Is 60% really all that high for a Republican gov in SD?

SD Gov. Dennis Daugaard earned a solid 60% job approval rating in a recent poll, but other Republicans have outshined him. Is that really a good number for a SD Republican in his first year in office?

Dennis Daugaard is just about the nicest guy you will ever meet. South Dakota has its share of nice politicians, but this one tops them in my book. (Isn’t there a Twitter person going by Denny Do-good?)

So when I ask if the governor’s 60% job approval rating in a recent poll is really all that high, I’m not asking if Denny is likeable. He most certainly is. So is Barack Obama, but that hasn’t helped his job approval ratings of late, either.

I remember Mike Rounds scoring an off-the-charts 75 or something, the highest approval rating in all the land. John Thune got re-elected to Congress a few times by that very comfortable margin.

And while many a politician would give a year’s worth of campaign contributions to get even close to 60%, the number struck me as low for a Republican on the Second Floor in his first year.

So I wonder aloud if anyone else had the same reaction.

Could it be the budget cuts? I know I winced when nobody blinked on cutting 10% across the board, being the mother of 2 toddlers and caring very  much about the school down the street. (I know schools didn’t suffer the entire 10%; it was still rough.)

Could it be somehow the flood? I have heard through the grapevine that some residents of the northeastern lakes territory felt a bit chagrinned that so much focus went to the Mighty Mo while they, too, faced rising waters. I have also heard grumbling about disproportionate use of National Guard resources in the tony Dakota Dunes community.

Even if these complaints are unwarranted – and I must confess I have not followed up, the perception is certainly out there. And, you know, people talk.

Could it be a lawyerly, perhaps professorial speaking style that, for all of Denny’s niceness, lacks a bit in the broad charisma that is the currency of modern-day politics?

Could it be that the stepped-up rhetoric coming from the Dems is having an impact?

Could it be that I’m simply all wet? That 60% is really quite high in the current electoral climate?

One thought on “Is 60% really all that high for a Republican gov in SD?

  1. When I saw the approval rating, I though it was pretty high for somebody just coming off a legislative session in which he convinced the Legislature to cut 10 percent from all of state government. Then again, isn’t a balanced budget what a lot of people said they wanted? So, really, those people should be exceedingly happy with Daugaard. But in reality, we all know austerity measures don’t go down easy.

    Also, I’m not sure I trust the poll. I don’t mean to demean the Nielson Brothers, but didn’t they just begin polling last year? I’m sure they’re smart guys, but they’re not exactly the Gallup organization.

    I think there’s something to the he’s-too-nice and the lack-of-charisma argument, but I don’t think that’s a very large factor. Daugaard certainly has no less charisma than Tim Johnson, and that hasn’t stopped Johnson — a Democrat, no less — from compiling one of the most successful election records in state history. I think South Dakotans like people who just do their job without a lot of flashiness.

    Ultimately, I’d say Daugaard hasn’t been in office long enough for many people to form very firm opinions of him. We always have to remember that although us nerds follow his every move, most of the voting public only knows a couple of things about him: he cut the budget, and he was in office during the big flood. That’s not much to base an opinion on. Given that Daugaard is very similar style-wise to Tim Johnson, and given that Daugaard is a Republican in a state that leans toward that party, I’d say his popularity rating is bound to improve.

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