Internal poll: Dem gaining ground in SD

South Dakota Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland released a new internal survey showing him gaining ground on his Republican opponent, former Gov. Mike Rounds, with room to grow.

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The survey, conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling for Weiland’s campaign, gives Rounds 39 percent support among likely voters, while Weiland takes 33 percent support. Two former Republicans running as independents also register—former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler nets 17 percent, while former Republican state Sen. Gordon Howie has 4 percent support.

It's an improvement for Weiland, when an early August survey showed him trailing Rounds by 8 points.

The poll also shows Weiland is considerably better-liked than Rounds, with 48 percent of respondents viewing him favorably to just 27 percent saying they view him negatively. In contrast, voters perceive Rounds more evenly. Though he left office well-liked, he now splits between 47 percent viewing him negatively and 44 percent positively.

Rounds is still the favorite in the race, due in part to the red lean of the state. But he's also benefited from Weiland's candidacy, which some South Dakota political operatives believe could be too progressive to appeal to voters there.

That’s a sentiment shared by national Democrats, who have all but abandoned his campaign. Still, Weiland seems confident he can make it a strong race in time for Election Day.

The automated survey was conducted from Aug. 27 to 28 among 709 likely voters in the state, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.