moving toward a virtual tie. Note how these numbers compare to the recent KELO tallys. The more polls that say the same or similar things, the more likely is the accuracy of the composite data... I've added the KELO numbers in brackets for comparison:

    "Now the trend gives Rounds 43% [KELO says 42], Weiland 32% [KELO 33], Pressler 19% [KELO 16]. Two percent would vote for Independent Gordon Howie.

    Even though it does not appear to be eroding his support, the EB-5 issue continues to dog the leader. When asked if Mike Rounds has said enough on the issue, 53% said he needs to say more. 36% say he has said enough. 12% were unsure."

  23. leslie 2014.10.28

    Hammer EB5 fraud, Daugaard/SDGOP Cover-up, followup with "Rounds List of Lies(c)", and campaign distortions by Koch Brothers affiliates. Vote Democratic!

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.28

    Tom W, I can see the possibility that EB-5 can do some good if properly supervised (although the Canadians have ditched their EB-5-equivalent program, saying it doesn't provide a net benefit). But it appears more than one person misused it. We can document Richard Benda, Joop Bollen, and James Park exploiting it. And the big man on the ballot, Mike Rounds, rewarded Bollen and now defends Bollen for that misuse. That should affect your vote for U.S. Senator.

  25. Jane 2014.10.29

    EB-5 abuse should determine your vote! If you turn a blind eye to the corruption, then it means you support the corruption. That means you vote by party position, not by results that need to benefit SD.
    But hey, what's a black eye to the state? When the truth does get proven and the lot includes your public officials.

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