Interesting article on the SD Electorate this AM in the Argus

The Argus Leader has a very interesting article on the fickle SD electorate this morning written by Jon Walker:
There's something for everyone to like, dislike and wonder about.

The 2006 election is 12 weeks away, and South Dakota voters are proving again that they won't be boxed in. An opinion poll gives midsummer signs that incumbents are safe, the State Fair is safe, and that abortion will remain legal. The same poll leaves enough hope for some now cast as underdogs that they can make up lost ground by Nov. 7.

Between the lines, though, are the unseen forces that puzzle those trying to predict an election in August or find comfort in patterns about South Dakota politics. Voters themselves, discussing results of a Mason-Dixon poll July 24-26 of 800 South Dakotans, see conflicted thinking not only in this year's ballot issues but also in how they'll make their own choices.


"South Dakota is one of the most conservative states in the union politically and culturally," said John Miller, an author and historian who lives in Brookings. "But just like everywhere else, we're kind of like a teeter-totter. We have a strong minority of liberal opinion and more moderate opinion. We kind of rise and fall in these polls like other states."


Roxie Tetrault, 49, is a hairdresser and Spearfish rancher, a Democrat who voted for George Bush in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. She reaches a different conclusion than McClaren.

"I'm a Catholic. I don't believe in abortion. But that's a woman's decision, not the government's," Tetrault said. "I have three boys. I love children. I understand both sides of it. I just think it's wrong we got involved."

She illustrates how voters think the hand of government should touch some issues but not others. She'll vote no on the abortion ban because she disagrees with state intervention, but she'll vote yes on the marriage amendment, also a matter of state intervention.

"I believe in holy matrimony. I think it should be a man and a woman," she said.

Such decision-making is part of what makes voters hard to gauge.


The same respondents in the July polling said by 59 to 29 percent that they would support the ban if it had made exceptions for rape and incest. That's a 38-point swing that hinges on rape and incest, which are factors in about 3 percent of the state's abortions, health officials said. With 800 abortions a year in the the state, that would mean about 25 such cases determining the outcome of the ban. Opponents of the ban say failure to make an exception for women in case of rape or incest shows the extreme nature of the law. Supporters say that if life begins at conception, and if the state has a responsibility to protect it, then life conceived in rape and incest is no less worthy of protection.
Read it all here. With only an 8 percent margin hanging out there between the pro-choice and the pro-life positions on the current ballot amendment (47% to 39%) the margin when rape and incest are introduced - the 38 point swing that they are talking about - is pretty incredible.

Look for talk about rape and incest to be a major component of the fall campaign. The pro-life forces will be spending a lot of time talking about how exceptions for rape and incest ARE allowed under the act, while the pro-choice forces will be talking about how they aren't.

The one thing I didn't see in the polling - where in the heck is the state standing on Amendment E? For an issue that stands to throw our legal and banking systems into such chaos, the media seems to be ignoring it.


johnnie w. said…
IGNORING Amendment E?!?!?

I think the media is ignoring the medical marijuana vote. Big time.
Anonymous said…
And how about that 'too close to call' school start date? Can our children handle the suspense????
PP said…
Eddie -

Regarding your 10:52 comment which you don't see here anymore; While it's not entirely off topic, it's not entirely on, either.

If you want to repost it, I'll allow under the following conditions - Please don't post the whole thing. Best to do just a snippet from the article and a link.

It looked like you had posted the whole article. I think you'd agree that not only does the author deserve credit, but so does the source.
johnnie w. said…
Sorry, PP.

It was an AP article from last week.

I'm horrible with the whole hyperlinks thingy. (I need to fiddle with it and learn!)

For persons interested, South Dakota for Medical Marijuana has sued AG Long with respect to the language on Initiated Measure 4. A hearing is scheduled before Judge Gors in Pierre on Friday.
Anonymous said…
Sweet, Eddie, I'm there. Are you bringing the hippie lettuce or is Bob Newland going to be there. Any chance I can score some? I've got a Kronik pain.

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