Senate races

GOP poll: South Dakota Senate race tightens

Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds continues to lead in the state’s Senate race, but his advantage over Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler has narrowed in recent weeks, according to a new poll released Monday. 

Rounds leads Weiland 37 to 33 percent in the automated survey from Republican firm Harper Polling, with former GOP senator Pressler pulling 23 percent. A second independent candidate, Gordon Howie, garners 5 percent of the vote.

{mosads}That’s a departure from the double-digit leads Rounds was routinely posting throughout the summer for the seat of retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and an indication that the once certain Republican pickup might be in play.

The survey found that Pressler was seen far more favorably among likely voters than any other candidate, with 55 percent viewing him positively and 17 percent viewing him negatively. By contrast, 46 percent see Rounds favorably versus 51 percent who see him unfavorably. And while 48 percent see Weiland favorably, 43 percent see him unfavorably.

But the Democrat and the leading independent are facing strong headwinds in South Dakota, where voters want to send a Republican to the Senate. 

Asked generally which party they wanted their next candidate to hail from, 47 percent of likely South Dakota voters picked the GOP while just four in 10 said Democrats and 10 percent said an independent. Just 44 percent of voters there see President Obama favorably, while 55 percent see him negatively.

Still, Democrats are hoping to convert on the opportunity presented by Rounds’s fading campaign. Last week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced it was putting $1 million into the race and released its first ad hitting Rounds on Monday. 

The IVR poll surveyed 630 likely voters from Oct. 9 to Oct. 11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. 

Tags Larry Pressler Mike Rounds Rick Weiland South Dakota Senate Tim Johnson

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