Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tight as Dick’s Hat Band

In the South Dakota At Large House race, the intensity has stepped up this weak to fever pitch.

I am not party to any polling but based on daily charges, counter charges, actions by the respective political parties, allied groups, and independent expenditures but based on my observation the race currently is a dead heat.

Just guessing - both candidates are stuck on numbers in the mid 40 percent range (perhaps 44 to 46 percent). Throw in Independent candidate, B. Thomas Marking with maybe 2 percent (which could go higher on election day when those disgusted with both parties opt for him to express frustration over the status quo.) In most instances Marking takes voters from Noem. That leaves maybe 6 to 10 percent of voters undecided.

The Undecideds are the voters Noem and Herseth Sandlin are slugging it out over. They have to persuade them to get there vote. Most of the persuading is negative (not to vote for their opponent) rather than positive (why they should vote for me). Expect all Pollyanna beginning about Thursday or Friday before the election to put a pleasant reassuring face on the candidate just before Tuesday’s election.

In the meantime no holds barred. This week we had the food fight that even got a story in the “New York Times”. As posted previously it’s possible that the Democrats will execute the Social Security (let’s scare our Seniors) card the weekend before the election.

The South Dakota race is perhaps the closest House Race in the country. This week it has received extensive national media coverage. Noem raised more money in the last quarter than any other challenge candidate. There were extensive stories calling her the next Sara Palin, even internationally.

Besides capturing the undecideds both campaigns are using their advertising to mobilize their voters. Citizen disillusionment with President Obama’s policies (in particular the so called health care reform law, and the budget busting stimulus and jobless creation bill has increased voter intensity and produced a strong headwind for Democrat candidates. The fact the incumbent is not marshaling a majority vote and has not raised more campaign funds than her opponent is usually accepted as a tale tell sign of defeat. Incumbents should poll over 50 percent and in 95 percent of all races, the candidate with the most money wins.

This week it appears some one showed up with some money for the GOP as there are signs of increased voter turnout activity in the trenches. More than likely it was the Republican National Committee or the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. As the race gains profile the national committees usually are not far behind. It is another sign the race is close.

I also heard, as a result of Kristi’s Hannity appearance and showing up on the home page of the Drudge Report, the donations are rolling in like a tidal wave to the Noem campaign. Certainly it has helped the Republican challenger regain her previous momentum.

The next 10 days will be a slugfest. I would not rule out an October Surprise from either campaign but if I were wagering, would expect it from the Democrat camp.

This is the closest race since Tom Daschle beat Leo Thorsness in 1978 by 14 votes, and 139 in the recount.

This race is tight!