For whom will you vote for SD governor?
- Scott Heidepriem: 342 (54.5%)
- Dennis Daugaard: 286 (45.5%)
- Total: 628
- Kristi Noem: 304 (43.7%)
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: 391 (56.3%)
- Total: 695
Under normal circumstances, a top finish by the incumbent Congresswoman might not be noteworthy. But that a Democrat could poll above a Republican for governor may be.
The totals show one thing: folks haven't gone to the lake with Denny yet. In a fit of post-primary fervor, readers blew the doors off the previous Madville Times poll turnout record of 190. 695 voted on the House poll, 628 on the gub—wowza! Thanks for coming!
One anonymous commenter grumbled that an e-mail from SHS encouraging supporters to vote in this poll and three other online media polls made him lose respect for the Congresswoman. How dare she try to skew the results in her favor?
Ah, but stacking the polls is the game every candidate plays:
Search Facebook, and you find both House campaigns called on fans (Noem's on Thursday, SHS's on Friday) to stack the polls... just as they do at election time. Noem's people made the get-out-the-online-vote push first, surging at one point to a 70%-30% lead. I thought that might be a sign that Noem's people had more fire as they rode the high of Tuesday's upset victory. But Herseth Sandlin's supporters showed they aren't just sitting on their hands. Her campaign put out the word Friday, and over the weekend—the weekend, when we profligate Dems are all busy partying, right?—SHS supporters closed the gap.
Does this make the poll unscientific? You bet. But so are elections. So are baseball games. You can't tell from any one game which team is going to win the World Series... but you can get a picture of which team is fired up and ready to win.
In terms of marketing and organizing, online polls are a cheap way to get people involved. You send one e-mail. You ask supporters to click their mice three times (once on the link, once on your name, once on the "Submit Vote!" button). You give your people a fast, fun, interactive way to feel like they're helping the campaign. And you haven't spent a penny. Now people could get tired of repeated calls to online action (just as they get tired of folks hanging tags on their doorknob every day), but in moderation, pushing the online polls is just one more wise campaign tactic.
When Noem held the lead, one Noem supporter gloated that SHS was getting clobbered on "arguably the most liberal blogspot in the state." (Me, the most liberal? Really? Have you read Curtis Price? David Newquist? Travis Dahle and his cranky anonymous liberal friend?) That narrative will now shift to say, "Well, of course the Dems won. It's just a liberal blog." But anyone who checks the comment section will see my readers are far from an insular liberal clique.
Note also that the mainstream-media-hosted Red Blue & Purple is running the same poll. That blog has both liberal and conservative authors. On a more balanced blog, Heidepriem and Herseth Sandlin are swamping the GOP candidates (as of this morning writing) with vote totals nearing 80%.