Press "Enter" to skip to content

Noem: SDSU Sucks at Polling!

I guess when Kristi tweets “#GoJacks”, she means “Go take a hike, Jacks!”

Last week political science professor Dave Wiltse said his SDSU Poll shows Representative Jamie Smith in a statistical tie with Governor Kristi Noem. Team Noem responded to this bad news by saying her alma mater sucks at polling.

Noem sicced her attack dog Ian Fury to rip into Professor Wiltse’s work, claiming that the SDSU Poll totally botched its call on South Dakota’s 2020 Presidential vote:

Ian Fury, tweets, 2022.10.06.
Ian Fury, tweets, 2022.10.06.

The only problem with that attack is that the SDSU Poll never tried to call South Dakota’s 2020 Presidential vote. The October 23, 2020, report to which Fury links does not show the SDSU Poll asking South Dakotans, “For whom will you vote in the November election, Trump or Biden?” Rather, Wiltse’s first South Dakota Voter Survey asked respondents to rate various political figures on a “feeling thermometer”, with 0 for “coldest feelings”, 100 for “warmest”, and 50 for neutrality. Responses for Trump averaged to 42; responses for Biden averaged just below 40:

David Wiltse, "President Trump Sees Softer Support in South Dakota Than His Fellow Republicans," SDSU Poll, 2020.10.23.
David Wiltse, “President Trump Sees Softer Support in South Dakota Than His Fellow Republicans,” SDSU Poll, 2020.10.23.

Wiltse himself said the feeling thermometer did not predict a close race between Trump and Biden:

While this in no way suggests that Biden is within striking distance of the president in terms of the electoral results, it does show that South Dakotans have clear issues with certain personal traits of the president relative to other top elected officials. In the end, we fully expect the president to carry the state handily, but his margin of victory will likely be less than his 2016 showing [Wiltse, 2020.10.23].

And indeed, Trump’s 2020 margin of victory in South Dakota was less than his 2016 showing: Trump beat Clinton by 29.8 points; he beat Biden by 26.2 points.

It’s curious that the Noem campaign would say that university that gave her a political science degree isn’t very good at political science. It appears that she and her team just aren’t very good at reading political science.


  1. grudznick 2022-10-10 09:01

    Perhaps she is saying that one individual is not very good. The institution as a whole may be just swell, but that fellow could be botching it all. Much like an elementary school as a whole may be very good, but one bad apple teacher gets in trouble. It happens all the time.

  2. jim 2022-10-10 09:08

    And then Kristi Noem released her own tracking poll to prove them wrong. Right?

  3. sx123 2022-10-10 09:10

    I assume SDSU has the math right, so team Noem needs to show the poll is inaccurate. Of course, it’s easier to belittle an individual than disprove the math (which I imagine would be quite hard for the spokesperson to do).

  4. scott 2022-10-10 10:39

    Noem just following what her leader does. Blame everybody but yourself. Hopefully the same happens to Noem that happened to her cult leader. Maybe there is room in Maralargo for Noem.

  5. Bill Stocker 2022-10-10 10:56

    Ruin Sherry Bren, call her a liar…check ( pay her $200,000) gomen money).
    Ruin Professer Wiltse, say that he a liar and does not know what he is doing.
    Nice strategy Kristi, that’s why life long Republicans, like me are voting for Jamie Smith!

  6. buckobear 2022-10-10 11:39

    Bet SDSU is sorry they awarded her that “work experience” degree.

  7. All Mammal 2022-10-10 15:04

    Travel has not done right by her squad. They must never leave the tawdrily decorated hotel banquet rooms on their trips. If they actually traveled in the sense Mark Twain suggested, they would have gained better perspectives and understanding. What a waste of all those miles. And fuel. The governor and her boy sure ain’t worldly after all that jet settin.

  8. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-10-10 15:13

    Boy hidee, where can I get me one of them there “work experience” degrees?
    Considering I started working when I was twelve (Bowman’s orchard, Belleville, IN) can it be REALLY retroactive?

  9. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-10 15:22

    The Governor, Ian, and the rest of the entourage are badly out of touch with the political swing going on in the eastern tier of counties. The drought in the James River Valley has led to some general unease about the future. Tourism raises few boats. There are other pockets of opposition to the Noem ascendancy, Hughes County and the traditional Democratic Bohemian Counties. She’s counting on her overwhelming West River advantage and millions of dollars in media buys to boost her across the finish line. She’s an absentee candidate as well as an absentee Governor.

  10. Curtis Price 2022-10-10 21:49

    Too bad the good professor doesn’t have a union to protect him from political attacks. (The legislature, in its wisdom, destroyed the COHE union a couple sessions back by passing a law making it illegal in South Dakota.)

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-11 06:11

    Key point, Jim: Noem isn’t offering any counter-evidence to the specific claim of the moment. One can validly question the integrity of a source or the reliability of a poll, but Fury fails to do so honestly here. The poll findings thus stand without a serious indictment.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-11 06:12

    Mike, that Noem internal poll was rumored by Democratic operatives but has never been confirmed. But as Jim notes, it is interesting that Team Noem has not countered the SDSU Poll with whatever internal numbers it may have lying around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.