Press "Enter" to skip to content

Noem More Popular Than Marijuana and Medicaid But Less Popular Than Jackley, Johnson, Thune, Nelson, and Haeder

When troublemakers bought billboards in July 2021 stating that more South Dakotans voted for marijuana than for Kristi Noem, I noted that the comparison is a somewhat appley-orangey: comparing votes from different years, mid-terms versus Presidential elections, with different voters and different turnouts, doesn’t produce as reliable a gauge of public sentiment as comparing vote totals in one election, on candidates and issues on the same ballot.

The 2022 election put the old 2021 billboard to bed. Kristi Noem is far more popular among South Dakota voters than marijuana. 217,035 South Dakotans said they want Kristi Noem to govern for four more years, while only 163,584 South Dakotans said they want recreational marijuana to be legal. Noem got 53,451 more votes, 32.7% more, than Initiated Measure 27.

Also more popular than marijuana is Medicaid. 192,057 South Dakotans voted for Amendment D to expand Medicaid. That’s 28,473 more votes, 17.4%, than the yeas on IM 27.

Conservative Kristi Noem was more popular in this election than either of the liberal ballot initiatives that she opposed. However, she should keep in mind (and the rest of us should keep in mind) that both measures received tens of thousands more votes than did Noem’s opponents in the gubernatorial race. 133,310 people voted for someone other than Noem for Governor. Thus, it is possible that around 30,000 people who voted for Noem also voted to legalize pot, and around 59,000 people who voted for Noem voted to expand Medicaid.

Kristi Noem may be more popular than Medicaid and marijuana, but she’s still far from the most popular Republican in the state. Despite the fact that the gubernatorial contest drew more voters (350,165) than any other race or ballot question in the 2022 general election, Noem won only the sixth-highest number of votes among the nine Republicans on the statewide ballot. Her winning percentage of 61.98% was the lowest in all nine statewide races. Congressman Dusty Johnson, Senator John Thune, Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson, and even Treasurer Josh Haeder all got more votes than Noem. Dusty Johnson won the highest vote percentage for a contested statewide candidate, 77.42%.

Even Marty Jackley, who had no opponent for Attorney General, got more people to bother to mark his name than could be persuaded to vote for Kristi Noem.

Candidate Votes for Votes in race % of vote
Marty Jackley 257,419 257,419 100.00%
Dusty Johnson 253,821 327,841 77.42%
John Thune 242,316 348,020 69.63%
Chris Nelson 227,167 330,551 68.72%
Josh Haeder 219,334 327,250 67.02%
Kristi Noem 217,035 350,165 61.98%
Brock Greenfield 215,742 323,260 66.74%
Monae Johnson 212,348 332,323 63.90%
Richard Sattgast 206,633 329,796 12.65%
average 227,979 325,181 70.11%
average sans Jackley 224,300 333,651 67.23%

In both raw number of votes and percentage of the vote, Kristi Noem drew below-average support compared to her fellow statewide Republican candidates.

Republican dissatisfaction with Kristi Noem was not enough to keep Noem from winning reëlection. But Noem continues to put off a noticeable number of voters who otherwise embrace the R brand up and down the ballot.


  1. Anne Beal 2022-11-10 20:22

    Kristi Noem was the only statewide Republican candidate who had an opponent anybody had ever heard of. Jamie Smith ran a lot of ads. None of the rest of them did. It was fun to ask people who was running against the others and hear crickets. Those who had heard of one of the other candidates couldn’t recall which office they were seeking.

  2. grudznick 2022-11-10 20:48

    So Mr. Sattgass is at the bottom of the pile, and Ms. Monae is of course below Ms. Noem? That seems insaner than most.

    It is surprising, of course, that Mr. Greenfield, a long respected fellow about the government, did not finish near the very top of the list. Do you know he is going to excel in Pierre and dominate the legislatures and committees upon which he used to serve, as he knows how they operate from the inside.

  3. sx123 2022-11-11 01:23

    Plenty of people don’t like Noem, but there is no way they’ll vote for a D, cuz abortion.

    This is child’s knowledge.

  4. All Mammal 2022-11-11 09:07

    Sadly, Ms. Beal’s comment demonstrates how dismally uneducated the voters were to not know a thing other than the quantity of TV commercials about the candidates they went out and voted for. There is something very unhealthy when that can be said about the electorate.
    The more exposure a candidate in SD has may increase the likelihood he or she received fat stacks from PAC shot-callers. Take the fame to play the game.
    SD pays to forgo being informed.

  5. e platypus onion 2022-11-11 10:41

    Dakota elections lend all new meaning to the term simple majority.

  6. P. Aitch 2022-11-11 13:17

    Cory said, “Kristi Noem is far more popular among South Dakota voters than marijuana.” That statement is without facts to back it up, Cory. Your Governor is obviously more popular than “legal” marijuana. But unless you have stats as to how many in SD use marijuana for temporary relief from the lives they lead, then that assertion is unfounded.
    *As an aside, recreational marijuana failed on the ballot seven times in Colorado before Republican voters made it legal. I know as many Republican voters in SD that toke up as liberals. Weed ain’t political in practice. It’s political when on the ballot and on main street retail, though.

  7. P. Aitch 2022-11-11 14:21

    I remember when posting on Pat Power’s blog that once it was known I live in CO almost every person would make a snide remark about being too high to converse with intellectually or something along those lines. But that’s all changed since none of the things anti-weed advocates promised turned out to be more than just vague insinuations. What’s my point, you ask.
    *Today Colorado voters legalized magic mushrooms and legalized psychedelic therapy. We missed being ridiculed by those of you with limited knowledge and near zero foresight.
    **Bring by those snide comments, will ‘ya? #grins

  8. Kurt Evans 2022-11-11 15:34

    The commenter formerly known as Porter Lansing writes:

    I remember when posting on Pat Power’s blog that once it was known I live in CO almost every person would make a snide remark about being too high to converse with intellectually or something along those lines.

    Pat Powers has driven most intelligent comments away from his blog by unpredictably and almost randomly removing them.

    His “2022 Candidate List” had the statewide Libertarian Party candidates listed incorrectly all year, probably intentionally, and he removes it today within minutes of posting this smear against pro-liberty Republicans:

    The Jackley-Schoenbeck-Powers wing is doing more friendly-fire damage to the state GOP than everyone on the left combined, and the politicians who advertise there are contributing to keeping rational competitors out of the market.

  9. larry kurtz 2022-11-11 15:43

    I confess to subscribing to the Mitchell Republic website just to read Sibby’s hilarious letters to the editor because Kurt Evans isn’t funny anymore.

  10. Kurt Evans 2022-11-11 17:04

    I’d written:

    The Jackley-Schoenbeck-Powers wing is doing more friendly-fire damage to the state GOP than everyone on the left combined, and the politicians who advertise there are contributing to keeping rational competitors out of the market.

    Note that Senator Schoenbeck doesn’t actually advertise at South Dakota War College. I’m pretty sure he just sends Pat Powers money and lets him know which traditional pro-liberty “wackadoodles” to smear next.

  11. e platypus onion 2022-11-13 08:36

    Dems win Nevada Senate race and maintain control of the Senate, as long as 2 black sheep learn to stay at home. Now’s the time to pack the courts with liberal and well qualified liberal justices. Let magats cry themselves to sleep over drumpf!

  12. 96Tears 2022-11-13 10:54

    Outside the hermetically sealed political environment of deep red South Dakota and its powerful three electoral votes, this hasn’t been a good week for Noem. Every minute of her first term in office was focused on running for President in the 2024 election. She completely ignored her duties as governor of our backwater state and, with the help and guidance of her paramour The Lew, she’s made a name for herself among key Republicans as “her? Who else is running?”

    Today’s evidence is in The Fix column of the Washington Post. Senior political writer for The Fix and graduate of the University of Minnesota Aaron Blake, a native of Minnesota, ranks the top 10 post-election presidential choices for Republicans. They are, in order of 1 to 10, Gov. Ron DeSantis, twice impeached and 2020 loser President Don Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Sen. Tim Scott, Kari Lake, Sen. Ted Kruz, Gov. Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo and Sen. Rick Scott. Blake’s ranking is based on his analysis of who is “most likely to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2024. As usual, this takes into account both their likelihood of running and their prospects if they do.”

    So where did Aaron Blake place our AWOL governor? In the middle of the pack as follows:

    “Honorable mention: Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Donald Trump Jr.”

    Personally, I want Kristi to run and run hard for the first time in her life. Inside South Dakota, running as an R is an easy lay-up with less than 32 percent of voters registered as Democrats and 91 percent of the legislative seats held by Republicans. Noem didn’t create this winter wonderland for one-party rule. It was there waiting for her when she came to Pierre and it will be there after she leaves. But until undeniable reality sets in and Noem is a faint memory in the minds of Republicans outside the hermetically sealed political environment of deep red South Dakota and its powerful three electoral votes, I want to see Kristi making a jackass of herself outside South Dakota and out of sight in our state.

    For those of you who still think she’s a likely choice for vice president, look over that top 10 list as well as the honorable mentions. Which of these has less influence than Noem when it comes to winning swing states, appealing to cross-over votes, raising serious money, a history of significant achievements while in office or gaining solidarity with needed voting blocs? Talk amongst yourselves.

  13. John Dale 2022-11-13 19:47

    Turns out, I have gotten a lot of folks to reconcile and get along as United States of Americans despite the well funded shadow governments efforts to keep people divided because they think people are too stupid to govern themselves..

    It’s because I hold views like, “I like Governor Noem and Marijuana equally.”

    That is all,


  14. P. Aitch 2022-11-13 20:08

    Shadow government? You’re a funny little guy, JaeDee.

  15. grudznick 2022-11-13 20:08

    Mr. Dale, there is no shadow government here in South Dakota. No Deep State. None.

  16. O 2022-11-13 21:00

    my dear grudznick, although there may be no shadow government, in fact with our Governor, there may be no actual government at all, the deep state is alive and well, ensuring that the REAL work of government: paving streets, building bridges, helping people get housing, providing veterans with medical services goes on. Dedicated public servants — who day-after-day do their best to keep their heads down and ignore the storms of chaos created by those who crave the headlines and fanfare — continue do make lives better for fellow man (and woman). There is a deep state in SD and thank your heavens there is.

  17. P. Aitch 2022-11-13 21:19

    Right, O. The actual deep state is exactly as you described it. Those who need, not want, to attribute an insidious imagination gone wild to public servants are humorous in their ignorance.

  18. grudznick 2022-11-13 21:30

    Those are the fellows, Mr. O, who probably take orders from some Deep State through means of communication we can only imagine. And those are the fellows who will be invited to the big dance in January, I am sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.