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South Dakota GOP Divided On Trump, Noem COVID Response, SDSU Survey Finds

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Governor's Office
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Governor's Office

A poll out of South Dakota State University finds state Republicans are split on their approval of how President Donald Trump and Governor Kristi Noem are handling the coronavirus pandemic.
 
The two professors behind the survey sent email invites to 10,000 registered South Dakota voters.
 
About five hundred responded to an 85 question survey about their perceptions of COVID-19. Most respondents identify as Republican – at 46 percent. Twenty eight percent consider themselves Democrat and the rest Independent.
 
Dave Wiltse is an associate professor of political science at SDSU. He calls the survey a fairly representative sample of the South Dakota voting population.
 
He says the survey shows a slim majority of South Dakotans disapprove of Trump and Noem’s reactions to the coronavirus.
 
“About 52 percent opposed President Trump and just a hair over 50 percent opposed Governor Noem," Wiltse says. "Given the fact that Trump won this state 60-30 back in the 2016 election and just the underlying partisanship of this state, this was kindof surprising to us.”
 
Wiltse says that points to fracture within Republicans on their approval of both Trump and Noem’s reactions to COVID.
 
Wiltse says state Democrats are solidly opposed to how those two leaders are handling the pandemic.
 
Just over 50 percent of respondents say they consistently wear a mask while out in public.
 
About 38 percent of the respondents say they’re not comfortable going to restaurants, church, flying in planes or staying in a hotel.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.