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Election 2008: South Dakota Senate
South Dakota Senate: Senator Johnson in the Clear

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson (D) is well ahead of State Representative Joel Dykstra in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the state’s U.S. Senate race. The incumbent leads 60% to 35%. When “leaners” are included, Johnson is ahead 60% to 38%.

The race has changed little over the past several months. Last month, Johnson had a 60% to 24% lead over the Republican. In March, when Lt. Governor Steve Kirby was a possible candidate in the race, Johnson topped Dykstra 63% to 28%.

Johnson has served in the United States Senate since 1997. His health began to take center stage when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004 and suffered a brain hemorrhage two years later, leading many to speculate whether he would run for re-election in 2008. The Democrat returned to Senate in 2007 in good health to praise from both political parties. He currently serves as chairman of three subcommittees.

The incumbent earns support from 92% of Democrats and 33% of Republicans in South Dakota. Dykstra is backed by 61% of Republican voters and 5% of Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, Johnson leads 57% to 36%.

Johnson leads Dykstra 65% to 29% among women and 53% to 44% among men in South Dakota.

The incumbent Senator is viewed favorably by 69% of South Dakota voters and unfavorably by 27%. Dykstra’s numbers are 46% favorable, 31% unfavorable.

South Dakota is one of several states where Democrats are in good shape for re-election this year. Democratic senators in Massachusetts, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois and Rhode Island all have big leads over their Republican challengers. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are the only two Democratic Senators currently polling below 50%. Republican incumbents are not so lucky this year. Republican seats in Virginia, Alaska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky and Maine are all potentially vulnerable.

In South Dakota’s Presidential race, John McCain leads Barack Obama by just four percentage points. In 2004, George W. Bush won the historically red state 60% to 38%. The state has not chosen a Democratic candidate since 1964.

Rasmussen Markets data suggests that Johnson has a % chance of winning re-election in November. These results are updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants. It costs nothing to join, so add your voice to the collective wisdom .

Republican Governor Mike Rounds earns good or excellent ratings from 56% of voters in South Dakota. Just 15% of voters believe he is doing a poor job.

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South Dakota Safe Democratic

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

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In Trade

2002 Results

Dykstra (R)




Johnson (D)




This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on July 9, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.

South Dakota Trends: Dykstra vs. Johnson













Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in South Dakota




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About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.