The South Dakota Polling Project is a research unit of the political science program housed in The School of American and Global Studies at South Dakota State University. In the spirit of our land-grant mission, we utilize our expertise in political science to analyze issues that are important to South Dakotans from an objective, scientific and non-partisan perspective. Recently, we have been fielding several polls on the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the lives and families of South Dakota. We also partner and collaborate with professors from fields outside of political science to explore research questions in a truly trans-disciplinary manner. Additionally, we give select students the opportunity to work side by side with faculty and develop the highly demanded skills of data collection, programming and statistical analysis.
We conducted an online survey experiment to investigate whether endorsement messages from various types of leaders can encourage the unvaccinated population to receive the vaccine. We surveyed 709 unvaccinated registered voters in South Dakota in April 2021 and presented them with identical messages endorsing vaccination from a political, religious, or medical leader. Our results show that messaging from a religious leader had a positive and statistically significant effect on interest in getting vaccinated, whereas messages from a political or medical leader had no statistically significant effect.
Backlash against globalization and embrace of protectionist policies in developed countries have rekindled the debate on the sources of attitudes towards international trade. Attitudes of farmers, who have been at the center of recent trade disputes, remain understudied. For this reason, we surveyed 373 farmers in South Dakota in summer 2019, and asked them about support for protectionism, together with a set of demographic and dispositional questions. Results of statistical analyses reveal a positive correlation between right wing authoritarianism and support for protectionism.
Political Partisanship and Trust in Government Predict Popular Support for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Due to the slow rate of COVID-19 vaccine uptake, governments are considering mandating COVID-19 vaccination for specific professions and demographic groups. This study evaluates popular attitudes toward such policies. We surveyed registered voters in South Dakota to examine popular attitudes towards vaccine mandates for five groups—children 12 and older, K-12 teachers, medical staff, nursing homes staff, and police personnel. Results revealed that political partisanship and trust in government are strong predictors of support for vaccine mandates across all models.
Governments are trying various strategies to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates, including vaccine mandates. Popular support for such mandates, however, is in flux in many countries, including the United States. The objective of this study is to evaluate if the wording of public health messages could increase popular support for COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccine mandate: The role of psychological characteristics and partisan self-identification
We investigated the role of Big Five personality traits, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation, as well as partisan self-identification, evangelical identity, and COVID-19 vaccination status. Results showed that Big Five personality traits (openness and emotional stability), right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, evangelical identity, and partisan self-identification are linked to attitudes toward a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Our findings underscore the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the impact of dispositional factors on attitudes toward mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.
Trust in physicians predicts COVID-19 booster uptake among older adults: Evidence from a panel survey
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that older adults receive COVID-19 booster vaccination.
• We investigated the primary determinants of older adults receiving a booster vaccination.
• Statistically significant relationships between trust in physicians, age, evangelical identity, and booster vaccination status were detected in this study.
The South Dakota Polling Project utilizes a new and innovative technique of random sampling the electorate that matches the most sophisticated methods of conducting a survey to the most reliable means of citizen contact. This method can be employed at any level in the state: statewide, county, city, legislative district or any other geographical unit that a researcher wishes to cover. Our surveys can be fine-tuned depending upon the needs of the current research project. Respondents complete online surveys, which allows for the development of sophisticated questionnaires. The sample is then carefully weighted on known population parameters such as region, age and other demographics to make it as representative of the population as possible. Simply put, South Dakota Polling Project conducts some of the most comprehensive, sophisticated, detailed and accurate polling of the South Dakota electorate today. In addition to polls of the electorate, we have also conducted more specialized polls of specific groups such as agricultural producers and nurses using different random sampling methods.
Please contact Dr. David Wiltse if you have any questions about the poll you want answered, or if you wish to inquire about commissioning poll work on the South Dakota electorate.