Rep. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemSouth Dakota will not enforce social distancing at Mount Rushmore Fourth of July event South Dakota governor says she’s working with Trump officials on Mount Rushmore flyover South Dakota governor asks Trump to intervene in checkpoint dispute with Native American tribes MORE (R-S.D.) has a three-point lead in her race against South Dakota Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton in The Mount Rushmore State’s gubernatorial race, according to a new Argus Leader/KELO-TV poll released Thursday. 

Noem has the support of 47 percent of likely voters, while 44 percent support Sutton, gap that falls within the poll’s margin of error. Eight percent of likely voters are undecided, and one percent says they will support Libertarian candidate Kurt Evans. Noem and Sutton were tied in the same poll less than two weeks ago. 


South Dakota hasn’t had a Democrat for governor since 1979 and President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE won the state in 2016 by about 30 points.

Both candidates in the race have net-positive favorability ratings. About 46 percent of likely voters view Noem favorably, while 37 percent have an unfavorable view. About 44 percent view Sutton favorably, while 32 percent have an unfavorable view. 

Sutton was viewed favorably by a 50-24 percent margin in the recent Argus Leader/KELO-TV poll.

The new poll comes after both candidates aired negative adds on their opponents, with Noem linking Sutton to Hillary Clinton and Sutton slamming Noem as a career politician. 

President Trump’s standing in the state may help buoy Noem’s support. About 57 percent of likely voters approve the job Trump is doing as president, while 38 percent disapprove. The president has endorsed Noem and campaigned and fundraised with her in September.

However, the race to replace term limited Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard is still projected to be close, with The Cook Political Report rating the race as a “toss up.” 

The Argus Leader/KELO-TV poll surveyed 500 likely voters from Oct. 29-31 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.

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