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Monday, October 25, 2010

RMA Gov Poll Questions Pushy Compared to Rasmussen

I mentioned yesterday the RMA Research poll that shows South Dakota Democratic candidate for governor Scott Heidepriem within six points of Republican Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard, with over 20% of likely voters still up for grabs. That prompted a friend of mine who also happens to be a fervent Daugaard supporter to contact me. This friend received one of the phone calls from RMA Research for the most recent poll. Below are notes my friend took during the call. The questions asked make clear RMA Research was conducting a push poll geared to test messages for Team Heidepriem.

How likely are you to vote?

Pick what issue is most important to you in this election cycle:
  • Jobs and the economy
  • Decrease in Education spending
  • No bid contracts to political groups
  • some others (mostly anti-Dennis)
How's South Dakota's economy?

How's South Dakota's economy compared to other Plains states?

Who are you supporting? [CAH note: Whom. Rephrase the question as a statement: You are supporting ____. Direct object goes in the blank. You are supporting whom? You are supporting him....]

When did you decide who[m!!!] you were supporting?
  • After the June Primary
  • In the past 2 weeks
  • in the last week
How strong is your support? [My friend replied "strong," but a later question repeated my friend's answer as "somewhat strong"—check the script, kids!]

Impression of these people?
  • Daugaard
  • Rounds
  • Heidepreim
  • (Bill) Janklow
Job Performance?
  • Rounds as Gov
  • Dennis as Lt. Gov
  • Scott as Minority Leader
  • Obama as President
How do these issues affect whether or not you're voting for Dennis?
  • Raises to top executives who and then those executives contributions to Dennis.
  • Increased spending and adding FTE's.
  • 10 state airplanes that Dennis and Rounds use at their will, and Valhalla which Dennis and Rounds use as they please and was remodeled with taxpayer money.
  • Decrease in education spending under Dennis' watch.
[The individual polled says each of the above items came with at least a paragraph-long description. The poll then asked if each item made the subject less likely, more likely, or had no effect on the subject's decision to vote for Dennis.

Rate the 4 previous issues on a scale of 1-4 if they make you really less likely to vote for Dennis, somewhat less likely, no effect or more likely.

After this information are you still somewhat strongly supporting Dennis? [This is where the pollster misquoted my friend's "strong" support cited earlier.]

For Secretary of State are you voting for Ben the Democrat or Jason Grant? [My friend says this was the question word for word.]

Compare RMA Research's questions and order with those used by Rasmussen, which last week found Daugaard leading Heidepriem 55% to 36%:

1* If the 2010 Election for Governor of South Dakota were held today would you vote for Republican Dennis Daugaard or Democrat Scott Heidepriem? (Please note that we split the survey to rotate the order of the candidate names, so while half will hear the Republican candidate first, the other half hears the Democrat mentioned first.)
  • Dennis Daugaard
  • Scott Heidepriem
  • Some Other Candidate
  • Not Sure
2* I’m going to read you a short list of people in the News. For each, please let me know if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable impression.
  • Daugaard
  • Heidepriem
3*A proposal has been made to repeal the health care bill and stop it from going into effect. Do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal to repeal the health care bill?

4* The health care plan passed by Congress requires every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Do you Strongly Favor, Somewhat Favor, Somewhat Oppose, or Strongly Oppose a federal law that requires every American to buy or obtain health insurance?

5* Should individual states have the right to opt out of the entire national health care plan?

6* Generally speaking, how would you rate the U.S. economy these days? Excellent, good, fair, or poor?

7* Are economic conditions in the country getting better or worse?

8* Do you consider yourself part of the Tea Party Movement?

9* How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as President… do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the job he’s been doing?

10* How would you rate the job Mike Rounds has been doing as Governor… do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the job he’s been doing?

Both polls are what they are. Looking just at the questions, Rasmussen's poll is trying to find where people stand on the candidates and the issues, while RMA's poll is trying to find the messages that may get people to move toward their candidate.

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