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Smart Politics Projections: Federal Races in South Dakota

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Through November 3rd, Smart Politics will be running a series of electoral projections for Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The second projections in the series are federal races in the State of South Dakota.

South Dakota: President.
Democrats have carried South Dakota just three times (in 1932, 1936, 1964) plus 1896 when William Jennings Bryan ran on the Populist ticket. Unlike its sister state to the north, South Dakota is not a toss up state, even with two strong Democratic statewide candidates on the ballot in 2008. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold (from 2004).

South Dakota: U.S. Senate.
Senator Tim Johnson is one of the nation’s most popular Senators, with Mount Rushmore State residents consistently giving him favorability ratings in 60s. That will translate into Johnson’s first double-digit victory since his five consecutive double-digit victories as South Dakota’s At-large Representative from 1986-1994. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

South Dakota: U.S. House-At large.
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is one of three Blue Dog Democrats in the Upper Midwest who will coast to double-digit victories in 2008, winning the At-large seat for the Democrats for the 11th time out of 15 elections since 1982. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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