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Morning Consult: Thune Popular, Noem Not

We’re all prone to pay special attention to things that prop up our worldview and ignore the things that challenge it.

Pat Powers, for instance, regularly blogs about the Morning Consult polls that identify the approval/disapproval ratings of United States Senators. Our senior Senator, John Thune, regularly makes the top ten in Senate approval ratings, and Powers, whose blog is sponsored by Thune, is always eager to point out Thune’s apparent likeability. In 2019 Q4, Big John was at 52% approval, 35% disapproval (with 13% of South Dakotans too lazy to bother forming an opinion). Ignored by Powers in his “coverage” is that that’s Thune’s lowest approval rating and smallest like/dislike gap in Morning Consult’s data back to Q1 2017.

Morning Consult also takes approval ratings on governors. Their latest polling finds that Governor Kristi Noem is the sixth least popular governor in the country, with 43% approval and 45% disapproval. Our first-term governor is one of only seven governors in the country with more voters disapproving than approving.

Morning Consult, least popular governors 2019 Q4, with Noem at #6, among seven with negative approval-disapproval gaps. Retrieved 2020.01.19
Morning Consult, least popular governors 2019 Q4, with Noem at #6, among seven with negative approval-disapproval gaps. Retrieved 2020.01.19.

Dennis Daugaard wrapped up his gubernatoriat with a 58%/26% rating, the seventh-best in the nation at the time. Noem inspired less confidence the moment she took the reins, polling at 49%/32% in 2019 Q1, and has slid downward since:

Morning Consult, Kristi Noem approval/disapproval trend through 2019, all four quarters; retrieved 2020.01.19.
Morning Consult, Kristi Noem approval/disapproval trend through 2019, all four quarters; retrieved 2020.01.19.

Pat Powers has not yet reported on this data from Morning Consult. He may stop reporting Morning Consult data altogether, since Governor Noem, who also pays Powers to blog, has responded by declaring DC pollsters unreliable:

Noem’s spokeswoman responded with a written statement.

“The 2016 election showed us the soundness of D.C. pollsters,” the statement said. “With just a year under her belt, Governor Noem has accomplished a lot on behalf of hardworking South Dakotans. As she outlined in her State of the State address, she is looking forward to building on that success in 2020.”

The comment about the “soundness of D.C. pollsters” is a sarcastic take on polls that showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump [Seth Tupper, “Poll: More Disapprove of Noem Than Approve,” SDPB, 2020.01.17].

Professor Jon Schaff doesn’t dismiss the poll numbers. He tells SDPB’s Seth Tupper that they reflect Noem’s “unforced errors” (pause a moment: can anyone cite examples of when Kristi Noem has be forced to commit an error?):

He said those errors include her widely mocked “We’re On It” advertising campaign to raise awareness about methamphetamine use; her veto of a hemp legalization bill that many lawmakers in her own party supported; and a raise she gave to her daughter, who is on the governor’s staff [Tupper, 2020.01.17].

South Dakota Standard’s Janette McIntyre adds the most recent error, Noem’s skipping the second day of Session for a selfie-jaunt to Washington, to the pile of reasons Noem could be vulnerable to a 2022 challenge.

Yet with, I assume, none of the sarcasm of Noem’s spokesperson, Schaff calls Noem “a very talented politician.” I beg to differ: a very talented politician would not commit the errors that Schaff lists. A talented politician would not in one year flip the public’s approve/disapprove gap for the governor from +32 to –2.

Maybe it takes talent for a Republican to win a 43% approval rating in South Dakota, where Republicans make up 47% of the electorate compared to the Democrats’ 28%. But that’s not the kind of talent I want on my team.

But hey, if Kristi Noem sponsored my blog, maybe I’d find a way to ignore that talent and just keep cherry-picking the poll numbers that keep my sponsors happy. Because who needs a worldview when one can focus instead on the far simpler matter of profits, right, Pat?


  1. o 2020-01-19 11:12

    This data, when looked at in the context of elections seems to show: 1) people do not reflect their approval or disapproval with their votes — disapproving voters still vote for the very candidate they disapprove of; and 2) answering a poll is NOT voting — as President Obama said, “Vote, don’t ‘boo.'”

  2. jerry 2020-01-19 11:38

    Putin gave Thune and company their marching orders when he went to Moscow, Russia during the 4th of July American holiday? Protect the Russian asset in the White House or else you could get Epsteined.

    This same bunch of Chubby traitors will be voting to impeach their ringleader starting Tuesday.

    “Joining Shelby were Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.).”

    Russians treated them all like curs and mocked them openly.

    “On Russian state television, presenters and guests mocked the U.S. congressional delegation for appearing to put a weak foot forward, noting how the message of tough talk they promised in Washington “changed a bit” by the time they got to Moscow.
    “We need to look down at them and say: You came because you needed to, not because we did,” Igor Korotchenko, a Russian military expert, said on a talk show on state-run television.”

    Thune is well liked in South Dakota because we here don’t ask any questions about serious matters.

  3. David Newquist 2020-01-19 12:47

    Congressional staff members referred to the Thune-Noem congressional delegation as “the feckless f*ckers from South Dakota. But fellow legislators were relieved that they did not actually try to do anything, but recite scripts that were prepared for them. Noem’s early efforts as governor illustrate why.

  4. Adam 2020-01-19 13:28

    When rurals disapprove of something, or someone, it’s usually just ridiculous ‘speaking in tongues’ and ‘stream of consciousness’ incoherent babble coming out of their mouthes.

    The trouble is, they hate ‘liberals’ so much that they will always gladly choose the opposite – no matter how discontent they are with their candidate or incumbent.

    Kristi Noem will definitely get another 4 years – no need for any of you to worry about that!

  5. Loren 2020-01-19 14:03

    I’ve given up trying to “contact my legislator.” All I ever get is a list of talking points in return. Tell me exactly what Thune has accomplished, especially with him being the #2 “leader” in the Senate. He walks out, stands behind McConnell’s left shoulder and says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Does nothing. He could mail in his votes, or better yet, just let McConnell be his proxy. I would love to get his neck tie in my hand and adjust the knot upward until I got a straight answer… TO ANYTHING!

  6. mike from iowa 2020-01-19 14:41

    Please, Loren, don’t. This world does not need another Barry Gibb falsetto.

  7. paul harens 2020-01-19 15:15

    Loren, you get answers. I have written our two senators with specific questions. One answered with your talking point letter and the other didn’t answer at all (did talk to a staff in SD and told him I want an answer and was told I would get one – been waiting since May). Unfortunately, Adam is probably right, SD conservatives will drink the Kool Aide and elect her again.

  8. jerry 2020-01-19 15:16

    Adam, one of the main problems with “rural’s” is that they are liberal. In fact, rural folks are way more liberal than we can imagine.

    Liberal definition “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.”

    Rural folks are now open to bribery and accept it thereby abandoning traditional values like work. They now see themselves as kings that need undocumented labor to fulfill the choirs while they coffee up and drive around in their King Ranch 3/4 ton grocery getters. Crystal GNOem will probably get the nod for another turn at the big trough but only because the rural liberals need more give me’s.

  9. grudznick 2020-01-19 15:31

    Young Ms. Noem is clearly prettier than numbers 3 & 5. Of that there can be no debatings.

  10. grudznick 2020-01-19 15:36

    Mr. Harens, you sort of come off like one of those whiny teacher fellows, full of hate. Are you a teacher?

  11. Eve Fisher 2020-01-19 16:14

    I am willing to bet that Noem can – and will – be beaten by a Republican male this fall.

  12. Buckobear 2020-01-19 16:34

    Eve — I admire you sentiment and certainly agree she deserves one, but if it’s re-election you’re referring to, that won’t happen ‘til 2022.

  13. Eve Fisher 2020-01-19 16:41

    Buckobear, you’re right. It’s only been one year… seems longer…
    Well, that will give the SDGOP time to find their dream guy.

  14. leslie 2020-01-19 21:01

    Hey if Janette can change horses, recognizing Thune boy for Mitch, then there is hope. I have been repeating predictions of the demise of the disdainful GOP, along with the only real election issues:

    1. Wealth inequality- There are 2,153 billionaires globally, and, in 2019, they held more wealth combined than 4.6 billion people, according to the report, which uses data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report and Forbes’ billionaire rankings. huffpo today

    2. Global Warming

    Thune Rounds and Noem are not effective leaders and Johnson is well on his way.

    Right to Vote for all, not just a privilege!

  15. Debbo 2020-01-19 23:05

    “With just a year under her belt, Governor Noem has accomplished a lot”

    When Klueless Kristi’s spokesperson makes a statement like that without listing any of the accomplishments, that’s a very bad sign. Positive or semi-positive accomplishments? The varmint follies.

  16. Debbo 2020-01-20 01:13

    For whatever it counts in favorability terms, the NY Times has checked in on the Democratic race:

    “The New York Times has endorsed not one but two candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar from the party’s moderate wing and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren from the progressive wing.

    The paper said Sunday it had chosen the two most effective candidates from the moderate and progressive sides of the party — without stating a preference for either approach. It praised Warren as ‘a gifted story teller’ and Klobuchar as ‘the very definition’ of Midwestern charisma and grit.”

    My understanding is that the entire Times article that goes into depth on their thinking is well worth reading, however, it’s also paywalled, as is my Strib source. Sorry.

    They say Biden and Sanders are too old. In addition, Sanders’ health is questionable and he’s unwilling to compromise. They think Buttigieg has a bright future, but it’s not here yet.

    I agree about the old white men on all parts. Pretty much the same on Buttigieg too. Warren is my first choice, Amy is my 2nd. For now.

  17. Adam 2020-01-21 02:43

    No matter how you look at it, rurals ultra-suck, and even that alone should be ‘simple enough’ for rural minds to digest.

    How could anyone ever argue against the simple fact that today’s rurals have legitimately become the new ‘n!ggers’?

    Sorry to burst y’all’s bubbles, but most of y’all happens to be ‘deplorable.’

    What you say about that?!

  18. Adam 2020-01-21 02:58

    Do you wanna defend, or enable, your crazy neighbors, or hold them responsible for their insane behavior?

    That’s South Dakota for ya! Ball-less, weak-ass, unprofessional, WEAK – let me say again – WEAK liberalism.

    Thanks everybody! – for giving me this crazy, yet beautiful, place to live! (be it one tiny little insignificant corner of the state).

    At least it’s not so ‘touched’ by private enterprise as every other part of the country that matters. Thanks. I guess.

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