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Noem Voters: White, Male, Older, Richer, Dumber

Fox News breaks down the demographics of who voted for whom in this year’s midterm election. Fox’s results for South Dakota show that Noem’s strongest support comes from dumb old white men.

According to Fox’s analysis, conducted with the Associated Press and the University of Chicago, Kristi Noem won 59% of the men’s vote while Billie Sutton won 55% of the women’s vote. Kurt Evans must have some mojo with the ladies: 3% of women voted for “Another candidate,” while Fox shows 0% of the men breaking from the two major parties.

Young voters (under 45) went 55% for Sutton; my age group and up went 55% for Noem.

White folks leaned toward Noem by 53%; non-white folks went for Sutton by 66%. But interestingly, while blacks and Hispanics went for Sutton by over 90%, “Other” non-whites (Fox doesn’t specify our biggest minority population, Native Americans) only favored Sutton by 53%. Hmm… might that suggest that getting out the Indian vote would not have given Sutton the boost conventional Democratic thinking would expect?

Noem did better among her fellow educational slowpokes. 58% of folks with no college degree preferred Noem. 58% of degree holders went for Sutton.

Sutton got the low-income vote, beating Noem among folks making under $50K by 53% to 44%. Folks making above that but under $100K preferred Noem by 52%. The six-figure crowd went for Noem over Sutton 60% to 40%.

Noem had more party defectors than Sutton. 23% of Republicans and Republican leaners voted for Sutton, while only 6% of Democrats/Dem leaners went for Noem. Sutton also whooped up among independents, taking 70% of their votes. However, Fox’s sample consisted of only 14% indies, 26% Dems, and 60% GOP/GOP leaners.

Note on that party breakdown: Fox says Evans claimed 6% of the independent vote. If Evans hadn’t been on the ballot and if those Evans independents had broken the way the rest of their cohort did, Sutton would have picked up about 2,100 votes while Noem would have picked up about 750. Noem beat Sutton by 11,534 votes.

Fox reports that 57% of Protestants went for Noem, while Catholics split 50-50. (Evans, you got no Catholic vote. Imagine that.) All the Mormons went for Noem; all the Jews went for Sutton. Our “Something Elses” went 62% for Sutton, and our religious “Nones” went 73% for Sutton. (Gee, we nones are just so tolerant.) Evans’s best showing came among the Nones as well, 4%.

I am intrigued to see Fox count Nones as 10% of South Dakota’s electorate. We atheists are moving up in the world!

These voting figures show that Noem represents the older, whiter, richer, and less educated segment of South Dakota. We can take hope from the fact that those first two categories are on an inevitable decline, thus suggesting Sutton and other sensible, qualified politicians may face better electoral days ahead.


  1. mike from iowa 2018-11-21 07:49

    So, looking at these results, one could almost speculate the letter R stands for retarded- the way the incestuous government of Northern Mississippi isn’t capable of, or even wanting to, change.

  2. Wayne B. 2018-11-21 08:30


    I’m going to challenge you on your flippant writing style.

    Having friends and family without college degrees, and having taught at a university, I can say with conviction that a college education does not guarantee someone will be “smarter”, or that someone without will be “dumber.”

    I’d also remind you that there are a host of reasons people don’t pursue higher education; branding them as educational slowpokes is pretty insensitive, especially from someone who espouses the value of four year degrees.

  3. TAG 2018-11-21 08:49

    “…older, whiter, richer, and less educated … those first two categories are on an inevitable decline, …”

    I’d also add that the third category has been on a gradual decline since the late 1970’s as well. That income-inequality trend has been making the rich more richer, and less numerous. This has led to the far more-numerous working classes to support champions of populism (Bernie) and white-nationalism-masquerading-as-real-populism (Trump).

    Education is the last hope for the middle and working classes to realize the power they can wield at the polls. Unfortunately, lots of them are falling for propaganda that leads them to support causes that further give the rich more power and less accountability. I’d say that suburban women turning on the party of Trump in the midterms is a good sign that intelligence over tribalism can make a comeback.

  4. Curt 2018-11-21 09:15

    Results from Oglala Lakota County and Todd County show Sutton winning with 91% in Oglala Lakota and 81% in Todd. It seems like the Native GOTV effort was successful.

  5. Heidi Marttila-Losure 2018-11-21 09:53

    I second Wayne B’s comment.

  6. Susan 2018-11-21 12:42

    Well, here are 2 educated, older, very white and not poor Mormons who voted for Billie Sutton. We are proud to be Rebels and Resisters. All Mormons did not vote for Noem. Beware of blanket statements.

  7. Jenny 2018-11-21 13:34

    Noem wouldn’t have won if she had not had King Trump and Lord Pence coming to help her. Those two are more or less Gods to S.D. republicans. As usual, having the most money won the election.

    I still think Billie will make a nice caring governor someday😊

  8. Debbo 2018-11-21 15:16

    “Noem represents the older, whiter, richer, and less educated segment of South Dakota.”

    So, the typical GOP electorate.

  9. grudznick 2018-11-21 19:38

    I thought Mr. H was trying to describe me, however he’s not quite right on some counts. Especially these days, when I’m a very dumb old man, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t educated back in my day. I don’t think equating uneducated to being stupid is accurate.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-21 21:11

    There are a host of reasons, Wayne, but I’m willing to make a generalization here: on the whole, you’re going to find more people less inclined to engage in critical policy analysis among the non-degreed folks and fewer such people among the college-educated. It’s the same as looking at these stats, noting that some women did indeed vote for Noem, but that more women voted for Billie.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-21 21:18

    Oglala Lakota turnout: 39.07%.
    Todd turnout: 49.32%.
    Statewide turnout: 62.66%

    2014 OL turnout: 34.7%.
    2014 Todd turnout: 45.8%.
    2014 statewide turnout: 54.2%.

    Whatever tribal GOTV effort took place, it underperformed whatever statewide trend (Item #1, a Democrat who stood a chance of winning) drove increased turnout everywhere.

  12. PlanningStudent 2018-11-22 03:55

    I’m just dismayed that the comment from Mike from IA is still posted for all to see. The use of the R word is disgusting. My liberal arts college education taught me better..

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-22 06:51

    Mike does our cause ill with his choice of words. I recommend revision: the R stands for Regressive, Repulsive, Recalcitrant, Radical (as in tearing out democracy and American ideals from the roots), Reactionary, Revengeful, Ridiculous, Rude, and Ruinous.

    Oh yeah, and how could I forget Racist?

  14. jerry 2018-11-22 08:22

    Repressive as well. South Dakota could have had an input of over ONE BILLION DOLLARS, yep, could’ve had that. We could’ve had that by simply taking care of our citizens with Medicaid Expansion. Instead hate and racism reared their ugly heads and denied that have repressed our citizens. Taxation without representation to line their own pockets, crooks and thieves of the American dream.

  15. mike from iowa 2018-11-22 09:17

    My apologies, Cory. I meant wingnuts are retarded the same way you can retard spark to an engine distributor.

  16. Tim Higgins 2018-11-22 10:30

    Actually Mike you do not reread the spark to the engine distributor, the spark is retarded from the distributor

  17. mike from iowa 2018-11-22 10:36

    Thanks Tim, you got the message I was attempting to send.

  18. grudznick 2018-11-22 18:35

    It is again, an out-of-state name caller that brings disgrace upon Mr. H’s blog and perhaps makes people remember that when Mr. H is out canvasing the streets of Aberdeen.

  19. Richard Schriever 2018-11-23 08:20

    Try Retrograde.

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