South Dakota Primary Facts and Figures

The state's primary is June 3.

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The South Dakota primary is June 3.

Presidential Primary Winners

Democrats

  • 1988: Dick Gephardt
  • 1992: Bob Kerrey
  • 1996: no primary held
  • 2000: no primary held
  • 2004: John Kerry

Republicans

  • 1988: Bob Dole slate
  • 1992: George H. W. Bush
  • 1996: Bob Dole
  • 2000: George W. Bush
  • 2004: no primary held

Sources:
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections
South Dakota Secretary of State: Election Information 2004

Voter Registration Data

(as of May 16, 2008—unofficial totals)

Total active registered voters: 506,375

Registration by party:

  • Republican: 235,965 (46.60%)
  • Democrat: 192,037 (37.92%)
  • Independent: 76,338 (15.08%)
  • Libertarian: 1,026 (0.20%)
  • Constitution: 315 (0.06%)
  • Other: 694 (0.14%)

Source:
South Dakota Secretary of State: Upcoming Election Unofficial Voter Registration Totals by County (May 16, 2008)

General Election Winners—1988-2004

  • 1988: George H. W. Bush
  • 1992: George H. W. Bush
  • 1996: Bob Dole
  • 2000: George W. Bush
  • 2004: George W. Bush

Sources:
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections
South Dakota Secretary of State: Election Information 2004

Exit Poll Demographics

2004 general election

Sex

  • Male: 50%
  • Female: 50%

Race

  • White: 95%
  • African-American: 1%
  • Latino: 0%
  • Asian: 0%
  • Other: 4%

Age

  • 18-29: 19%
  • 30-44: 28%
  • 45-59: 28%
  • 60 and older: 24%

Source:
CNN.com

3 Things You Didn't Know About South Dakota Primaries

1. South Dakota usually holds its presidential primary in June. However, for the 1988, 1992, and 1996 elections, the state legislature moved the presidential primary date to late February in an attempt to gain national attention. However, only a few candidates visited South Dakota in 1996, so the state returned to the June primary date, judging that the benefits of the earlier date did not justify the costs (between $400,000 and $500,000).

2. In 1992, Pat Buchanan announced his candidacy so late that he didn't get his name on the Republican presidential primary ballot in South Dakota. The ballot listed only delegates for George H. W. Bush and uncommitted. Even though Bush was basically unopposed, he received only 69 percent of the vote, with 30 percent of the voters choosing the uncommitted slate. Buchanan said the results showed that Bush was "weak as a kitten."

3. In May 2007, South Dakota's Secretary of State, Chris Nelson, was quoted as saying: "We sometimes joke here that if this primary process ends up as fractured as it appears at this particular point, you know, there's the one-in-a-million shot that perhaps things won't be sewed up by June 3rd, and South Dakota may get some national attention. But that's literally a one-in-a-million chance of that happening. And as opposed to that, I rather think it'll be pretty much wrapped in February."

Sources:
The Almanac of American Politics
Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, SD)
The Associated Press
The Associated Press State & Local Wire
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections
National Public Radio