PPP's newest South Dakota poll finds that the race has tightened since the summer, with Republican Mike Rounds now winning by only 6 points. He’s at 40% to 34% for Democrat Rick Weiland, with Libertarian Kurt Evans polling at 11%.
The Senate campaign is taking a toll on Rounds’ popularity. When PPP polled South Dakota in March he had a 51/34 favorability rating, but now voters are closely divided on him with 42% seeing him favorably to 40% with a negative opinion. Rounds’ standing has dropped with Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
Weiland actually has a better net favorability rating than Rounds at +9 with 28% of voters seeing him positively to 19% with a negative opinion. Weiland’s name recognition is lower than Rounds, but that also gives him more room to grow. 17% of Democrats are undecided compared to only 12% of Republicans.
One noteworthy development in the race is the Libertarian Evans polling at 11%. His strong support may be a function of 2 things- voters disgusted with both parties, but also discomfort on the right with Rounds that has had some conservative interests shopping for another candidate. A similar dynamic helped the Libertarian candidate get 7% in Montana last year, and contributed to Jon Tester’s reelection.