Congressional candidate Tim Bjorkman has narrowed the gap in his race for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a new poll shows.
In addition, Bjorkman is within the margin of error in the Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey when voters are told more about each candidate.
The poll shows Republican Dusty Johnson leading Bjorkman 39 percent to 37 percent when the positions and backgrounds of both candidates are provided. In the initial head-to-head match-up, Johnson leads Bjorkman 43-33, with 14 percent undecided.
However, this lead is largely due to Johnson’s substantially greater name recognition, an advantage that will certainly decline as Bjorkman becomes better known.
While Johnson’s own recently released polling shows him with a 21-point lead, there are reasons to question those numbers. For unexplained reasons, the pollsters left out two of the four candidates who will appear on the November ballot, which may help account for the polling firm’s low accuracy ratings.
While Bjorkman’s pollster, PPP is ranked fifth for accuracy by FiveThirtyEight, which tracks political surveys, FiveThirtyEight ranks Johnson’s pollster, Public Opinion Strategies, near the bottom — 25th.
Additionally, an analysis from a Fordham University political science professor ranked Public Policy Polling as the most accurate polling firm in the nation for the 2012 presidential election.
“I believe our numbers accurately reflect the state of the race,” Bjorkman said Tuesday. “I am the underdog, but I knew that going into this race. We’re running with a purpose; we don’t accept PAC money of any sort and we want to fundamentally change the way elections are run. As this reliable polling seems to suggest, we are gaining ground every week.”
While most voters already are well-acquainted with Johnson, a two-time state office winner, less than half know Bjorkman, but those who do view him more far favorably than Johnson, suggesting that as the campaign heats up, voter sentiments will likely shift strongly to Bjorkman.
It’s also noteworthy that despite Republican voters’ familiarity with Johnson, even after he has spent over $750,000 so far on his campaign, he hasn’t won over 41 percent of Republican voters.
Additionally, Bjorkman runs relatively strong among them with 16 percent supporting him, another 16 percent say they’re unsure who they’ll vote for, and 9 percent supporting other candidates. And by a wide margin of 60-19 percent, voters are more likely to vote for Bjorkman after learning that he is refusing all special interest money from political action committees.
PPP surveyed 641 registered South Dakota voters, 53 percent of them Republicans, from July 19-20. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent. The poll was conducted by automated telephone interviews.
The POS poll surveyed 400 people. There was no available breakdown by party.
The Johnson polling also shows that, while Johnson enjoys the predicted name recognition edge, he’s not liked as well as Bjorkman among those who have opinions of each man: Bjorkman enjoys favorability ratings of 4:1 in the Johnson poll, while Johnson’s favorability rating is half that at 2:1.
To read the Rapid City Journal story, go to https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/dueling-polls-show-gap-of-or-points-in-house-race/article_25a816e0-efea-57e2-8889-0fd01745c565.html