Public Policy Polling’s newest South Dakota Senate poll finds that Mike Rounds’ support has dropped all the way down to 35% in the wake of voter anger over the EB-5 scandal, and that Rick Weiland continues to be better liked and within single digits of Rounds.
Key findings from the poll include:
-Rounds is at just 35% to 28% for Weiland, 24% for Larry Pressler, and 8% for Gordon Howie. A majority of South Dakotans have a negative opinion of Rounds, with just 41% rating him favorably to 51% with an unfavorable opinion. Weiland’s favorability, at a positive 42/38 spread, is a net 14 points better than Rounds’.
-Weiland is likely to gain ground as Pressler’s support fades over the course of October. Among Pressler’s voters, Weiland has a positive favorability rating at 43/28 while Rounds is incredibly unpopular with only 18% of voters rating him favorably to 68% who see him unfavorably. Since Weiland has been second in all the polls, anti-Rounds Pressler voters are likely to move in Weiland’s direction as the election nears since he’s the more viable candidate both in terms of current polling support and fundraising.
-Rounds is losing supporting on the right to Howie. Howie’s doubled his share of the Republican vote over the last month from 6% to 12%, pushing his support to the point where it provides a real threat to Rounds. Rounds has a tepid 62/31 favorability even with GOP voters, reflecting his weak 55% showing in the June primary.
With under 5 weeks to the election, South Dakota has the potential to join Kansas as a previously under the radar Senate race that could confound Republican efforts to get control of the Senate. This race is just as competitive as the ones in places like New Hampshire and Michigan that have drawn far more attention. Rounds’ growing weakness makes this a race worth keeping an eye on in the stretch run.
PPP interviewed 703 likely voters on September 29th and 30th on behalf of People for Weiland. The poll’s margin of error is +/-3.7%. 49% of those surveyed were Republicans and 35% 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).