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National Politics


McCain’s Momentum: A State-by-State Overview of Recent Polls

After trailing Barack Obama in virtually every national matchup poll from mid-May through late July, John McCain is now running even with Obama or has taken the lead outright, according to several recent national surveys – including a brand new Reuters / Zogby poll that gives McCain his largest advantage...

Smart Politics on WCCO-TV's "Good Question"

Smart Politics' Eric Ostermeier was interviewed by Jason DeRusha on WCCO-TV's "Good Question" segment during Tuesday night's 10 o'clock telecast. DeRusha's Good Question tonight was, "Does the Vice President Pick Matter" Ostermeier explained why a VP pick is not a predictor of how a party's ticket will fare in November...

Pawlenty VP Pick Would Be Rare: Slot Historically Reserved for D.C. Players

Should John McCain pick Tim Pawlenty to be his Vice-Presidential running mate in the coming days, the selection would be a bit of a rarity, given recent political history. During the past 14 presidential elections dating back to 1952, just 2 major party VP nominees had not served in the...

The McCain Surge: Is It Real? Yes.

John McCain’s campaign has had the benefit of running as the underdog during the past few months, with most pundits characterizing the 2008 presidential race as “Barack Obama’s to lose.? Even strategist Dick Morris, hardly a friend to Democrats these days, has stated as late as yesterday that the race...

US House Snapshot: Republicans Brace for More Losses

Media coverage of the 2008 election is rightly centered at the moment on the fascinating 2008 presidential race; any remaining coverage seems to be focused on the U.S. Senate – and whether or not the Democrats can turn in a miraculous performance in 2008 to achieve a filibuster-proof majority, as...

Obama Making Inroads in Deep Red States, Lagging in Reddish-Purple States

In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush won 31 states while John Kerry won 19 plus the District of Columbia. According to the most recent public opinion polls, Barack Obama is currently in a strong position to win all of the “Kerry states? and is running strong enough in...

Déjà Vu: McCain-Obama Margin Same as Bush-Kerrry 4 Years Ago

The political landscape has changed greatly during the past four years—increased opposition to the war in Iraq, greater Democratic party identification, greater support for generic Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, and a 20-point decrease in President George W. Bush's approval. While all of these factors conspire to the benefit...

Vice-Presidential Running Mates: When Will We Know?

With the general election campaign officially underway, speculation continues as to whether or not Barack Obama will pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate. On the Republican side, buoyed by his appearance on Fox News Sunday morning, many insiders believe long-time McCain supporter Governor Tim Pawlenty is either McCain's number...

Beware the Race Card (It Should Already Have Been Played)

As Barack Obama continues to labor under the cloud of controversy stirred up by his longtime friend, pastor, and ostensibly mentor Jeremiah Wright, the consequence of Wright's recent high profile speaking engagements will no doubt result in an abandonment of some voters, many of whom will be white, from Obama's...

Bill O'Reilly: A Voice for Independents for '08 Election Coverage?

On multiple occasions during his weeknight telecast The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly has made a particular effort to tell the viewers, and his right-wing guests, that he is not endorsing a presidential candidate and has no horse in the race. O'Reilly has maintained for years that he is only...

Vice President Mondale to Speak at Humphrey Institute Monday Morning

Picking the Vice Presidential Nominees: What Should We Look For? Monday, March 24, 2008. 8:30am - Noon; Hubert H. Humphrey Center "The Humphrey Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota and Presidential Studies Quarterly are convening a national conference on Monday, March 24th...

Obama's Numbers Sinking As Pastor Controversy Continues

As news broke last week in the mainstream media of videotaped statements by Barack Obama's friend and Reverend spouting what most Americans view as radical, racially-fused, anti-American political rhetoric, Obama's lead over Hillary Clinton in national polls for the Democratic presidential nomination began to break as well. One week ago,...

Obama, Reverend Wright, and the Problem with Superdelegates

Barack Obama's speech this morning on race and politics was favorably received by media commentators, though it may have come too late to prevent the damage done to his campaign. Obama's longtime association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright will link the Illinois Senator in the public's mind (and perhaps in political...

Smart Politics Study: Giuliani Descent Linked Equally to Huckabee, Romney, and McCain

Political pundits have largely explained Rudy Giuliani's decline over the past few months as a direct result of two factors: a) his failed campaign strategy that abandoned the early primary states and b) John McCain's surge—the latter being a logical supposition considering both candidates are considered to vie for the...

Bill Richardson To Drop Out of Presidential Race?

The Associated Press is reporting that Democratic New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will drop out of the presidential race. Richardson has consistently placed fourth in national and most state polls throughout the past year. Richardson received 5 percent of the vote in New Hampshire last night....

Beyond Iowa: The GOP and Media Expectations

With five Republican candidates polling at 10 or more percent in the Iowa caucuses (Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Ron Paul), as well as in national polls (substituting Rudy Giuliani for Ron Paul), the GOP race certainly appears to be the horserace to end all horseraces....

Mike Gravel: Still Campaigning

Update: MSNBC's report late Thursday night that Mike Gravel had exited the race was not true. According to Gravel's official campaign website: MSNBC pundit Keith Olbermann has incorrectly declared that Sen. Gravel has dropped out of the race following the January third caucus in Iowa. This is not true, and...

Mike Gravel Ends Presidential Bid

The Democratic field is now down to five. According to MSNBC, Mike Gravel - who was polling in last place across the board among the original eight Democratic candidates - announced he has exited the presidential race, joining Chris Dodd and Joe Biden from earlier this evening. No Republican has...

Dodd and Biden End Presidential Bids

Democratic Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden each ended their bids for the Democratic presidential nomination tonight, after poor showings in the Iowa caucuses. Neither candidate was polling in double digits nationally, nor in double digits outside of their home states. Therefore the greatest impact their abence will have on...

Ron Paul Meets the Press

During NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday morning, Ron Paul was the latest recipient of host Tim Russert's grilling of presidential candidates. Paul is currently polling around 5 percent in national polls on the GOP side, and is flirting with double that amount in some state polls, such as New...



Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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