By Todd Epp
Northern Plains News

South Dakotans like how Republicans Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Rep. Kristi Noem are doing their jobs.

But not so much so when it comes to Democratic President Barack Obama.

These were the findings of the Nielson Brothers Polling/Northern Plains News statewide survey conducted July 23-28, 2014.

Governor Daugaard’s overall job approval remains high among South Dakotans at 64.1 percent. Over 30 percent of respondents (30.4 percent) said they “strongly approve,” and 34.1 percent “somewhat approve.” Meanwhile, 19.3 percent said they “somewhat disapprove” and 16.2 percent “strongly disapprove” of the first term governor’s job performance.

Rep. Noem’s approval ratings were slightly less positive (58.0 percent) than Daugaard’s, with somewhat higher negatives. Respondents gave the third-term representative a 24.5 percent “strongly approve” rating while 33.5 said they “somewhat approve.” On the other hand, 14.5 percent responded that they “somewhat disapprove,” and 27.5 percent “strongly disapprove.”

President Obama’s overall job approval (36.7 percent) remains low among South Dakota voters. While 18.9 percent answer that they “strongly approve,” 17.8 percent “somewhat approve.” On the negative side, 13.6 percent said they “somewhat disapprove,” and nearly half—49.7 percent—“strongly disapprove” of the President’s job performance.

Behind the numbers

“Partisan responses highlight differences in job approval,” said NBP partner Paul Nielson. “Republicans in this survey gave high marks to both incumbents from their own party.”

From Republicans, Governor Daugaard received 82.0 percent job approval (43.7 percent “strongly approve”), and Representative Noem received 80.4 percent (37.3 percent “strongly”).

In contrast, Democrats gave Governor Daugaard a 41.0 percent job approval (11.9 percent “strongly”), and Noem a 29.2 percent approval (6.6 percent “strongly”).

Democrats more “strongly” disapproved of Noem’s job performance than they did Daugaard’s. While 30.1 percent of Democrats “strongly disapprove” of Daugaard’s job performance, almost half (49.9 percent) “strongly disapprove” of Noem’s.

Respondents registered as independent or in another party gave Daugaard higher marks, 62.4 percent approval, than they gave Noem, with a 50.5 percent approval rating.

The survey also asked respondents to identify themselves with an ideological affiliation among the four choices of Tea Party (17.7 percent), Conservatives (35.5 percent), Moderates (28.9 percent), and Liberals (17.9 percent).

Respondents identifying with the “Tea Party” gave highest marks to both Noem (96.5 percent approval) and Daugaard (87.8 percent approval). “Conservatives” marks were also high for both, with 78.0 percent approval for Noem and 77.4 percent for Daugaard.

“Liberals” gave the lowest marks to both Republican incumbents, with 5.8 percent approval for Noem, and 24.1 percent approval for Daugaard. “Liberals” also offered the most “strongly disapprove” responses to both, with 74.5 percent “strongly” disapproving of Noem’s job performance and 46.3 percent “strongly” disapproving of Daugaard’s.

Questions, response numbers (percent), and margins of error

How do you rate the job done by Governor Dennis Daugaard?
607 respondents, 3.95 percent margin of error:
Strongly Approve 30.4 percent
Somewhat Approve 34.1 percent
Somewhat Disapprove 19.3 percent
Strongly Disapprove 16.2 percent

How do you rate the job done by Representative Kristi Noem?
614 responses, 3.92 percent margin of error:
Strongly Approve 24.5 percent
Somewhat Approve 33.5 percent
Somewhat Disapprove 14.5 percent
Strongly Disapprove 49.7 percent

How do you rate the job done by President Barack Obama?
615 responses, margin of error 3.92 percent:
Strongly Approve 18.9 percent
Somewhat Approve 17.8 percent
Somewhat Disapprove 13.6 percent
Strongly Disapprove 49.7 percent
The NBP/NPN completes its releases from the July 23 - 28 poll Saturday. It will include results on South Dakota likely voters’ views about the direction of the state and whether they would support candidates who are for a pathway to citizenship in immigration and same sex marriage.