Here is an interesting poll I came across from the 2010 Governor’s primary of Republican voters.
Almost 70 percent of those surveyed said South Dakota is headed in the right direction; 83 percent gave the governor a favorable rating; and 81 percent said they think the next governor should continue Rounds? policies.
What stood out to me is the fact that 81% of Republican primary voters said the next governor should continue Rounds’ policies. That number is nothing to scoff at. And as Bob Mercer wrote following the 2010 primary:
It?s likely Daugaard will post wins in 64 or 65 of South Dakota?s 66 counties. This can be interpreted as a mandate. Support for Daugaard also seems to parallel the favorable ratings that remained above 60 percent this spring for term-limited Gov. Mike Rounds, who strongly endorsed Daugaard in the closing weeks of the campaign. In that respect the outcome of this primary is also a final endorsement by a majority of Republican voters for the Rounds administration. If Daugaard represents the status quo ? and that?s how his four opponents portrayed him ? then tonight?s results are a victory for the status quo.
We are often told that Rounds was an accidental Governor. I’d like to disagree. He had smart people working for him who made a smart strategic move regarding campaign practices. It is true that Kirby and Barnett fighting opened the door to the possibility of a Mike Rounds victory but Rounds didn’t just squeak it out, he won handily.
In the 2002 primary Rounds won with 44.3% (49,331 votes) Mark Barnett came in second with 29.5% (32,868) and Kirby brought up the rear with 26.1% (29,069). Clearly voters weren’t just turned off by Kirby and Barnett’s negative campaigning, they evidently also liked Mike Rounds.
In the general election, Rounds received 56.7% (189,920) and in 2006, 61.6% (206,990).