Press "Enter" to skip to content

Poll: 62% of South Dakota Voters Support Amendment D/Medicaid Expansion

Defeating Amendment C in June protected democracy and healthy majority rule from the predations of Jon Hansen, Lee Schoenbeck, and their dissembling corporate overlords. But even if it had passed, Amendment C might not have been enough to stop Amendment D, the Medicaid expansion that Schoenbeck is desperate to block.

The American Cancer Society, one of the big organizations backing Amendment D, commissioned Republican pollster Glen Bolger to find out what South Dakota voters think of Amendment D. Those voters tell Bolger Amendment D may well beat the 60% threshold Amendment C would have set, not to mention the simple majority that South Dakotans voted to keep for fiscal ballot measures:

The poll, conducted by Glen Bolger, one of the Republican party’s leading pollsters, for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), found more than 6 in 10 (62%) likely voters plan to vote yes on Amendment D to expand Medicaid eligibility for 42,500 South Dakotans.

More than 8 in 10 (82%) voters also believe that if Medicaid expansion is approved by a majority of voters in November, the state government should respect the will of the voters and move quickly to implement it. On this point, support was highest among Democrats (94%) but was also very strong among Independents (88%) and Republicans (75%).

…The poll of 500 likely South Dakota voters was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies August 25-29, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.38% percentage points [American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, press release, 2022.09.14].

62% approval, ±4.4% margin of error… those results show a 59% or 58% Yes vote is still possible, and Amendment C would have mooted such sub-60 approvals. So our rejection of Amendment C’s 60% threshold gives D’s backers some welcome breathing room.

But no August poll offers certainty about November results. Even with Bolger saying we’ve got 62% when all we need is 50% + 1 instead of 60%, the American Cancer Society and its partners should not let their foot off the campaign gas. Smart campaigners always run as if they are behind, to keep themselves and their supporters motivated to push through the finish line.

That 38% of voters still haven’t recognized the moral and fiscal sense of helping more people get health care signals the need for more education. But more alarming is the fact that 18% of voters, including some weird 6% of Democrats, seem to think it would be o.k. for the state not to do what the voters tell them to do. The 67–33 thumping of Amendment C was a good sign, but there are still too many South Dakotans who are willing to reject majority rule and the outcomes of elections, and those South Dakotans put democracy in danger.

Bolger’s results are statistically identical to the results of his 2014 poll for ACS, which found 63% of 400 likely voters in favor of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Governor Dennis Daugaard dismissed that poll then, two years before Daugaard himself finally admitted expanding Medicaid might be good for South Dakota. Bolger’s polling and general public support for Medicaid expansion seems more durable than Governor Daugaard’s resistance to the program. But perhaps today’s Republicans could say, Hey! Support’s gone down a whole percentage point in eight years; put Medicaid expansion on the ballot again in 2118, and the voters will repeal it assuming, of course, that after they pass it this year, Medicaid expansion somehow manages not to pay off the way it has in all 38 states that have enacted it!


  1. larry kurtz 2022-09-14 14:45

    If South Dakota voters are signaling support for more progressive causes why aren’t more progressive candidates being elected?

  2. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-14 16:22

    Larry…the answer is The South Dakota Republican Party and its’ candidates are loaded with campaign cash. The private sector in South Dakota supports status quo Republicans through donations to candidates and PACs, well beyond any real need. The Party is monolithic, a steam roller. Liberal candidates are of modest means as are their supporters. They can raise money for district campaigns measured by the hundreds and and low thousands while Republicans can count on the hundreds of thousands even without calling on the enormous campaign funds of PACs supporting the likes of Thune and Noem. To run against the steamroller is to make oneself vulnerable to personal bankruptcy and financial ruin.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-09-14 16:36

    That makes sense so as long as Dan Lederman funnels money to the nut wing they keep him on as chair, right?

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-14 17:23

    There are sources of right wing money all over the place..the right wing is a money making son of a gun…gun rights, abortion, basic racism, all bring in heavy cash to hundreds of organizations..have no idea how much eventually goes to candidates but if its 50%, it is more than enough.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-09-14 17:54

    According to most accounts the SDGOP convention was a purge of the establishment so why do the white wing ideologues keep Dan Lederman in as chair?

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-14 18:17

    Larry-He’s a winner. His politics are negotiable. He is a personable guy.

  7. P. Aitch 2022-09-14 20:50

    If 75% of the majority wants their leadership to enact the expansion without a fight what are the chances that the majority leadership will ignore the desire of their constituents and turn the election over to a sympathetic Supreme or Federal judge? It’s now precedent that said judge won’t have to issue a binding ruling but only issue a vague opinion of unconstitutionally and that’s enough to abandon the entire election results. Who’ll fight it in any other way than by waiting until the next election cycle? I predict the odds of that happening are 50 x 50.

  8. Anne Beal 2022-09-14 22:56

    60% or more might vote for it with no concern at all for the people who will have to pay for it.

    I keep thinking back to something that happened in 2014: my mother was 90 that year, and she received a telephone survey. One question was how concerned she was about the national debt. She wasn’t concerned at all. This answer seemed to surprise the caller. My mother, who by then had no filter at all, explained “it’s my kids’ problem.”
    She knew she wouldn’t live long enough to feel the pain herself.

  9. Anne Beal 2022-09-14 23:26

    Larry, the establishment wasn’t purged at the SDGOP convention. It was annoyed but not purged. I was there.

    Taffy Howard tried to bankrupt the party by voting herself and her friends $150 each from the party bank account. The effort in the rules committee meeting, to defund the convention and give all the money to the attendees, failed in a voice vote. The establishment was still able to meet its financial obligations to the venue & caterer in spite of her.

    Undeterred, she moved on to Resolutions, attempting to prevent the adoption of boilerplate resolutions thanking the chairman for his leadership and congratulating Thune, Noem, and Johnson on winning their primaries. She didn’t think the SDGOP should be thanking their chairman or supporting the top of their ticket.

    None of this was all that surprising, as two years earlier she launched an attack on a resolution celebrating the abolition of slavery, the Republican Party’s founding as the party of abolitionists, and honoring June19th as the day of Emancipation. Her opposition to this resolution was, uh….interesting?

    Perhaps Taffy’s Insane Clown Posse will succeed in taking over the SDGOP in 2024, help themselves to all the money they can get their hands on, and advocate for the repeal of the 13th
    Amendment. Stay tuned.

  10. Runs_With_Fire 2022-09-15 05:19

    On October 12, 2016, Lederman registered with the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) office as an agent of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-15 06:26

    Anne, the 62% expressing support for Amendment D in this poll necessarily include the people who will pay for it, unless the poll somehow managed to randomly sample Jeff Bezos and 499 other corporate executives who manage to avoid paying federal income taxes.

    Medicaid expansion is paid for by our taxes, mostly federal, with a little thrown in from the state level (and everyone, the 62% for and the 38% against, pays sales taxes). Medicaid expansion then pays us back by lowering the costs of uncompensated care (which are currently passed on through higher hospital costs and higher health insurance premiums for all of us), by boosting the budgets of rural hospitals and keeping them open (so our rural neighbors don’t have to drive as often to Aberdeen, Rapid City, or Sioux Falls for routine health care, thus saving them money on driving, lodging, and missed work), by stimulating the local/state economy (hundreds of millions of federal dollars plowed into health care, which goes into the pockets of doctors, nurses, and other hospital/clinic staff, who then plow that money right back into their local grocery stores, lumber yards, restaurants…), and by providing health care to working folks (who get better sooner, stay healthier, miss less work, earn more money, produce more profits for their employers, and generate in multiple ways more tax revenue for the state).

    South Dakota has resisted Medicaid expansion for a decade. Our brave fiscal stand hasn’t reduced our taxes or the federal deficit one penny. It’s just left thousands of South Dakotans sicker, poorer, and deader.

    People said the same horsehockey during the Reagan years about how the debt would kill our grandkids (even as they cheered Reagan’s massive inflation of the debt). Here we are, 40 years after Reagan’s spending spree—where are the impacts of the national debt? If you’re really worried about the national debt, go chain yourself to the gates and Ellsworth and demand the government scrap the B-21s and send the airmen home.

    Don’t overthink Medicaid expansion. It’s not about taking some abstract generic position about the national debt. Amendment D will simply health sick people get well and make South Dakota’s economy healthier to boot. Investing in health care for more people pays off. Vote Yes on D.

  12. larry kurtz 2022-09-15 07:53

    Thank you, Mrs. Beal for admitting the SDGOP is fracturing under Mr. Lederman’s eye. May it rot in Hell.

  13. Anne Beal 2022-09-16 09:41

    I wonder if 62% would be in favor of it if they knew what it will actually accomplish.
    At a Republican convention in Aberdeen years ago, a delegate stood up and said we should be in favor of “Medicaid expansion because “we need to meet our treaty obligations.” There, he said it.
    Whose treaty obligations?
    The federal government promised the Sioux one physician living in a $3000 house by the river where timber is plentiful.
    This clause in the Fort Laramie treaty ballooned into the Indian Health Service.
    (Fortunately the promise to provide two blacksmiths did not turn into a guarantee of automotive services.)

    The indian Health Service often runs out of money and doesn’t pay the providers off the reservation, and the Big Three health care systems want to move the tribal members onto Medicaid. The tribal members also would prefer to go on Medicaid, so they can choose their own providers. They are already covered under the IHS, and they don’t like it. I can’t blame them, but this is about shifting the responsibility for a treaty obligation onto the state, a treaty the state didn’t sign onto.

  14. larry kurtz 2022-09-16 10:16

    Mrs. Beal’s gaslighting fools no one.

    In 2018 the Rapid City Journal blamed the South Dakota Republican Party for spikes in suicides and depression as a Sanford Health executive also cited poor access to medical care as a reason for premature deaths. South Dakota is ranked 6th highest in the nation for suicides reporting more than 22 self-administered terminations per 100,000 people or an increase of 59% since 1999 and the 11th highest increase in any state.

    So, like South Dakota and because of the race hatred projected at American Indians Wyoming is another red state that would prefer to die of cancers and suicides rather than expand Medicaid.

    But the more Republican South Dakota gets the stingier and more cruel the residents become. Not only has the South Dakota Republican Party failed Indigenous Americans by not expanding Medicaid it has failed veterans and the elderly: its historically loyal voter base.

    Only 30% of Native Americans know the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for some procedures at Indian Health Service clinics so I like the idea of rolling the funding for TRICARE, Medicare, the IHS and the Veterans Health Administration together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax.

  15. RST Tribal Member 2022-09-17 08:05

    Weed and Noem won their elections in 2018. Only 1 was successfully put in place, now she is wanting to be re-elected to enable her to seek an out of state political office. The other was taken to court for false pretenses of being to complex for the inept inbred Republican controlling legislators to comprehend. Thank you South Dakota education system from kindergarten to law school.

    Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. United States, 9 F.4th 1018 (8th Cir. 2021) simply states a provision of the 1868 Treaty was not upheld. This toehold of having the U.S. Court recognize this treaty violation should not go the way of United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. 371 (1980).

    The state governing system in place has the acceptability that the wishes of the majority rules. But, the ruling majority is not at the ballot box, it is the ruling party of the state. Now currently lead by a women with “balls” and a group of small minded men (presumed without the forth mentioned “balls”) who rule. Goodness what is next? The proclamation of biceps and not a bosom; the candidate seems to be transforming into a guy before our eyes.

    Coming November the voters can replace the “balls” and “no balls” inept inbred ruling party. Or not. We’ll see.

  16. bearcreekbat 2022-09-17 13:41

    I understand Anne Beal’s concern, but voters might also see it from the other side of the coin: “60% or more might vote [against the Medicaid expansion] with no concern at all for the people who” would gain access to potentially life-saving health care.

  17. P. Aitch 2022-09-17 14:21

    Every time Anne Beal finds herself on the wrong side of an issue, she invents a story that no one can fact check to support her losing position. It happens so often I use the words “every time” to describe her convenient inventions.

  18. larry kurtz 2022-09-19 07:27

    Republicans love the foetus as long as the Department of Defense doles trillions to places like western South Dakota and southern New Mexico so killing actual children with drones or B-21 bombers doesn’t get reported at right wing media outlets and they don’t dare to call it murder if they do.

    The Love Your Neighbor Tour plans to stop in Wessington Springs as they circle the state September 20-24 sharing a nonpartisan, inter-faith message in support of Medicaid expansion for South Dakota which voters have an opportunity to approve in November at the ballot box. The message of the tour is that all religions have a call to love our neighbors, especially neighbors in need. Loving and serving our neighbors means we care for people around us whose health is at stake. We believe South Dakotans want these improved health outcomes, support to rural hospitals and to low-wage workers, including farmers and caretakers, and the economic benefit to our state.

Comments are closed.