New polling conducted this week shows increasing support for independent U.S. Senate candidate Larry Presser at the expense of Republican Mike Rounds and Democrat Rick Weiland.
The poll was conducted by Nielson Brothers Polling and sponsored in part by Northern Plains News.
Also, polling numbers suggest a growing number of South Dakotans are paying attention to the EB-5 scandal that has embroiled former Gov. Mike Rounds.
And if Weiland dropped out of the race, Pressler and Rounds would be in a virtual dead heat. If Pressler dropped out, Weiland would be within striking distance of Rounds.
Nonetheless, Rounds, the former Republican South Dakota governor, continues to lead his three challengers by double digits in the race for the U.S. Senate.
In the Sept. 21 to 25 NBP/NPN survey, 39 percent of respondents say they plan to vote for Rounds, 26 percent for Democrat Rick Weiland and 24 percent for Independent Larry Pressler. Independent Gordon Howie received 4 percent of support, while 7 percent remain “undecided.”
Both Rounds and Weiland have lost support since the late July NBP/NPN survey while Pressler has picked up support. In the previous NBP survey, run from July 23-28, 43 percent of respondents said they planned to vote for Rounds and 30 percent for Rick Weiland. Pressler received 14 percent while Howie drew 4 percent.The new survey also asked how respondents would vote if either Weiland or Pressler withdrew from the race.If Pressler withdrew, 45 percent of respondents would vote for Rounds, 37 percent would vote for Weiland and 7 percent for Gordon Howie with 9 percent undecided. Two percent say they would not vote in the race.
If Weiland withdrew, 40 percent would vote for Rounds, 39 percent would vote for Pressler, and 8 percent would vote for Howie. 11 percent are undecided and 3 percent say they will not vote in the race.
The numbers show Pressler with the broadest support among parties, consisting of 46 percent Republican, 38 percent Democratic, and 14 percent independent or other. Round’s support breaks down to 83 percent Republican, 10 percent Democratic, and 7 percent I/O. Weiland’s support is 71 percent Democratic, 12 percent Republican and 18 percent I/O. Howie’s is 53 percent Republican, 30 percent Democratic and 17 percent I/O.
A difference is also apparent when NBP/NPN asked about ideological self-identification. In the latest survey, 39 percent identified with conservatives, 30 percent with moderates, 17 percent with the tea party, and 15 percent with liberals.
Pressler’s support divided among self-identified moderates at 33 percent, conservatives at 32 percent, liberals at 19 percent and tea party at 17 percent.
Round’s support is 57 percent conservative, 22 percent tea party, 19 percent moderate and 3 percent liberal.
Weiland’s support is made up of 51 percent moderates, 30 percent liberals, 14 percent conservatives and 5 percent tea party.
The majority of Howie’s support is tea party at 59 percent, with the rest of his support divided among liberals at 19 percent, conservatives at 11 percent and moderates at 11 percent.
NBP also polled on whether respondents had heard of the EB-5 scandal and whether it would impact their voting decisions in the U.S. Senate race.
Thirty-five percent of respondents had not heard of EB-5. Over one-third—37.4 percent—had a negative view of the matter, while 14.3 percent had a favorable view and 13.3 percent were unsure.
As to impacting respondents’ voting, 44.3 percent said it would have no affect, 29.9 percent said it would affect their voting and 25.8 percent were unsure.
Questions, response numbers (%), and margins of error (MOE):
For U.S. Senate would you vote for Republican Mike Rounds, Democrat Rick Weiland, Independent Larry Pressler, or Independent Gordon Howie?
647 responses; 3.24 percent MOE.
Mike Rounds: 39.4
Rick Weiland: 25.7
Larry Pressler: 23.7
Gordon Howie: 3.6
If Larry Pressler ended his U.S. Senate candidacy would you vote for Democrat Rick Weiland, Republican Mike Rounds, or Independent Gordon Howie? 636 responses; 3.27 percent MOE.
Mike Rounds: 45.4
Rick Weiland: 37.1
Gordon Howie: 7.2
Will not vote in this race: 1.6
If Rick Weiland ended his U.S. Senate candidacy would you vote for Republican Mike Rounds, Independent Larry Pressler, or Independent Gordon Howie? 623 responses; 3.30 percent MOE.
Mike Rounds: 40.4
Larry Pressler: 38.7
Gordon Howie: 7.8
Will not vote in this race: 2.5
If you have heard of EB5 do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of it?
576 responses; 3.43 percent MOE.
Unfavorable: 37.4 percent
Unsure: 13.3 percent
Not heard: 35.0 percent
Will EB5 affect or have no affect on your vote for US Senate?
571 responses; 3.45 percent MOE.
No Affect: 44.3
Nielson Brothers Polling, an independent company based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, conducted this South Dakota survey of likely voters from Sept. 21 - 25, 2014. NBP is releasing its findings in conjunction with Northern Plains News, an online news and distribution service in Harrisburg, South Dakota.
In the next days, NBP and NPN will continue to release more findings, including on the governor and U.S. House races, the ballot initiative on minimum wage, the direction of the country and on the Keystone pipeline.
For more information contact NBP at firstname.lastname@example.org or 605 496-0911 or NPN at email@example.com or 605 351-5021.