SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A poll from KELOLAND News, Emerson College and The Hill of 1,500 likely South Dakota voters shows strong support for incumbents in the state’s congressional races.
58% of voters said they would vote for incumbent John Thune, while 27% of respondents said they would vote for his challenger, Democrat Brian Bengs. 5% said they would vote for Libertarian Tamara Lesnar, and 11% said they were undecided.
“I’m not a career politician, so people don’t know me, which is why your polling indicates that, and on the other side when they’re told about me and my background and my platform, then they really appreciate the fact that I’m not a career politician,” Bengs said.
“I’ve seen other polls, and I’m actually polling at 8% so that’s much higher,” Lesnar said. “I am funding my campaign all by myself, so I’m unable to get west of the river and do more campaigning in person.”
The campaign manager for Friends of John Thune sent KELOLAND News a statement: “The most important poll is the one on election day and Senator Thune is working hard to earn the votes of all South Dakotans.”
In the race for South Dakota’s lone spot in the U.S. House of Representatives, incumbent Dusty Johnson holds a decisive advantage. 59% of respondents said they would vote for him, while 16% of respondents said they would vote for Libertarian challenger Collin Duprel. Nearly a quarter of respondents, 24%, said they were undecided.
“Well obviously the numbers are great, but this is a performance evaluation, right, this is where South Dakotans get an opportunity to tell their elected officials what kind of job they think we’ve been doing,” Johnson said.
“I think that we have a good chance of surprising everybody with what our turnout is going to be on actual Election Day,” Duprel said. “I know that we can do polling all day long, every day of the week, all across the state, and you never truly know how people are going to vote until they sit down and they look at those names on the ballot.”
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points; it took place last week.