Presidential Politics And Election Returns
Last Updated July 14, 2003
South Dakota has voted Democratic for president just four times since statehood, in 1896, 1932, 1936 and 1964. But it was fairly close in five of the seven elections between 1972, when South Dakota's George McGovern was the Democratic nominee, and 1996, when Bill Clinton came within 3% of winning. In 2000 the cultural liberalism and environmental policies of Al Gore were far from popular here, and George W. Bush carried the state 60%-38%. Gore carried only Indians, a rising but small percentage of the electorate, and ran even among the elderly, but the percentage of voters who remember Franklin Roosevelt is on the wane. South Dakota's three electoral votes seem unlikely to be seriously contested in 2004. In 2002 Republicans passed a law barring candidates from running for president and other office at the same time. This was obviously aimed at preventing Tom Daschle from running for president and for senator in 2004, but it was mooted when Daschle announced in January 2003 that he wouldn't run for president.
South Dakota's presidential primary for years was held in June, on the same day as California's, and eclipsed by it. Since 1988 it has been held in February, just one week after New Hampshire. So far it has been not a trendsetter, but a booster of Great Plains candidates who do not fare well elsewhere: Bob Dole in 1988 and 1996, Dick Gephardt in 1988, Bob Kerrey and Tom Harkin in 1992. In 2000 the primary was moved back to June and attracted little notice.
|2000 Presidential Vote|
|2000 Republican Primary|
|1996 Presidential Vote|
For 1992 and 1996 presidential results in South Dakota, please see the Almanac 2000 online.
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