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!