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DFP Noem/Jackley Prediction Way Off; Johnson/Krebs/Tapio and Turnout Calls Close!

On Monday, I made three primary predictions. Yesterday, voters proved me close on two out of three:

  1. Wrong: Like most observers, I predicted the gubernatorial race was too close to call, with Marty Jackley maybe clinging to a tiny bit of the edge he seemed to have early over Kristi Noem. Instead, Noem flipped my early expectations and beat Jackley 56% to 44%. Jackley’s purported West River advantage fizzled, as he won Pennington, Meade, Lawrence, Butte, and Corson counties by relatively slim margins but ceded the rest of West River, with Noem winning by larger margins than Jackley’s home-turf Meade margin in 14 of 16 West River counties. Noem won everywhere in East River except Hughes County, where most of Jackley’s employees work, and Lake County, where Jackley enjoyed strong support from the moneyed class.
  2. Close: I predicted the U.S. House race would go 45% for Dusty Johnson, 30% for Shantel Krebs, and 25% for Neal Tapio. I got the order right and the numbers close: Johnson won with 47%, Krebs claimed second at 29%, and Tapio finshed at 24%. Dusty won 62 of 66 counties. Shantel won Harding (41%) and Bennett (38%). In the most disgusting result of the night, racist fearmonger Neal Tapio actually won two counties, Tripp County by 41% and Oglala Lakota County by 35%. The Pine Ridge vote consisted of 28 reservation Republicans going for the man who wants to dissolve Indian reservations, 27 going for Krebs, and 25 going for Johnson. Those 80 Oglala Lakota County Republicans constituted the second-smallest county turnout of Republicans in the state, behind only the 75 Crow Creek voters in Buffalo County.
  3. Close: Based on past primaries, I predicted Republican turnout of 40%, about 100,000 Republicans coming out for two big statewide primaries. The gubernatorial primary drew 100,454 Republican voters, 40.18% of registered Republican voters statewide. 102,506 Republicans cast votes in the governor’s race, for 41.00% turnout.


  1. Paul T 2018-06-06 09:01

    I have to believe that a great many of Jackley supporters are 1) familiar with Billie 2) anti-establishment 3) misogynists. Let’s hope they all have enough resentment toward Noem to either stay home or mark the ballot for Billie in November.

  2. Dana P 2018-06-06 09:04

    Paul T’s hopes, are my hopes.

  3. Jenny 2018-06-06 09:45

    Dusty Johnson – the Career Politician. Did he ever vocalize dismay on the Anderson Seed Scandal as he was PUC from 2004-2011. Has he ever fought for transparency as he was Daugaard’s Chief of Staff. Corruption happened while he held positions of high power. Same old story of continuous corruption under the One Party Oligarchy in Pierre.

    Queen Kristi – SDs Golden Girl. Anyone notice she didn’t bring up her Estate Tax sob story? And anyone notice, she’s just now bringing up government transparency in Pierre and fighting corruption?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-06 10:17

    Paul, I’ll buy your #1 and #3. I don’t buy #2, since Jackley would have appealed to state GOP establishment voters more than Noem (see his edge in Hughes and Lake counties: establishment employees, establishment money).

  5. jimmy james 2018-06-06 10:21

    If you go to SOS website and check out the turnout page, they have only 44,000 Democrats registered vs. 249,000 Republican. A mistake, I believe, but still….. some of these election folks seem to have a hard time getting their departments functioning properly. What took Minnehaha so long to report after the counting was done. And it seemed like Pennington was listed as all precincts reporting when it was only partially done.

  6. jimmy james 2018-06-06 10:27

    Minnehaha did not report till well after the 9:45 reveal. I realize nobody reported before that.

  7. o 2018-06-06 10:36

    From my perspective, of the cascade of negative ads at the end, the anti-Jackley attacks hit the hardest. Those were brutal, and I have to believe took the heaviest toll above-and-beyond any other attacks. The revulsion component was not a factor in Cory’s prediction analysis.

  8. Roger Elgersma 2018-06-06 10:53

    Good points Jenny. The media also had a poll that a week before was close between Kristi and Marty. But the issues in the adds changed to things that you would much better know before you vote than to hear about after. Jackley even stated afterward that he might go back to engineering. His biases do not make him lawyer material. Biases both partisan and gender. This Metoo era can not tolerate him.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-06 11:58

    I saw those strange numbers, too, Jimmy. I don’t think 44K is meant to represent registered Democrats, although the site puts the data out unclearly. The actual reg voter counts I read yesterday are 249,987 GOP, 156,356 Dem, 124,545 ind/NPA/Con/Lib.

    The 44K is meant to represent the number of Democrats who could have picked up Democratic primary ballots yesterday. Right below that SOS Krebs posted the number 236,660 for non-political ballots available—those would be all the ballots for Amendment Y alone or Amendment Y plus local school board or other non-partisan races.

  10. Steve Pearson 2018-06-06 15:28

    “Hopes.” More like pipe dreams. Last night was great, nationwide even. Looking forward to November and the future. Also can’t wait to see Sutton get CRUSHED.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-06 16:09

    You’re welcome, Steve, for my providing you an opportunity to play drive-by smashmouth, without supporting your comment with any real analysis of why Sutton can’t win against Noem, who, as my latest blog post notes, has none of the advantages over Billie that she had over Marty.

    Last night in South Dakota was good in that Neal Tapio showed us that shouting “Trump!” doesn’t win elections here, not by itself.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-06 17:32

    Steve Pearson

    You do realize, don’t you, that Billie was “CRUSHED” by a horse and left paralyzed for life?

  13. Debbo 2018-06-07 00:15

    Democrats had a great night nationwide last night. This fall will be very interesting.

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