The Campaign Spot

Noem Retakes a Small Lead in South Dakota

South Dakota Democratic incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s lead in last month’s Rasmussen poll had a lot of readers nervous.

It didn’t last:

Republican Kristi Noem has edged back into the lead over incumbent Democrat Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin in South Dakota’s U.S. House race.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in South Dakota finds Noem with 47% support, while Herseth-Sandlin earns 44% of the vote. Six percent (6%) like another candidate in the race, and three percent (3%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.

It remains a very close race. Noem fell slightly behind Herseth-Sandlin last month 47% to 45% for the first time since winning the Republican Primary in early June.

Noem, it appears, is beginning to overcome the impact of news reports about her questionable driving record. Herseth-Sandlin was elected to Congress in 2004 following the resignation of GOP Congressman Bill Janklow who was convicted of manslaughter after he killed a motorcyclist while running a stop sign at high speed.

Can a Kristi Noem win be guaranteed? No, Herseth Sandlin has won in this increasingly deep-red state before. But the past two cycles have had energized Democrats and grumbling Republicans; this cycle, that is reversed. If Stephanie Herseth Sandlin isn’t beaten in this cycle, she will probably represent South Dakota in that seat for as long as she likes.

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