The first Emerson College Polling/The Hill/KELO survey of South Dakota voters finds Republican Governor Kristi Noem with a majority of voters support (56%) for re-election. Thirty-seven percent plan to support Democrat Jamie Smith and 3% Libertarian Tracey Quint. Four percent are undecided. Regardless of whom they support, 74% expect Noem to be re-elected while 27% expect Smith to be elected. 

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “Smith leads Noem among independent voters 46% to 39%, and among Democratic voters 80% to 17%; however, Smith’s support is not strong enough to surpass Noem’s majority of Republican voters’ support in South Dakota who represent the majority of registered voters, and she leads among Republicans 83% to 12%.”

The economy is the most important issue for 45% of South Dakota voters, followed by threats to democracy (15%), abortion access (12%), and healthcare (10%). 

A majority of voters (51%) plan to vote yes on Constitutional Amendment D, an amendment to the South Dakota Constitution which would expand Medicaid eligibility, while 22% plan to vote no, and 28% are undecided. 

Kimball noted, “While a plurality or majority of all age groups support Amendment D, it is most popular among voters under 35 at 56% support, and least popular among voters over 65, where 48% of voters plan to vote yes.”

By contrast, 51% of voters plan to vote no on Measure 27, which would legalize the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana for recreational purposes in South Dakota, 40% plan to vote yes, and 10% are undecided. 

Regarding the grocery sales tax in South Dakota, 47% support a full repeal of the tax, 32% support a reduction of the tax, and 22% think it should stay as is. 

A plurality of voters (45%) support the South Dakota abortion ban, while 39% oppose it, and 16% are unsure. Forty-nine percent say the overturning of Roe v. Wade makes no difference on their likelihood to vote in 2022, while 47% say they are more likely to vote. Four percent say it makes them less likely to vote this November. 


The Emerson College Polling survey of South Dakota voters was conducted October 19-21, 2022. The sample consisted of very likely general election voters, n=1,500, with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.4 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, party registration, and region based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample using SMS-to-web, an online panel, a voter registration list of emails, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.