Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


SD's Tim Johnson Coasting in Early U.S. Senate Poll

Bookmark and Share

In recent years, when Republicans have looked for a competitive race in which to pick up a U.S. Senate seat, their eyes frequently turned to South Dakota. South Dakota is a reliable state for the GOP in its state legislature as well as vote for president: in the 29 presidential elections held in South Dakota since statehood, Republicans have won 25, compared to just 3 for the Democrats (William Jennings Bryan also carried the state on the Populist ticket in 1896, by 185 votes over Republican William McKinley). In fact, Democrats have won only 1 of the last 18 presidential contests since 1940 (Lyndon B. Johnson carried South Dakota in his 1964 landslide presidential victory).

But races for the U.S. Senate in South Dakota tell a different tale: Democrats have won 5 of the past 7 races since 1986, and 9 out of the last 15 races since 1962. Overall Democrats have won 12 of 32 U.S. Senate races since popular vote elections began in 1914. The reason for this greater success in Senatorial elections is obvious: home-grown Democratic Senate candidates have generally better reflected the conservative core values and policy positions of the state's electorate than have national Democratic presidential candidates.

These U.S. Senate races have been very competitive, with the last election in 2004 a nail-biter that saw the defeat of Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle at the hands of John Thune by about 4,500 votes (1.2 percentage points). Since 1986, 5 out of 7 Senatorial races in South Dakota have been decided by 7 points or less, with Democrats winning 3 of these very competitive contests.

Given the competitive nature of South Dakota Senate races, two-term Democratic incumbent Senator Tim Johnson was on the GOP's very, very short list of possible pick-ups in 2008. Johnson's health problems stemming from an arteriovenous malformation in December 2006 have not deterred his political career, and the state's popular senior Senator announced last October that he would seek a third term.

Rasmussen has just released the first public poll of potential GOP matchups with Senator Johnson, and it appears the GOP list of possible pick-ups just got even shorter. Highlights from the Rasmussen poll of 500 likely voters:

  • Against ex-Lieutenant Governor Steve Kirby, Johnson holds a 62 to 32 percent edge.
  • Against State Representative Joel Dykstra, Johnson's margin is measured at 63 to 28 percent.

The Rasmussen poll also confirms what is widely known and felt across the Mount Rushmore State—Senator Johnson is widely popular, boasting a 73 percent favorability rating.

Previous post: Is Pennsylvania the Next Iowa? Not Quite.
Next post: Obama Wins Wyoming Caucuses

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting