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Florida Firm Polls South Dakota Phones on Messages Affecting Smith/Noem Race

My sister-in-law visited yesterday, and at 2:53 p.m. CDT, our phones beeped. We both received the following text message from “Research-Polls”:

"Research-Polls", text message, received by CAH/DFP 2022.10.16.
“Research-Polls”, text message, received by CAH/DFP 2022.10.16. purports to be a market research company from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, based in the Casa Grande condos at 508 Hendricks Isle. It’s hard to tell who owns the company, but the Web domain was created on April 21, 2022.

So sure, let’s see what kind of research they’re doing in the Big House:

The survey opened by asking sex and whether we are 18 or older and registered to vote in South Dakota. It apparently sought to exclude people who work in the media or polling:

Then it got to political business. The survey only let me go through the questions once, so I cannot tell which questions “forked” the survey—i.e., I don’t know if I would have gotten different questions by telling the anonymous pollster that I was unlikely to vote or that I was leaning toward one party or candidate. But note that every question is marked with a red asterisk, indicating that every question was mandatory: I could not leave any question blank and advance to the next question.

Interesting: the question text leaves “headed in the right direction” unqualified, but prefaces “headed off on the wrong track” with “seriously”, suggesting that respondents should only mark the negative option if things are really, really bad.

Now the poll is testing the message, seeing if it can get people to respond differently to the same question by tagging the generic Democratic candidate with “Biden”, “Liberal”, and “Congress”. Note that at no point does the poll try pushing in the other direction by asking, for example, if we would be most likely to vote for “a Republican candidate who supports insurrectionist Donald Trump and the conservative Republicans in Congress.” (However, there was a question later asking whether I approve of Donald Trump—I failed to screencap that question.)

The poll does hunt for correlations of good feelings for Dusty Johnson, Jamie Smith, Kristi Noem, and John Thune:
Then the poll digs for what respondents like and don’t like about Kristi Noem:

The poll tests how much and in whose favor Libertarian Tracey Quint may affect the race by first asking the three-way question, then asking the head-to-head Noem-Smith question:

I marked “Undecided”,so I think the poll served me this fork question to see which way undecideds might break:

…as well as this probe to identify obstacles Noem might try to counter with some last-minute marketing (I would humbly suggest not flying to Florida for fundraisers for the next three weeks):

The poll looks for correlations with the votes on the ballot measures for Medicaid expansion and marijuana legalization. The poll does not appear to push for the No votes Noem would like on both IM 27 and Amendment D:

The poll then poorly words this question about job performance. Evidently, the pollsters can’t bring themselves to make explicit the idea that Noem has performed her job poorly; they thus awkwardly pair “performed her job as Governor well enough to deserve re-election” with “give a new person a chance to do better.” The two options don’t fit: an incumbent could do a good job but still not deserve to keep the job against an even better candidate, and an incumbent could do a bad job but still be better than the alternative.

The poll ignores Smith’s job performance and instead digs for the intensity of Biden sentiment:

The poll then piles a whole bunch of issues into a question and asks respondents to pick the single most important:

I checked Abortion and Reproductive Rights to see what would happen. Strangely, the poll paired abortion with gun violence and asked me to say whether those two issues are more important than the redundant “Inflation and rising prices”. I’d be curious to know whether any other issue people picked was paired with “gun violence” and then put head to head with “inflation”.

Then the poll investigated whether and how the candidates are getting into people’s heads:

(The poll did ask if the media I saw on Smith would affect my vote for him as well; I missed that screencap.)

The poll then dug into negative statements about Noem and Smith. Note that the negatives on Noem all relate to specific actions Noem has taken has Governor, while the knocks on Smith are all generic labeling, not actual positions, votes, or actions:

The poll then says it’s done with political questions and just wants demographics. But the first question is about political affiliation, and the next two are about abortion:

The poll asks about education, which is a reasonable demographic question: But the most important demographic appears to be religion, about which the poll asks three questions:

The poll sneaks in one more political question, about support for the NRA, before ending with one question about my race:

The original text invitation claimed that Research Polls was interested in how things are going in our state, but not one question dealt with any issues specific to South Dakota. This poll, like Kristi Noem, seems uninterested in the details of events and policy in South Dakota and far more interested in identifying messages that will help Noem win one more election.


  1. jim 2022-10-17

    She may fear things like nepotism and airplane use being used against her in ads. And they do cost her votes. But I think that forty straight years of Republican control is just as potent. Smith could argue that we need at least four years to air out that dirty laundry.

    And with a Republican legislature, conservatives need not worry about any “liberal” shenanigans either.

  2. Guy 2022-10-17

    Cory, the very “leading” questions definitely sound like a poll that is either: A) Paid for by Kristi Noem’s struggling campaign or B) An so-called “Independent” organization that secretly supports Kristi Noem. Either way, they are looking to put idea’s in the heads of undecided voters by posing the “leading” questions and/or like you said, use the answers in a feeble attempt to reframe Kristi’s struggling campaign against Smith. Either way, it’s not going to work.

  3. Guy 2022-10-17

    Why is it not going to work? In this day and age of polls GALORE…most people are not going to sit and answer question after question after question after question after question like you dutifully did. Especially, when they catch on that these are “leading” questions. Many other people will just give-up because they don’t have the attention span, don’t care, and view it as a big waste of time, especially with that MANY questions you posted in your article! They couldn’t just simply ask people who are you going to vote for: Noem or Smith? That kind of poll would get way more participation because it is simple and quick for people to answer in our busy world.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-10-17

    I’m guessing this is a firm or political operation connected to Diane Hendricks, a billionaire, who was the slut wife of the former owner of ABC Supply. She’s still associated with that company and a lot of other businesses. She lives in Beloit, WI, but has property all over the US. She’s a big donor to conservative causes and politicians. One of Hendricks’ businesses owns commercial property in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I mean “Hendricks’ Isle” is a give away.

  5. Donald Pay 2022-10-17

    Guy is right, by the way. This isn’t a legitimate poll. It isn’t even trying to identify messages. It’s just trying to gin up turnout for those willing to engage with this sort of trickery.

  6. 96Tears 2022-10-17

    This poll is a waste of money because it’s not only biased for Noem, it’s tooooooo damn long. Who’s going to flip through all those screens and read all of that, other than bloggers and a few political junkies? The questions are mainly boilerplate except for those near the end. Noem’s campaign must be spending money like crazy without considering the value of what they’re buying. Not that I would expect Diane Hendricks to be truthful at all, but it would be interesting to know how many completed surveys there are.

  7. WillyNilly 2022-10-17

    I think it was in a communications class at USD where I learned how polls can be used to manipulate people. Since then I will answer some but usually less than honestly. I don’t like to be used as another cog in the wheel of some politician’s dishonesty.

  8. Guy 2022-10-17

    96 Tears, my guess is not many are going to complete the survey. Many won’t even bother taking the survey. Yes, long as hell. Most people will say screw this crap, I don’t have time. Why can’t we have a poll that SIMPLY ASKS: “Who are you going to vote for Governor?” Easy sneezy.

  9. P. Aitch 2022-10-17

    Somebody in Florida donated this poll to her campaign, for the write off. Just imagine what they’re going to list as the going rate for such a push me/pull you piece of garbage.

  10. grudznick 2022-10-17

    My goodness that was a long blogging.

    grudznick, too, like most of you, doesn’t trust these sort of polls. Any of them. Mostly because grudznick spends most of every day answering as many of them as I can and skewing the results by reporting that I’m a Demon Weed toking, 22-yr-old-young-woman, with a heavy alt-left bent. When they tell you their margin of error is x%, despite their crosstabs, trust grudznick when I tell you their margin of error is x*5%.

  11. Guy 2022-10-17

    That’s what’s different about 2018, that was an OPEN race now. Now, as an incumbent, Kristi Noem has a record she can either stand on or not…and I would say the latter. She forgets that voters are not only voting for who will be governor, Governor,, but also her piss poor record and they’ll take that into account. My guess is they’ll ask what have you done for us Kristi? That’s right, you did everything for YOURSELF and we don’t feel like paying to subsidize your lifestyle anymore.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-17

    My goodness, Grudz—this was a long polling. Talk to the Governor’s friends; I just report.

    Keep in mind, Grudz, the purpose of this poll is not to produce trustworthy predictions or public information. The purpose of this poll is to allow a donor to pour a truckload of money into something the donor thinks will be useful to the campaign in cranking out its last-minute messaging. They aren’t going to deliver any kind of margin of error; they are going to sift through the self-selected respondents and identify a handful of most frequently invoked themes that might turn into quick social media attacks or one or two more blockbuster campaign promises like the food tax repeal.

    Of course, if they churn out too much different content from what they had planned and likely already recorded/printed/sent to advertising outlets during the summer, Team Noem might look desperate, which could foster a counter-narrative that could undo some of the repair work they are trying to do.

    Or maybe the poll doesn’t matter at all to Team Noem. Maybe it really was just a feel-good exercise for a donor. Maybe it’s gravy for some Republican hack conducting the poll who plans to work for the 2024 campaign. Maybe one of Corey Lewandowski’s drinking/whoring buddies needed a quick paycheck.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-17

    But P, there is no write-off for political contributions, is there?

  14. grudznick 2022-10-17

    I did not realize Team Noem created this poll. That makes me feel no different about the blogging.

    I do realize you simply copied all of the questions, along with oversized screen shots, so you are indeed factually reporting things in this blogging. That is good on you, and grudznick did not mean to criticize that portion of the blogging. I supposed I was selfishly wishing you had just made the pictures a wee bit less embiggened. Those were hugely embiggened, and it hurt my eyes and fingers.

    But you’re right, the polling probably doesn’t matter. The fellows who did it probably just sit and laugh and laugh and laugh. And perhaps it was one of Mr. Lewandowski’s drinking or whoring buddies who just needed a quick paycheck, probably to fund the drinking and whoring. That is certainly a possible explanation. I’m just sayin…as are you.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-17

    I’m inclined to agree with Guy and 96 that this poll is mostly useless. It certainly isn’t scientific. Most people will ignore this phone-spam, and I suspect most of the people who ignore it are the sort of voters any push poll would hope to mobilize or sway, while the folks who bother to complete the poll are already politically engaged and have made up their minds.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-10-17

    By the way, the Federal Communications Commission forbids sending texts with an autodialer without the expressed written consent of the recipient. My sister-in-law and I received the survey invitation at nearly the same time, so I’m pretty sure we were auto-dialed. I don’t recall giving Research Polls permission to text me.

    Did someone just break the law on behalf of the Noem campaign?

  17. T 2022-10-17

    According to scam detector this polling site received 26.9 out of 100
    Poor rating

  18. All Mammal 2022-10-17

    You mean dreams do come true?
    Mr. H: granting dreams in a SD town near you!

    Kristi Noem is like three of my poor finger nails after taking the lid off a bucket of Black Jack today…. Busted.
    Ok, fake too….

  19. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-17

    Well..I would bet hard earned money that the poll is a Diane Hendricks project. As I recall, Governor Noem visited personally with Mrs. Hendricks within the last year or so. Mrs. Hendricks is a multi millionaire who enjoys spending her money as a “mover and shaker” in the Republican Party. She started out as an ally of Paul Ryan and Scott Wallker and with the Kochs, funded the Republican take over of Wisconsin. This is probably just one of several Hendricks’ stunts yet to come in the next two weeks.

  20. grudznick 2022-10-17

    Ms. Hendricks is an interesting person. Kinda funny looking, but who isn’t. I suspect she is probably well endowed with more than millions of dollars. She’s a shaker, indeed, and a mover. She probably has the Stamp of the Kochs, as many of us wish we had here on this blogging, but we don’t so we just complain about it all. The Stamp of the Kochs is where it is at these days, I am told.

  21. Nick Nemec 2022-10-18

    The FCC might forbid sending texts with an autodialer but wouldn’t it be possible that sometime in the last twenty years you checked a box rather than reading many pages of boilerplate granting all sorts of permission?
    I’m not even sure this is a poll of any sort but rather simply a bit of campaign trashing of Smith, no different than the negative ads Noem is running on TV. The goal is to plant a seed in your mind that Smith is bad.

  22. Donald Pay 2022-10-18

    Yes, Grudz, she’s a mover, all, right. A bowel mover, one of those out-of-state people who meddle in South Dakota politics without living there. Usually, you complain about such people. Besides whoring governors, Hendricks funds efforts to destroy public education, so you can see how she might support Noem.

Comments are closed.