09 November 2006

Eye On South Dakota

South Dakota has received a fair amount of national attention for its ballot measures this election.

Referendum 6, to ban abortion in all circumstances except the health of the mother, failed 44-56. This is still a seriously anti-abortion state. About 44% of voters favored the ban, and a large percentage of those who didn't opposed the measure only because it didn't include exceptions for rape and incest.

Other "liberal" measures failed in South Dakota, but by remarkably small margins for such a diehard red state. A measure to allow medical marijuana failed by only 48-52. A proposed ban on same sex marriage won by only a 52-48 margin. And, South Dakota returned a Democrat to Congress as its at large representative in the U.S. House.

This was a serious red meat election for Republicans in South Dakota, which should have boosted conservative turnout. But, social conservatives showed that while they are a majority, that they aren't the force that they once were in the state.

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