An outside firm’s survey indicates state Attorney General Marty Jackley leads U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem for the Republican nomination for South Dakota governor in the June 5 primary election.
Jackley had 39 percent and Noem had 38 percent in the May 4-7 survey by Leverage Public Strategies of Birmingham, Ala. The potential margin of error was 5.2 percentage points. That means either candidate potentially could be substantially ahead of the other.
The winner faces Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton in the November general election. Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard can’t seek a third consecutive term.
There’s no connection between the Jackley campaign and the Alabama firm, according to Joe Schartz, spokesman for Jackley’s campaign.
“This is consistent with our internal polling, which shows a tight race with Jackley ahead with likely primary voters,” Schartz said.
Brittany Comins, spokeswoman for the Noem campaign, called the poll “laughable.”
“It's incredibly skewed, as 20 percent of respondents are Democrats or independents who can't even vote in the primary,” Comins said. That made it “a clear outlier,” she said.
Two earlier outside surveys of Republican-only voters indicated Noem had double-digit leads. Comins said Noem’s polling had similar results.
Jackley Campaign Manager Jason Glodt said Noem Campaign Manager Justin Brasell previously worked with the person who conducted the first survey that put Noem in front.
An answer wasn’t immediately available from the Jackley campaign about whether non-Republicans were part of the Alabama firm’s survey.