Noem surges past Herseth Sandlin in first post-primary election Rasmussen poll

June 15, 2010

Fresh off her GOP primary victory last Tuesday, state Rep. Kristi Noem got a significant boost in the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll.

Although both sides tried to downplay its significance, the Rasmussen poll shows 53 percent of South Dakota voters favoring Noem, R-Castlewood, over U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D. Herseth Sandlin was favored by 41 percent of those responding to the poll. Five percent of the 500 voters contacted were undecided or preferred another candidate.

Noem has steadily gained ground on Herseth Sandlin since entering the Republican race in February. Rasmussen had Noem trailing Herseth Sandlin by three points shortly before the primary.

With a long campaign still ahead, Noem tried to keep the poll in perspective.

“The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day in November, but these numbers are a clear indication that South Dakotans are responding to my message of cutting wasteful spending, reducing our debt, and getting folks back to work by expanding small business opportunity and stopping growth in government,” Nome said in a press release.

Rasmussen concedes a 4.5 percent margin of error in its poll with a 95 percent level of confidence.

The Herseth Sandlin camp cast doubt on the poll’s accuracy Monday, stating that Rasmussen Reports typically reports favorably on Republican candidates.

“Rasmussen polling is recognized as inaccurate and biased — employing questionable techniques and providing questionable results,” said Betsy Hart, spokesperson for Herseth Sandlin’s campaign.

According to the Rasmussen poll, Noem leads by more than 20 points among voters who are not affiliated with the two major parties.

Among South Dakota voters, 26 percent have a very favorable opinion of Herseth Sandlin, an increase of 3 percent since the primary, according to Rasmussen. However, Herseth Sandlin’s detractors have also increased by 3 percent with 17 percent of voters having an unfavorable opinion of the congresswoman.

Noem’s approval rating has almost doubled since her primary victory, climbing from 19 to 34 percent. Only 7 percent of state voters gave her an unfavorable rating, according to the poll.

Noem said the poll shows that South Dakotans are tired of backroom deals and politics-as-usual from career politicians.

“I plan to restore South Dakota’s voice in the U.S. House. This poll shows more and more South Dakotans are ready for their voice to be heard again. They are ready to send some common sense back to Congress,” said Noem.

Hart said Herseth Sandlin, who is seeking her fourth term, will approach this election as she always has.

“She will reach out to voters. She will talk about her bipartisan work on behalf of South Dakota, and she won’t take anything for granted,” Hart said.

Tom Erickson, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said, “Once thought to be unbeatable, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is now confronted with the harsh reality that the people of South Dakota can’t wait to get rid of her. As a D.C. insider who only votes in South Dakota’s interest when it furthers her own political ambitions, Herseth Sandlin represents everything that voters have come to hate about Washington. With South Dakotans rallying around Kristi Noem, Herseth Sandlin should prepare to learn the bitter taste of defeat.”

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