Mitchell Daily Republics fixation

Herseth Sandlin/Noem

I enjoy Denise Ross and Tom Lawrence’s inquisitive reporting style at the Mitchell Daily Republic, and I like the paper. Personally I don’t care that the Nielson poll was released one way or the other. Polls are fun to talk about, and we all know without exerting too much brain power that a rematch between Herseth Sandlin and Noem would be very close.

But I don’t understand why the MDR has chosen to make that poll the topic of so many recent stories.

First they reported on the poll Sept 20. Fine – whatever – most papers didn’t even acknowledge the poll.

Then the MDR’s political blog Republic Insider became defensive over the fact they published it.

Now nine days later, the MDR’s editorial board thinks that they need to take a position on the poll. Funny thing is, they didn’t even get the wild numbers right when quoting the poll.

According to Nielson Brothers, results showed that Herseth Sandlin would beat Noem 59 percent to 25 percent. The remaining 16 percent of respondents were undecided.

Those numbers cited actually were Noem’s lead over an unnamed Democrat. The race between Noem and SHS was:

Herseth Sandlin would defeat Noem 58 to 37 percent, with 5 percent undecided

The editorial read like one more way to diminish Noem.

We do not agree with all of Noem?s policies or political tendencies, but we do feel she deserves a chance to make her own imprint on Congress before hailing her as a savior to South Dakota politics or declaring her a loser in 2012. Opinions about Noem seem to be one or the other, with little sentiment in between… She has not yet made a splash in Congress, but neither has she hurt South Dakota in her year in office.

I guess being elected to serve as the freshman liaison to leadership from one of the largest freshman classes in the history of our country does not qualify as a splash to the MDR’s editorial board…

63 Replies to “Mitchell Daily Republics fixation”

  1. Clay Bill

    You believe Mr. Lawrence became defensive when writing about why the Daily Republic decided to give news coverage to the poll?

    Read his blog entry again, specifically: “The other factor has been a determined effort by the South Dakota GOP to persuade the media not to cover the poll. We received the messages and I know the rest of the state?s media did.”

    It’s the state GOP that has had a panic attack about this poll. The Daily Republic merely reported about it, and followed up with commentary on its blog and editorial page.

  2. jeez

    They are trying to hurt Noem.

    And they can’t even get the results right. They are trying to make people think noem is not popular.

  3. Anonymous

    I hope someone else does a poll about this and rounds for senate. SHS will be ahead against noem in a Rasmussen poll too. Rounds would be ahead of noem for senate as well.

  4. Name

    Someone told me the other day that they think Heidepriem campaign manager Steve Jarding is behind the Nielson poll. Jarding and the Nielson Bros. are old buddies from Mitchell (so the story goes).

    When it was late in the 2010 gubernatorial race, and Heidepriem needed some way to claim there was hope for his campaign, NBP came in with a poll just in time – although it was wildly different than any other poll conducted the whole year.

    And of course, to give their firm credibility, they released other polls that were more or less on the mark.

    Now, a year later, they released a batch of reasonable-sounding results, and then a House poll that is not quite so believable.

    And the story is that Jarding and Tom Lawrence are pretty close too.

    That’s all pretty fanciful and it probably isn’t true. But it all kind of makes sense…

    1. Tom Lawrence

      A spirited debate has ensued, huh?
      Since my name — I’m Tom Lawrence of The Daily Republic — has arisen, i will make my second ever comment on SDWC and will do so under my name.
      A few facts, if that is acceptable on a blog. I am a registered and practicing independent in politics. Feel free to check.
      I have covered both Noem and SHS and respect both for their skills and love of our state.
      Heck, I enjoyed B. Thomas Marking a lot. Interesting man.
      I enjoy the spirit and the exchanges on these blogs, and as a neutral observer with his name in the arena, I guess that makes me fair game. So no complaints.
      First, I have met Mr. Jarding once, for a few minutes, in Rapid City a few years ago. I haven’t talked with or exchanged e-mails with him in months.
      I speak and exchange e-mails with GOP spokesmen and officials far more often for the simple reason that there are far, far more Republicans in office and in posts of influence in our state.
      Was the Nielson poll right? I am unsure. Did you have a right to see it, debate it and argue about it? Of course. That’s why we are writing about it and remain puzzled why other media is keeping this data from people.
      Read our story on the SHS-Noem poll for what i believe, and GOP insiders have told me, is a balanced, fair look at the poll.
      It’s also worth noting that a week earlier, the Nielsons offered poll numbers on Gov. Daugaard, showing him with 60 percent approval, and no one objected. Those numbers received widespread media attention.
      Same poll. Same company. Done at the same time. One is OK to cover. The other is completely biased!
      Hmmm.
      I plan to listen and learn more in the coming months and look forward to seeing the debate waged here and across South Dakota.
      I trust South Dakotans and will follow their views and votes. That’s our job in journalism.
      But more importantly, it’s time for the baseball playoffs, pheasant season and Hobo Day. See you at Nick’s.

      1. Anonymous

        I liked that the MDR ran the story and poll. I liked that you discussed it on the blog but the editorial thing today was a bit much. In fact it was a lot too much.

        It would be one thing if SHS was really running but since she isn’t even really expected to run than I think it pushed the limits.

        1. Anonymous

          I would rather see the MDR grill Noem on not holding a town hall like she told you she would do back in the debate with SHS.

          The one when she told SHS off for running away from town halls with Obamacare… Where was Noem on the issues in 2010?

      2. Dakota Kid

        Tom, do you deny having a long conversation with Jarding after the Dakotafest debate last summer? I was there and remember it because I was surprised by how much time you spent together engaged in very friendly conversation.

        The earlier neilson poll was a set up so Heidepriem could make the momentum pitch- which your paper assisted with in its Oct. 18 story entitled “Poll: Heidepriem gains, Daugaard slips”

      3. aNON

        “A few facts, if that is acceptable on a blog.” …come on… was that really necessary? That sounds like typical media arrogance. The old, antiquated mindset that that says, “only the facts can be found in the main stream media, and no where else.”

        That ship has sailed.

  5. caheidelberger

    “trying to hurt Noem”? Well, at least you guys can recognize damnation by faint praise when you see it. The editorial says we should dismiss the poll and give Noem a chance because, even though she hasn’t made a splash, she hasn’t hurt South Dakota. That’s an awfully low standard for re-election.

    And in trying to refute Noem’s splashlessness, notice that, as usual, the DWC defenders can’t point to any policy achievements; they only bumble into the trap of cheering Noem’s going Washington and thus betraying her own Tea Party supporters. “Leadership” generally involves leading us toward solutions. What practical legislation has Noem gotten passed? Come on, Hans/Bill, you can do better than this.

    1. anon

      Let’s see….she’s been there a little less than a year. Tim Johnson has been there for eternity….what meaningful legislation has he ever passed??

  6. Anonymous

    What were Herseth’s first term policy achievements? What about Tim Johnson’s in the House? Thune? Daschle? What dud Congressman Janklow, inarguably experienced, smart, and effective, accomplish in his short tenure?

    Freshman have very little power. That is why you need to give them time. Stephanie, after a couple terms, was starting to make a name for herself. So will Kristi – and given her leadership role and noticeably frequent national interviews, she is on the right track.

  7. Anonymous

    “I guess being elected to serve as the freshman liaison to leadership from one of the largest freshman classes in the history of our country does not qualify as a splash to the MDR?s editorial board?”
    Nor does it qualify as a splash to ordinary south dakotans. the title or position doesn’t do anything for the state. and noem needs no help when it comes to ‘making her look bad.’

  8. insomniac

    I would put SHS at 54-46 right now in a head to head with Noem.

    Obama might be such a problem for Dems in 2012 that if he wasn’t on the ballot I’d give it to SHS but I think Noem would win in the end just cause Obama is on the ballot.

  9. veldy

    There was a poll taken just about 11 months ago, one that mattered, should settle the issue for the next 2 or 3 months

  10. Lee Schoenbeck

    This is all fun for bloggers, but the reality is that SHS isn’t leaving DC to run. Every time the Dems, mostly BJ and his followers, dust that story off – SHS gets beat up again for a fight she won’t be in. BJ, I know it’s good theatre for you to create a stir in the ranks, but you really ought to leave SHS alone to raise her son in DC until such time as she comes back here and says she wants to get in the ring again and take some swings and punches.

    1. 73*

      I would like to see another paper do a poll on this.

      How long do you think it will take Noem’s camp to release a poll showing Noem defeating SHS?

    2. BF

      Reminds me of the reason Bob Kerrey gave for thinking twice about getting back into politics, Lee. He noted that in his current occupation, he had quite a bit of respect from his peers, but as soon as one throws one’s hat into the ring they become “good for nothing bums.”

      It’s hard to see why anyone would want to subject themselves to that in this political climate? It makes it hard to rise to the task of serving a thankless constituency.

      One would have to be practically delusional… (hmmm… now there’s a thought… delusional. Hmmm…) let me get back to you on this, Lee.

    3. Ghost of 2010

      Herseth will only get positive praise from the media for the next few years.

      Noem ran a negative campaign in the general. I have always wished she’d have continued the positive theme of the primary.

      Noem will be strong but she will have negatives. I would be surprised if she can win reelection this next cycle with numbers comparable to SHS in ’06 and ’08. That will make her look week.

  11. Duh

    The MDR spewing it’s misinformation about SHS is like the GOP trying to wrestle Chris Christie into running for President when he has no desire. SHS would not defeat Kristi. SHS represents all that is wrong with pinhead policies. She is DOA.

    Caheidlebergerbergerwithfries keeps asking what Kristi has done. First and foremost, her refusal to let DC keep spending. It really doesn’t matter here as pinheads are fiscally defunct, they never can understand the simple math that you cannot spend more than you bring in. SHS showed that after her whacking in the election, leaving town $46,000 in the red and screwing over landlords by prematurely ditching leases on campaign headquarters.

    The attention spent on SHS by the pinheads REALLY underlines the fact that they have no one else on the wings with any name recognition or credibility to run for anything substantive.

    MDR can write all they want, but unless a meat packing plant comes to Mitchell, dems have no chance in hell of getting any substantial votes out of there. It’s GOP land there folks so put the pen away and start packing.

    Pinheads are a sorry sight indeed.

    1. Anonymous

      I must have missed Noem’s “refusal to let DC keep spending.” Wasn’t it just last week she’s pushing to give taxpayer funds to non-financially responsible folks to repair their luxury riverfront homes in advance of next year’s flooding – when she will push for more flood welfare for the same people?

      Rep. Noem’s just a politics-as-usual, cookie cutter, partisan rubber stamp like most congress members in both parties. No compromise for the public good – just gamesmanship for partisan advantage. She wants to play the DC game and collect a fat paycheck rather than reforming the system. No shared sacrifice – just calls for everyone else to sacrifice. She wants to cut spending that goes to other states but not SD.

      Noem won’t eliminate ethanol subsidies that have outlived their usefulness, or reform disaster relief in which every storm every year is a “disaster” triggering taxpayer fleecing, or cut bloated military spending. She hasn’t pushed to scale back the federal government by returning functions to state and local governments – like for building regional water systems, DUI enforcement in cities and towns, and road repair in every city and town.

      The federal government has assumed too many duties from every level of government below it. Under the present system, the federal budget will never be balanced. Rep. Noem, like Rep. Herseth before her, has not addressed the structural problems in government. She’ll just bump around in the present system – continuing to point fingers at the other side, engratiating herself to GOP leadership for personal gain, proposing local spending while decrying deficits, fiddling while DC burns. Noem has been there long enough to see that she is part of the problem, not the solution.

  12. Troy Jones

    Two comments:

    First, I understand the Dem’s use of SHS. Lee is right. She isn’t running but they have no place to show viability for this race without SHS. They have to keep the troops fired up for something. I’m not sure this is good for SHS as the disappointment will only soil her legacy. Same with Palin allowing the speculation to continue. Whatever Thune and Christie are sacrificing in short-term gain/publicity, their clear decision will have long-term positive impact on their credibility.

    Second, David Montgomery posted on Mt. Blogmore a really good analysis of this poll raising sufficient legitimate points that makes the results virtually meaningless on all ends (KN beating an unnamed Democrat or SHS beating KN). To the extent the MDR is “defensive” in coverage, it is probably related to they didn’t see the obvious Montgomery points out.

    1. Tom Lawrence

      Troy:
      First, thanks for using your name. Maybe you can set an example here.
      I read David’s blog, which came out five days after my story and three or four days after he read and learned from my story and blog, as he referenced. I was glad to help and admire him trying to learn more about S.D.
      Is the MDR defensive? Wrong, but neither will I be a target for off-base comments. We will continue to cover this story and future stories on the state’s sole congressional seat and will listen to all sides and examine all information.
      Toss insults all you wish but the fact is, we were first and offered the most balanced, nuanced account. I hope you have read it, like young David did, and gained some insight.

  13. Scarecrow

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to know that SHS was leading in a hypothetical rematch.

    I disagree with Lee about SHS not coming back. She will be back in 2014 for Senate to avenge her defeat and to take Noem out. I would also put SHS as the frontrunner to that election because Senate candidates have lots of money and Noem will probably not be overly popular.

    Rounds would be the strongest challenger to take the Senate seat from the Dems. He has very high positives and low negatives. My support will be with Rounds. I also agree that SHS will not want to run against Rounds for Senate.

    But there is an added incentive for her to defeat Noem. Those ladies hang on to a lot of bad blood.

  14. Anonymous

    SHS isn’t coming back bank on it. (I wish she would!) I would like to see the wording of this poll as well as the break down by party of the people they talked to. I know Cory believes this poll is the only accurate poll out there but i am not so sure it is accurate at all. I keep remember how Cory kept repeating it’s results last year during the Governor’s race and how dumb it made him look.

    1. grudznick

      Don’t beat my good friend Bill up too much on that one, he had to try and keep a stiff upper lip in public. Privately, behind the scenes at breakfast he was admitting the Republican kicking-of-butt.

  15. anon

    Herseth actually looks like the more attractive of the two in those photos. Noem’s congressional photos do not come off as overly good looking.

  16. Liddy

    this poll is a fake set-up being pedaled by Democratic operatives and the Mitchell paper was dumb enough to fall for it when nobody else was, it’s that simple

  17. thc

    More victimology from perhaps the biggest pack of whiners in political history – South Dakota Republicans.
    Keep sucking those thumbs children. And hold your breath until you turn blue.
    Gaahhhhh….and most of you could use a spelling checker – if not a full K-12 education.

  18. Tom Lawrence

    Why all the anonymous comments? What do people fear? Or are there just a couple people making all these snide, mean-spirited statements?
    A fact or two: The NBP also released numbers on Gov. Daugaard’s standing recently. That was reported by most media in the state, even though those numbers were compiled in the same survey as SHS-Noem.
    Why was that OK but the Noem-SHS numbers off limits? Please answer that.
    Is it because there wasn’t as much pressure on media outlets to suppress those figures? Believe me, it happened and media staffers across the state have told me of it. I know it for a fact.
    At the MDR, we just didn’t let someone make our decisions for us and I am saddened to see all the “reporters” who did. Not surprised, however.
    The NBP at the end of the 2010 campaign has a 2-point lead for Noem and said Marking would get 6 pct. Both were exactly right.
    If, as is being claimed, they were trying to elect SHS, why those numbers at the end of a close race?
    Please answer that.
    What to make of our recent online poll, which gave SHS a big lead, or the Yankton paper’s online poll, which did the same? Or reports that Republican incumbents across the country have lost points in polls.
    Please answer that.
    And try to grasp this: I am an independent and don’t have a horse in this race. I vote for and admire Republicans, Democrats and independents. Labeling me a Democratic operative is insulting and inaccurate.
    My Republican grandfather, who attended Calvin Coolidge’s speech at South Dakota State College in 1927, would not be pleased.
    When SHS’ old staff tried to manipulate the media in 2006 and 2006, I resisted. I interviewed Bruce Whalen and Chris Lien several times and felt SHS was trying to ignore them and act as if there was no campaign.
    A lot of supposed journalists fell for it then and are doing so now. Incumbents have power and influence and use it. That’s understandable, but reporters and voters shouldn’t allow themselves to be used so casually.
    Oh, and “Liddy,” you meant “peddled,” not “pedaled.” We were not dumb; we were being responsible. People have a right to information and reporters and editors have an obligation to seek it out.
    I welcome the exchange but wish people showed the guts to use their real names and some facts and not cower behind fake names and childish invective.

    1. oldguy

      And what did NBP have in for a final number in last year’s governor race? Did NBP release the specifics of the poll like how Dem’s ,Rep’s,and Independents or the age’s they surveyed, or if they voted in the last election or even show you the questions that were asked? Not trying to argue really wondering.

      1. Tom Lawrence

        Yes, i have read the Noem-SHS questions and planned to write about them. Still may.
        They are pretty bland.
        I have been offered the poll specifics but have not studied them, nor have i looked at the Rasmussen figures or other polls. I am not going to pretend to be a polling expert.
        I see my role as reporting the numbers and seeking informed comment from involved parties.
        I wrote about the Gov poll. Please read the first story on this to see that we examined the NBP’s history.
        Their final poll in the 2010 governor’s race showed a widening lead for DD, but obviously they were well off in that race. What that means is unclear.
        Polls are snapshots and sometimes murky ones.
        As i wrote in my blog on this, in 1994 the Argus did a poll days before the GOP governor’s primary and said Walter Dale Miller had a double-digit lead on Janklow, who actually won by a large margin.
        That poll was about 30 points off and had the wrong winner. What does that mean about Argus polls?
        I think it is noteworthy how the SD GOP has assailed the Noem-SHS poll while accepting the Daugaard poll. They must really fear SHS. Should they?
        I am unsure if she will ever run again. She has lost two of five races for Congress and may decide to wait for years, see what Johnson does or maybe run for governor some year. Or maybe she will just make money and enjoy life away from pestering journalists and anonymous blog posters.
        If she runs in 2012, and i don’t think even she knows yet, it will be another interesting race.
        Some tell me a presidential election year is a good time for a SD Democrat, since it brings more Democrats to the polls. Others say it’s a big year for the GOP, since they always carry SD. SHS won in a walk in 2008, by the way.
        I feel the media’s job is to share information with the public and allow informed readers to make their choices. To do that, we cannot be the lackeys of the political parties and that is what they seek.
        Again, in the blog I wrote, which is linked in this post, I note how media that are not reporting the Noem-SHS poll are printing Noem’s press releases and pretending they are news.
        SHS did the same thing when she was in office. I feel her easy runs in 2006 and 2008, and efforts to ignore and manipulate the media, led in part to her defeat in 2010.
        Jon Lauck wrote of this after the race and I feel Jon was right on the button in a lot of his conclusions.

          1. Noem using poll to fundraise

            From MDR?
            ?Rep. Noem is focused on the job South Dakotans elected her to do by fighting to stop burdensome EPA regulations on farm dust and creating more certainty for small businesses and job creators,? the statement read. ?There will be a time for politics, but that time hasn?t come yet.?

            From Noem?s Facebook page about fundraising?

            ?Rep. Noem is focused on the job South Dakotans elected her to do by fighting to stop burdensome EPA regulations on farm dust and creating more certainty for small businesses and job creators,? the statement read. ?There will be a time for politics, but that time hasn?t come yet.?

            Just this last week, some on the other side started pushing a Democrat ?poll? that isn?t really worth the paper it?s printed on. It showed me losing to former Congresswoman-turned-Lobbyist Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. The ?pollster? refused to release who paid for the poll or even the background information about how they got their numbers, but it shows to what lengths the other side will go to gin up their base and make them believe they have a shot at re-taking South Dakota?s lone House seat and restoring Nancy Pelosi.
            That?s why I need your help. We have a fundraising deadline on September 30th and I haven?t yet reached my fundraising goals for this quarter. We need to raise $20,000 online between now and Friday so that we can post a strong number and show the other side that we?re serious and it will take more than a cooked up ?poll? to discourage us.

            ?The fact that Noem is using this poll to fundraise tells me her internal polling suggests the same issues as the Nielsen poll

            1. anonymous

              The country clubbers didn’t dig deep enough when Speaker Boehner came to town?

              Rep. Noem needs to tell the farmers to pony up because she single-handedly killed the EPA’s (nonexistent) farm dust rules that would have put them out of business, and she continues to fight tooth and nail to squeeze every penny out of the American taxpayer for farm programs (which unfortunately increases Booker’s share of the national debt).

              Why, if every farmer in SD gave Noem just $100 (from their government checks) she would be sitting pretty and their return on investment would be backed by the full faith and credit of the Republican majority in the US House.

        1. Stace Nelson

          I think the Daily Republic is getting an unfair shake in this matter. The poll was news, and they covered it. The editorial was their right as a paper and was not out of line.

          I was one of the folks that was called for the poll in question. The one I took was automated and it had several problems recording my answers. Times that by how many others and it puts the poll in a proper light.

          The results can be used in numerous ways, on either side of the aisle. I don’t think it hurts Congresswoman Noem to be projected as lagging in a theoretical rematch with our former Congresswoman living in DC.

          I am a subscribed customer of the Daily Republic. From what I have seen, the “new” folks over there work hard at bringing fair coverage of issues to the local area. Case in point was the detailed coverage of the Mitchell city manager issue.

          1. Ghost of 2010

            My money says Noem is behind in a hypo rematch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were anywhere from 1%-10%.

            The problem with the MDR is that they are beating a dead horse. I think their editorial board could have at least known what the propper results were in the poll before publishing it. The editorial was a total shot at Noem.

            The poll should have been covered by the other papers. Lawrence is right. Shame on Argus, RCJ AAN, WPO and CJ.

            They are total light weights when any of the political staffers call them.

            1. insomniac

              The only two decent reporters in the state work at the MDR and maybe Woster at the journal.

              Johnathon Ellis is a totall joke when he gets preasured by pushy pols.

  19. oldguy

    again not bugging but wondering if NBP was right on the SHS race last time how could they be so far off on the governors race. (I am a fan of SHS as I felt she tried to do what was right for the state unlike TJ who votes are nothing but partisan votes) Why not do a story on who is really representing South Dakota Thune or Johnson as their votes are different around 8% of the time. They both can’t be right

  20. Anonymous

    Same person who takes Govt health care and then wants to repeal Obama care.You cant have it both ways reminds me of Snooki.

  21. Anonymous

    Noem is scared because all she’s ever had is cupcake press coverage and the MDR doesn’t want to give her softballs like Ellis and Montgomery.

  22. Duh

    Anon: The primary reason for using the country club was privacy. In this day and age of loonie toon pinheads, that is unfortunately necessary. I’ve seen numerous demo fundraisers at millionaires’ houses, too many to count. The difference? Most GOP’ers are too busy working or taking care of their families to waste their time doing stupid protests.

    The problem that pinheads have now is the inability to attract wealthy donors to fundraisers so the politicians can tell them that they’re too rich and they need to pay their “fair share”. Whatever that is.

    Can we have a new topic now, this horse is waaay dead.

    1. Anonymous

      Oh no, the topic isn’t dead but your lifting and use of Bill O’Reilly’s ‘pinhead’ is. Can you name the owners of ‘millionaires’ homes that you’ve seen host demo fundraisers?

  23. SD Thinker

    Jarding has nothing to do with the Nielsen Brothers Polling. Jarding wouldn’t even talk to them during the election.