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Election 2008: South Dakota Presidential Election
McCain Ahead by Nine in South Dakota

Unlike neighboring Montana, South Dakota is still comfortably in John McCain’s column as Election Day closes in.

McCain leads Barack Obama by nine points 53% to 44% in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state. Three percent (3%) remain undecided, and one percent (1%) support a third-party candidate.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) say McCain is the candidate most likely to win their state on Tuesday, compared to just 16% who think Obama will carry South Dakota. Six percent (6%) aren’t sure.

The Republican was ahead by 17 points in the last survey in the state in early September, 54% to 37%. McCain has led here all year, but the Democrat narrowed the gap to four in July.

McCain has the support of 87% of South Dakota Republicans while Obama is backed by 84% of Democrats. voters. Unaffiliated voters are closely divided between the two.

Men prefer McCain by 15 points, but women favor the GOP candidate by just two. Married voters give McCain the edge by 13 points, while unmarried voters like Obama by six. McCain has the support of 81% of regular churchgoers, while 71% of those who rarely or never go to church back Obama.

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South Dakota has not been carried by a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, and President Bush won 60% of the vote here in 2004. Rasmussen Markets data currently gives McCain a % chance of winning South Dakota’s three Electoral College votes this November.

At the time this poll was released, South Dakota is listed as “Likely Republican” in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator. NOTE: Factors other than the latest Rasmussen Reports poll impact the Balance of Power ratings. The current status is indicated on the table in the upper right hand corner of this article.

Nationally, Obama has been leading McCain every day for more than a month in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll. He also has a healthy lead in the Electoral College projections.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of South Dakota voters have a favorable opinion of McCain while 34% view him unfavorably. Obama is seen favorably by 49% and unfavorably by the identical number. McCain’s numbers are largely unchanged from the survey in September; Obama’s have improved somewhat.

The economy is the number one issue in the election for 42% of South Dakota voters, while 24% rank national security as the most important. Voters in the state trust McCain more in both areas, on the economy by eight points and on national security by 20.

Among just those who say the economy is the most important issue, as in much of the country, Obama has the lead, 58% to 34%. For those who rank national security as the premier issue in the race, McCain leads by a staggering 72% to 23%.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) believe that elections are fair to voters, while 29% say they are not. But 68% are Very Confident that their vote will be counted. Just three percent (3%) are not at all confident of that.

Forty-six percent (46%) think it is more likely that people will vote illegally on Election Day than that eligible voters will be denied their right to do so. Thirty-two percent (32%), however, think the opposite is more likely, and 21% are undecided.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) think those who want to vote should be required to show photo identification before being allowed to do so.

Just 35% of South Dakota voters now think President Bush is doing a good or excellent job, while 44% rate his performance as poor.

Sixty-four percent (64%) say Republican Governor M. Michael Rounds is doing a good or excellent job. Only 10% say he is doing a poor job.

Battleground state polls released Monday showed Obama leading in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

In Missouri and North Carolina, the race remains a toss-up while McCain leads by five in his home state of Arizona. Rasmussen Reports Electoral College projections now show Obama leading 260-160. When “leaners” are included, Obama leads 313-160.

Other new polls show McCain ahead in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Montana and Mississippi while Obama has the advantage in New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Demographic crosstabs for all state polling are available for Premium Members. Learn More.


Recent statewide Presidential polls have been released for Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs are available to Premium Members only.

South Dakota
Likely Republican

RR Poll

RR Poll




McCain (R)




Obama (D)




This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports October 30, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.

South Dakota Trends: McCain vs. Obama
















Favorable Ratings for Presidential Candidates in South Dakota




Very Favorable



Somewhat Favorable



Somewhat Unfavorable



Very Unfavorable



Not Sure



Rasmussen Reports - Electoral College Balance of Power Summary





Toss-Ups & Leaners


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.