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Friday, October 8, 2010

Indian Summer for Kristi: Rasmussen Shows Noem's Last Lead

Let's imagine the reaction from the various campaigns to the latest Rasmussen poll on South Dakota's hard-fought U.S. House race:

B. Thomas Marking: 6% for "Some Other Candidate"? Hey, that's me! I suspended my campaign and went up 50%! I am a campaign judo master!

Kristi Noem: I'm up again! Yippee! That's a trend, right? Huh? Statistical margin of error? What's that? Ooooh, stop talking about hard schooly things! Come take more pictures of me on my horsey.

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: I'm gone most of the month doing my job, and Noem can't move her numbers up. Ha! But we should not be tied with this phony cowgirl. We have four weeks, people: let's throw some elbows.

I was less surprised by the Rasmussen October numbers showing Noem at 47%, Herseth Sandlin at 44%, than by the fact that one of my correspondents, Mr. Troy Jones, had just the evening before predicted the numbers would come out favoring Noem 47–45. If he needs it, Mr. Jones could probably drum up more financial business by advertising prognosticative powers like that.

So what do this month's numbers tell us? Noem did pick up support among her own party, bringing previously shaky numbers in the sixties up to par with Herseth Sandlin's 80% in-party. Herseth Sandlin is expanding her lead among independents... but as Mr. Montgomery points out, those party subsamples have bigger margins of error than the ±4.5% for the full sample of 500.

Those in either camp ascribing significance to the numbers will read them this way: Herseth Sandlin flipped the lead in August with strong debate performance and Noem's ceaseless missteps and arrogance on her court record and on policy. September brought Noem a much needed respite where she didn't have to face the Congresswoman, who returned to Washington for session. Noem could play her friendly audiences and look good without Herseth Sandlin around to make her look small and unready.

That's why Noem backed out of the KOTA debate. Noem knows that, when she has to debate the real Congresswoman from South Dakota and not the Pelosi bogeywoman, her scripted message falls flat, and people remember why they like Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. It's not because Stephanie is nice and pretty (and too much of Noem's campaign relies on winning on those characteristics); it's because Stephanie can do the job.

And now Stephanie and her crew have another important job to do: keeping a pretender, a woman who can't talk coherent policy, from usurping South Dakota's lone House seat.

Think of this latest Rasmussen lead as your Indian summer, Ms. Noem. Team Herseth Sandlin is back in town, and they're going to knock the leaves off your tree.


  1. I'm back in town too and on the warpath against anyone who wears red or blue tinted blinders. I wonder what will happen when folks find out "Somebody Else" has a name, and good credentials, and new ideas?


    B. T.

  2. Cory: "Those in either camp ascribing significance to the numbers will read them this way"

    I don't think that is the way people outside of Herseth's supporters will "read them."

    Maybe they are saying: Stimulus didn't work. Economy continues to get worse despite representations otherwise (I can't believe Obama actually said today "the trend is going the right way"). We have now had the longest period with unemployment above 9.5% since the Depression (14 months).

  3. Cory: I am not sure that "Indian Summer" is politically correct. Isn't that like "Indian giver"?

    I understand that you have decided to be a cheerleader for HS, after you gave up trying to torpedo HS, but surely you see the problem.

    She is an incumbent behind the challenger with only a few weeks before the election. She has never crested 50% in an independent poll all year. All over the U.S., independents are breaking heavily for the GOP. SD is a majority Republican state.

    What reason is there to believe that HS will come back to win?

  4. Ken: ...no more politically incorrect than Mr. Marking's invocation of "warpath." I haven't received the memo yet on the permissible term for 80-degree weather in October... and unless it's really, really good, I probably won't use it!

    (B. Thomas: Get on that warpath! I still think you're going to get beat, but I can respect soemone who fights hard to the finish. Hit that warpath!)

    Troy: if the stimulus isn't doing everything it could, it's because Republican thinking is hamstringing us from doing all we could with it... like rebuilding infrastructure.

    And back to Ken: Rasmussen's own data says SD's indies are not breaking heavily for the GOP in this specific race. Be careful of overapplying national trends to our specifics.

    Our specifics also include a GOP candidate who falls apart when challenged by a tough and well-informed Democratic incumbent. SHS has already "come back." August killed Noem's lead, because August brought debates and head-to-head campaigning. October will bring more of the same.

  5. Cory, Cory Cory:

    The "Stimulus" was sold as means to stimulate the economy, which by extention was to stimulate the hiring of private workers. Or to be generous to Obama, to keep unemployment below 8%. It didn't work. Since passage, unemployment quickly grew to over 9.5% and has continued there for 14 months.

    All of the "causes" whether it be infrastructure or anything else the means to accomplish a stimulus of the economy.

    And to blame Republicans is ludicrous. You passed it with nary a GOP vote. Obama, Herseth, and Democrats own it.

    After the election, remind me and I'll tell you the three pivotal "events" which moved this race in Noem's favor with regard to things Herseth did or failed to do. I'll also tell you the two things Noem did to insure her victory. And, all of them transcend the national/local mood against Democrats and Obama.

  6. My hunch: If we see any change between now and election day, it will show up as a slight increase in Kristi Noem's lead. Kristi suffered a temporary setback (the driving and warrant mini-scandal) from which she has, I suspect, largely recovered.

    When people call Kristi Noem a "cowgirl" they only help her. She also has a great ad out on TV now, with her kids playing a board game and expressing their concern about "owing forty-two-thousand dollars." It's one of the best campaign ads I've ever seen from any candidate.

    I'm still mulling over which little dot I'll fill in ... it's a tough choice between two good candidates.


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