Public Policy Polling’s newest South Dakota survey finds Mike Rounds continuing to show an inability to pull away in the Senate race. Rounds is at 39% to 31% for Democrat Rick Weiland, 16% for independent Larry Pressler, and 5% for independent Gordon Howie.
Key findings from the survey include:
-Weiland has the best net favorability of any of the candidates at +15 with 42% of voters rating him favorably to 27% with an unfavorable opinion. That represents a 10 point improvement for Weiland since our April poll. Pressler is actually the second most popular candidate in the race with a +9 favorability at 42/33, and despite leading Rounds has the worst favorability at -4 with 44% of voters seeing him positively but 48% giving him poor marks.
-Weiland is only 8 points out of the lead despite continuing to have the lowest name recognition of the candidates. He actually leads the race with 42% to 33% for Rounds among voters who are familiar enough with him to have an opinion. That bodes well for his prospects as he becomes better known over the last three months of the campaign.
-If Pressler’s support declines in the final stretch of the race, as tends to happen with independent candidates, Weiland stands to be the beneficiary. His favorability with Pressler supporters is a 40/20 spread, compared to 18/74 for Rounds.
PPP interviewed 726 likely voters on Augusts 12th and 13th on behalf of People for Weiland. The poll’s margin of error is +/-3.6%. 47% of those surveyed were Republicans and 33% were Democrats (R+14), representing a more GOP leaning sample than the voter registration numbers in the state (45% Republicans and 35% Democrats for R+10).