Supporters of Initiated Measure 15 continue to lead opponents, according to a new poll from a Sioux Falls polling firm.
IM 15 is supported 44.2 to 37.8 percent, according to Nielson Brothers Polling. In NBP’s Labor Day weekend poll, a similar percentage (43.7) of respondents supported the measure. However, opposition has risen by 6.1 percent since then, and undecided voters have dropped from 24.6 percent to 18 percent in this latest survey.
“Our Oct. 1-5 survey shows the numbers of supporters for Initiated Measure 15 holding steady, but opposition mounting across the political parties,” says Paul Nielson, president of Nielson Brothers Polling. “Democrats continue to be the major proponents, but a majority of previously undecided voters are turning against the measure since Labor Day.”
The polling data was released Sunday, with three of the seven ballot questions examined.
Initiated Measure 15, if passed, would increase the state sales tax by 1 percent to bolster education and Medicaid, raising $175 million to $180 million annually, proponents claim.
However, opposition has risen across the spectrum of political parties, according to Nielson Brothers. While Republican support for IM 15 holds steady at 37.3 percent (compared to 37.8 percent in the Labor Day poll), Republican opposition has risen to 42.5 percent (up almost five percentage points).
Democratic support has risen to 53.5 percent (up from 50.3 percent in the LDS). However, Democratic opposition increases by even more, as 30.7 percent of Democrats reject the measure (compared to 24.2 percent in the previous survey). Independent support falls to 44.5 percent (down from 49.2 percent) and Independent opposition rises to 42.7 percent (up from 28.2 percent).
Self-identified tea party members continue to give stiffest opposition to the measure, with 55.2 percent “against,” while liberals offer the strongest endorsement at 58.7 percent, but that number is down from 64.5 percent.
Referred Law 14 has yet to catch on with voters, either for or against, according to the poll.
According to NBP, 32.4 percent say they will vote against it while 20.6 percent of respondents said they would vote for it. If passed, it which would transfer 22 percent of the contractors’ excise tax from the state’s general fund to a Large Project Development Fund. However, close to half of likely voters (47 percent) remain undecided, according to the poll.
Supporters for Referred Law 16 (RL 16) — called HB 1234 before its referral — have a slight lead in a tight contest, as 34 percent of respondents say they will vote for this law, which would establish programs for teacher scholarships and bonuses, standardize teacher and principal evaluations, and eliminate tenure requirements.
Meanwhile, 32.7 percent of respondents say they will vote against it, and a full third (33.3 percent) say they are undecided. Since NBP’s July survey, support for RL 16 has risen by 4.0 percent, and opposition has fallen by 5.4 percent.
When it comes to the economy, pessimism still reigns. as 30.6 percent of respondents say they “feel more confident” about their economic situation “compared to this time last year” and 23.8 percent feel “about the same,” while 45.6 percent are “less confident.”
Viewpoints again divide along party lines, with 50.7 percent of Democrats saying they “feel more confident” and 26.3 percent “less confident.”
On the other hand, only 16.7 percent of Republicans “feel more confident” against 59.7 percent who said they are “less confident.”
In responding to a question about the direction of South Dakota, 47.9 percent of voters say the state is going in the “right direction” (down from 50.1 percent in the Labor Day survey), 30 percent say “wrong direction” (up from 26.5 percent), and 22.1 percent are “undecided.” Answers again diverge along party lines, with almost two thirds of Republicans (63.9 percent), versus barely one fourth of Democrats (27.2 percent), answering “right direction.”
NBP surveyed a random selection of likely South Dakota voters from Oct. 1-5. The number of responses ranged from 762 (with a 3.55 percent margin of error) on the question on the state’s direction, to 679 (with a 3.76 percent margin of error) on the question on economic confidence.