Public Policy Polling’s newest South Dakota survey finds that Rick Weiland is continuing to cut into Mike Rounds’ once double digit lead in the race to replace Tim Johnson.
Key findings from the survey include:
-Rounds’ lead now stands at just 6 points- he’s at 39% to 33% for Weiland, 17% for Larry Pressler, and 4% for Gordon Howie. Rounds’ lead has dropped from 10 points in April to 8 points in early August to now just 6 points in late August as Weiland has become better known and more popular.
-Weiland is considerably more well liked by voters than Rounds. 48% see him favorably to only 27% with an unfavorable opinion. That +21 net favorability rating for Weiland is up from +15 earlier in the month, and it’s 24 points better than Rounds’- only 44% of voters see him positively to 47% who have a negative opinion.
-There are several reasons to think the race could close further. Among voters who are familiar with Weiland, whether they have a positive or negative opinion of him, he leads Rounds 42/36. Rounds is ahead in large part thanks to greater name recognition, but as Weiland has become better known, Rounds’ lead has gotten smaller and smaller.
Additionally Pressler supporters say that if they had to pick, they’d choose Weiland over Rounds 48/29. Third party candidates tend to see their support fade as an election gets closer. If Pressler sees a decline in his support over the next two months, Weiland is likely to be the beneficiary- he trails Rounds only 45/42 when you take Pressler out of the mix.
Rick Weiland has the momentum in this race. The more voters get to know him, the more they like him, and it’s making what was once a wide lead for Mike Rounds less and less comfortable.
PPP interviewed 709 likely voters on August 27th and 28th on behalf of People for Weiland. The poll’s margin of error is +/-3.7%. 51% of those surveyed were Republicans and 35% were Democrats (R+16), representing a more GOP leaning sample than the voter registration numbers in the state (45% Republicans and 35% Democrats for R+10).