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The Decline of a President: Tracing Bush's Approval Ratings in the Upper Midwest

Despite rising national unemployment rates, high gas prices, and overall economic uncertainty, George W. Bush remains basically no less popular among Upper Midwesterners in 2008 than he was in 2007. A Smart Politics study of nearly 180 public opinion polls conducted between 2004 and 2008 in the region finds Bush’s...

What Is the Democratic Ceiling Across Upper Midwestern State Legislatures?

The 2006 election saw Democratic takeovers of 3 of the 6 Upper Midwestern legislative chambers previously controlled by the Republicans. Democrats now control 5 chambers (the Iowa House and Senate, the Minnesota House and Senate, and the Wisconsin Senate) with the Republicans controlling 3 (the South Dakota House and Senate...

Rasmussen Poll: Obama Up Big in MN, IA, Competitive in the Dakotas

Barack Obama is looking to become the first Democratic candidate to sweep the Upper Midwest since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. New polling by Rasmussen indicates Obama is currently competitive enough in the Dakotas to have a chance at doing just that. In South Dakota, a survey of 500 likely...

Battleground States Through the Lens of the U.S. Senate

What makes a battleground state a battleground state? For one, obviously, presidential races decided by narrow victory margins. But another way is to examine how a state has voted in other statewide elections. Does a state tend to only elect Democrats, only Republicans, or a mixture? The most widely circulated...

The Upper Midwestern Voting Bloc in Presidential Elections

Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have been (correctly) labeled as key battleground states in recent presidential elections. With the exception of George W. Bush’s narrow victory in the Hawkeye State in 2004, the three states have voted as a bloc dating back to 1988, when Michael Dukakis swept the region. However,...

Why Is Obama Talking About Religion?

Barack Obama's recent comments on religion's problematic role when mixed with government—along with his citation of certain Biblical passages as evidence of this point—have now once again raised the specter of his own religious beliefs. Obama's comments not only renewed his political feud with Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus...

Obama in Iowa and Minnesota: Standing Where Kerry Stood in 2004

Barack Obama has enjoyed not only a lead over John McCain in all but one of more than 25 national polls conducted since early May 2008, but also a consistent advantage in early polling in two key Upper Midwestern battleground states: Iowa and Minnesota. However, Obama's lead in these states—which...

Obama Leads McCain in Iowa in 18th Consecutive Poll

Barack Obama is leading John McCain in the important battleground state of Iowa for the 18th consecutive matchup poll, dating back to December 2006. The new poll, conducted June 10th of 500 likely voters by Rasmussen, gives Obama a 45 to 38 percent advantage, with 7 percent supporting some other...

Obama Sustains Advantage Over McCain in Iowa

The latest SurveyUSA poll of 600 registered voters in Iowa still finds Barack Obama on his way to taking back the Hawkeye State for the Democratic Party in 2008. Obama leads John McCain 47 to 38 percent in the poll conducted May 21-22. Obama has led McCain in all 15...

Iowans Outlook on America Bleakest in 10 Years

A new Rasmussen poll of 500 likely Iowa voters, conducted May 13th, finds only 11 percent of Iowans believe the country is heading in the right direction. An astounding 84 percent believe it is off on the wrong track—more than 10 points higher than the previous high during the past...

Harkin (D-IA) Coasting in 2008 Senate Re-election Bid

Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin enjoys a huge lead in his bid for a fifth consecutive term as junior Senator from the Hawkeye State, according to a new poll released this weekend by KCCI-TV / Research 2000. The survey of 600 likely voters gave Harkin leads of between 29 and 39...

Obama Still Toughest Democratic Opponent for McCain in Battleground States

In polling conducted in all but one of a half-dozen battleground states during the past week to ten days, Barack Obama continues not only to lead John McCain, but also perform stronger against McCain than his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Although Obama's advantage over McCain is in single digits in...

Governors Doyle, Culver Getting Low Marks While Pawlenty Prevails

As economic concerns continue to fuel pessimism about the near future, Democratic Governors Jim Doyle (Wisconsin) and Chet Culver (Iowa) face the lowest ratings of their gubernatorial careers. Meanwhile, Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has managed quite successfully to remain fairly popular with his statewide constituency. Culver, who comes from...

Economic Conerns Continue to Dominate Upper Midwest

In monthly surveys tracking what is the most important issue facing the next president, the economy has emerged as the dominant issue across the Upper Midwest. SurveyUSA asked 600 likely voters in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin closed-ended questions with eight choices as to what was the most important concern facing...

Bush Approval Rating in Upper Midwest Lingers in the Basement

Despite relatively positive news coming out of Iraq and a new campaign season that has focused the lens of the news media off the sitting president to the new contenders, George W. Bush cannot shake the horrendous job approval rating that he has faced in the Upper Midwest for...

Clinton Makes Big Gains Against Obama vis-à-vis McCain in Upper Midwest

In polling conducted just as the Reverend Wright story broke nationally last week, Hillary Clinton appears to have made substantial gains across the Upper Midwest in terms of her relative competitiveness with Republican nominee John McCain, as compared to her competitor Barack Obama. SurveyUSA polls of 500+ registered voters in...

Will Bush Drive Independents Away from McCain in Upper Midwest?

Last week John McCain, in a somewhat awkward festivity, accepted President George W. Bush's endorsement for the presidency after wrapping up the majority of delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination. McCain, setting aside his staunch support for the still generally unpopular War in Iraq, is the type of Republican...

Is Pennsylvania the Next Iowa? Not Quite.

After the Wyoming caucuses on Saturday and the Mississippi primary on Tuesday (and perhaps even before those contests are finished), all attention will shift to the state of Pennyslvania in the next (though not necessarily last) showdown between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The lengthy 6+ week run up to...

Clinton Trails, Obama Sails Against McCain in IA, MN

Echoing similar results reported yesterday in Wisconsin, Barack Obama currently has a strong advantage when matched up against John McCain in the Upper Midwestern states of Iowa and Minnesota, especially when compared to Hillary Clinton, according to polls released today by Rasmussen and SurveyUSA. In Minnesota, a Rasmussen poll of...

Obama Is Iowa's Candidate; Huckabee the Bridesmaid

In the first poll of Iowans since its caucuses last Thursday, Democrat Barack Obama would trounce Republican Mike Huckabee if the presidential election were held today. The SurveyUSA poll of 543 registered voters, conducted January 4-6, found Obama would defeat Huckabee by 23 points (58 to 35 percent) in a...



Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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