Gov. Kristi Noem, Jamie Smith gubernatorial race is tight, according to SDSU Poll director

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Kristi Noem and Jamie Smith.

The communication director for Gov. Kristi Noem's reelection campaign is calling into question the integrity of the South Dakota State University poll after it was revealed during a radio show that the governor's race between Noem and Rep. Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) is statistically even.

During South Dakota Public Broadcasting's popular daily show "In the Moment," David Wiltse, the director of the SDSU Poll, said that preliminary polling shows Noem leads the race against Smith 45% to 42%.

"This is within just a few points of each other, a very close race," Wiltse said.

The actual results or data behind the poll about the governor's race has not yet been released. The finalized poll results are expected Oct. 11, Wiltse told the Argus Leader.

Wiltse also said that when the final polling results are released, the margin of error will be 4%.

Ian Fury, on Twitter, called into question the polling institution, which started in 2020 through SDSU's School of American and Global Studies.

"[The SDSU Poll] found that South Dakotans DISAPPROVED of @kristinoem's handling of the pandemic 52-45," he wrote in a thread. "A poll conducted by @argusleader and @keloland in the same month found that South Dakotans APPROVED of her pandemic response 54-45. That's a pretty stark difference."

The poll that Fury referenced was done in October 2020. That SDSU Poll found 35% strongly disapproved of Noem's pandemic response while 15% somewhat disapproved. 33% strongly approved and 12% somewhat approved Noem's pandemic response. There was a 4.5% margin of error.

The Argus Leader and KELO TV poll found 57% approved of Noem's response while 35% disapproved. There was a 4% margin of error.

A week before Election Day in 2018, an Argus Leader and KELO TV poll found that Noem's first bid for governor was a tight race against Democrat Billie Sutton. Noem was leading 47% to 44% with a 4.5% margin of error, meaning at the time, the race was still up for grabs at the time.

Noem triumphed over Sutton on Election Day 51% to 48%, one of the smallest margins of victory since 1986, according to Argus Leader reporting.

Election Day is Nov. 8, and if Noem wins, it will be her second term.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Poll director: Governor race is tight ahead of South Dakota election