Wednesday | July 10, 2002
Don't count out Johnson in SD
SD Senator Johnson has been long considered the most endangered Democratic incumbent in the Senate. Yet after lagging for months, he appears to have caught Republican challenger Thune, the state's only House member.
While the race is devoid of any recent independent polls, the Johnson campaign is lauding an internal poll showing Johnson edging ahead of Thune. TalkingPointsMemo has a good analysis of the new poll numbers and other factors influencing the race. In short, after laggin behind for months, Johnson is now in a statistical dead heat with Thune. And despite Bush's bold efforts to bolster Thune, South Dakotans seem to be more influenced by Sen. Majority Leader (and South Dakotan) Daschle.
Johnson's poll numbers show him leading 49-47. Again, a statistical tie. Thune's people claim Johnson is in trouble because he's an incumbant under that magical 50 percent mark. However, in this race, BOTH candidates are statewide incumbants, so that rule doesn't apply (or applies equally to both candidates, take your pick). Thune's people claim their internal polling shows Thune still ahead, but they refuse to release their polls. And in politics, you trumpet good news, hide bad news. I'm guessing Thune's people are lying.
That's one poll on the right-hand margin I'll be happy to update.