The gubernatorial straw poll rejects the perhaps conventional view purveyed in the media that the GOP is bracing for a three-way gubernatorial contest among Attorney General Marty Jackley, District 12 Rep. Mark Mickelson, and eyelash-battingly coy Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Lt. Gov. Michels and Democrats' great white hope Stephanie Herseth Sandlin both got more straw poll votes than those three GOP contenders.
If spelling counts, the Business Caucus's misspelling of Noem's name as Kristie suggests they aren't paying as much attention to her as she might like. Only one person picked Shantel Krebs for governor, versus thirteen for Noem, but by gum, the ballot spelled Shantel's name right!
On the Presidential side, while the preference for Clinton is suprising, the Chamber predictably prefers mainstream moderates like Hillary and second-place corporatist and dynastirian Jeb Bush. The next Bush gets more votes than any two of the five wild-eyed ideologues on the Business Caucus's list—Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry. Clinton gets more votes than all five right wingnuts together. (I invite debate as to whether we ought to include Mike Huckabee in that list.)
And John Thune? He appears to have fallen into the Chamber's blind spot. They don't hint at all at Thune aspiring to anything other than the job he has right now in the U.S. Senate. (Gee, Rep. Gosch: maybe your embarrassing apology for the Daschle Rule was all for nought!)
But don't read too much into these numbers. The Business Caucus polled about 130 members. Only 84 named a favorite gubernatorial candidate; only 81 named a Presidential pick. The Business Caucus members aren't nearly as interested in elections 1.5 and 3.5 years off as they are on the issues before the Legislature right now. We'll talk about the Chamber's Legislative opinions in a separate post, coming soon!