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Monday, June 7, 2010

South Dakota Primary Prediction 1: Daugaard 45%

Journalists, start your spell-checkers!

Five men are running for the South Dakota Republicans gubernatorial nomination. The SD-GOP votes tomorrow. Dennis Daugaard will win that vote.

My vote predictions:
  1. Dennis Daugaard 45%
  2. Dave Knudson 23%
  3. Scott Munsterman 17%
  4. Gordon Howie 10%
  5. Ken Knuppe 5%
I'm picturing my prediction of Daugaard's number as the middle of a bell curve with a 5% standard deviation. That means I think there's a 68% chance that Daugaard's total will be between 40% and 50%. I think there's a 96% chance he'll win between 35% and 55%.

That also means I think there's a 2.3% chance that Daugaard will draw less than 35% of the vote tomorrow, which is the only circumstance under which any of the fellas vying for second place get a swing at Daugaard in a runoff. Run-off? Hardly.

How do I calculate these numbers? Pure vibe. But here's what generates that vibe:

Efforts to craft an upset narrative acknowledge Daugaard's frontrunner status while ignoring why he has it. He's been winning buy-in from Republican stakeholders by fundraising since 2007. He's got plenty of that money left to go to war with the Dems right away on June 9. He's the lieutenant to one of the most popular sitting governors in the country. That approval is going to be even higher among Republicans... and they're the folks making the choice tomorrow. Shout something about Daugaard being four more years of Rounds, and the folks voting tomorrow are more likely to say, "Cool!"

(Daugaard also has the best story and the best face of the bunch. If he grew Knuppe's mustache, I'd switch registration. Hubba, hubba.)

Joel Rosenthal likes Dave Knudson's ads. Mr. Rosenthal's commentary reminds me of the very different political world I live in. Thanks to the glory of the digital conversion, we no longer receive commercial TV. My picture of the political world is thus very different. I might see an ad once, if someone points it out to me on YouTube, but then it's gone, and I'm back to reading the news and the blogs. The only thing I've read indicating Knudson has made progress with voters is the May Rasmussen poll that shows Knudson and Daugaard as the only Republicans who poll stronger than Democratic challenger Scott Heidepriem.

The Munsterman wave is alive and well... in the imaginations of the pro-Munsterman blogosphere. Pat Powers insists that big media support for Knudson "continues Daugaard's rapid erosion of voters." Various commenters offer lots of "everyone I talk to likes Munsterman" talk. "Everyone I talk to" is the perfect introduction to the self-selecting and thus invalid sample. I have yet to hear any objective evidence from any objective observer that Munsterman or anyone else is putting a dent in Daugaard's support.

Journalist Bob Mercer does entertain the Munsterman question. He says any purported Munsterman surge is either a hoax or "the greatest stealth groundswell of modern times in South Dakota politics." Mercer says Team Munsterman will be seen as "the pre-eminent grassroots geniuses" of South Dakota politics "if their talk comes true." Given Mercer's opinion of blogs versus good newspapers, I suspect that when he uses genius and blogger in the same sentence, he's joking.

Alas, Gordon Howie doesn't stand a chance. I say alas, because he is the candidate Scott Heidepriem could most handily destroy in November. Howie epitomizes all the reasons the Tea Party can't govern. He thought he saw a big wave coming, he grabbed his surfboard and leapt into the water... but he forgot to tie his swim trunks. And now he's caught in low tide with his tax pants down, behind $58,000 on his property taxes thanks to irresponsible land speculation.

Ken Knuppe failed to transform himself from dark horse to race horse. As a rancher never before elected to public office, he had the best chance to capitalize on any anti-insider sentiment. but he never built the campaign machine or momentum to establish himself in the public consciousness as a viable alternative or an embodiment of any new vision or policy direction folks might be looking for.

I stand by my numbers. Daugaard's going to win tomorrow and rumble hard with Heidepriem.

Republicans, feel free to prove me wrong me at the polls.


  1. Here's why Scott Munsterman could be in a runoff with Daugaard after tomorrow night. Official polling numbers show Munsterman gaining the most with Daugaard losing the highest percentage. While you're right about Rounds' popularity, Daugaard is not considered as charismatic and debates have hurt him. The main reason Munsterman may be runoff material is because voters have been showing anti-establishment in many elections, even in Sioux Falls' mayoral race. Musterman is a proven leader, with eight successful growth years as Brookings' mayor, and he's not a Pierre insider. He fits the picture of what people are leaning to. Something new, something fresh, no special interests that perhaps Daugaard and Knudson may represent. Who knows, but I definately feel there will be a runoff with Scott Munsterman as one of the pair.

  2. Off topic, but since you mentioned it...

    Looks like you're still having those digital conversion woes, we are too, so we've ordered what looks like a cross between the apollo project and the mars rover for our roof.

    I can do without the commercial side of band, but we gotta get back our 3 PBS channels, thank god the radio still works, everyday!

    This digital conversion may have happened before the necessary technology was 1) available to work within rural areas 2) affordable for those who use the over-the-air signal, 3)constant and dependable.

    I don't believe the digital conversion woes of everyday South Dakotans has been a topic yet within the Governor's race, perhaps it should be, since so many of us, at least at one time, received our information for free, over the air.

    Just leaves more time for this trouble-making blogging thing.

    Anyhow, I'll let you know how 'moon-raker' works out, maybe we should start a Lake county survey of channel strength and positions, and general help too.

  3. [Chris: Broadcast television isn't worth that much effort. Send back the rover, watch Nova online.]

    I hate to delete the occasional Anons who say really smart things. An anonymous commenter drops by to ask just which polls show Daugaard losing support. Daugaard's three Rasmussen numbers have held steady, floating within the margin of error. No poll shows Munsterman gaining. On anti-incumbent/pro-outsider sentiment, Anon cites five states—OR, CA, IA, MD, GA—that are nominating former governors to do the job again. Sioux Falls didn't elect an outsider: Staggers won a meager plurality in a six-way race, then got thumped in the runoff by a rich banker, not an outsider.

    The Munsterman wave is at best wishful thinking, at worst a cynical attempt to manufacture public sentiment.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.


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