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National Politics


Election Night Observations

9:20 p.m. There have not been any shockers on Election Night so far, but there have been a few surprises on the presidential race: 1. Ohio being called so quickly for Barack Obama (about 90 minutes after polls closed) and North Dakota being called so quickly for John McCain (the...

Smart Politics Projections: U.S. House Races

Smart Politics’ final set in its series of national and Upper Midwestern federal and state electoral projections is the balance of power in the U.S. House. Smart Politics Projections: The U.S. House Even before the financial crisis hit the U.S. two months ago, Democrats were poised to pick-up several...

Smart Politics Projections: The Presidency

Through the morning of November 4th, Smart Politics is running a series of electoral projections for national and Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The twelfth set of projections in the series is for the Presidency. Smart Politics Projections: The Presidency Barack Obama’s attempt to capture Republican states like...

Smart Politics Projections: U.S. Senate Races

Through the morning of November 4th, Smart Politics is running a series of electoral projections for national and Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The eleventh projections in the series are U.S. Senate races nationwide. Smart Politics Projections: U.S. Senate Races Democratic Victories (+7) Alaska (pick-up) Arkansas Colorado (pick-up)...

“Landslide? Indicators

Dozens of polls are now released each day on the presidential race, with the media focus largely being on whether or not John McCain is making any gains in the battleground states he needs to hold (namely, holding Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia) and/or pick up (Pennsylvania). Campaigns on...

Upper Midwest Delegation Votes 6-2 As $700 Billion Financial Industry Bailout Sails Through Senate

The United States Senate voted 74 to 25 Wednesday night, in support of a revised bill that would, in part, fund $700 billion in a ‘rescue’ of the financial industry. The Upper Midwest delegation voted 6 to 2 in favor of the bill, with Democrats Russ Feingold and Tim Johnson...

Upper Midwestern House Delegation Split in Support of Financial Industry Bailout Bill

The rejection by the U.S. House today of the $700 billion financial industry bailout package was the result of a stranglely-cobbled coalition of conservative Republicans, blue-dog Democrats, and liberal Democrats. The bill, backed by President George W. Bush, eventually won the support of just 205 Representatives, with 228 voting ‘nay.’...

Commentary: Race and the 2008 Presidential Election

‘Entitlement politics’ appears to be the theme of the 2008 presidential campaign on the Democratic side of the ballot. It began when Hillary Clinton got pegged with the label, running for President out of the gate with a swagger that made her seem like she was the ‘inevitable’ Democratic...

Why Don’t Democrats Nominate Westerners?

The “Sarah Palin effect" has been felt, at least for the moment, across national and state polls. John McCain’s numbers are looking particularly strong in Western states, the region from which he and Palin hail. For example, in polls conduct in the past week, McCain is up: · 25 points...

McCain / Palin Bounce Boosting Republicans Down the Ballot

Whether it is the recency effect of the Republican National Convention, the personal narrative of the second half of John McCain’s acceptance speech, or, as suspected by Smart Politics, the selection of Sarah Palin to be McCain’s running mate, the McCain bounce which has been demonstrated nationally as well as...

Eight Debate Questions Sarah Palin Does Not Want Asked of Her

Democrats and Barack Obama supporters made the grave mistake of attacking the experience (and competence) of GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin too soon out of the gate last week. Beginning just a few days after McCain’s announcement that Palin would be his running mate, the left (and some in...

Live Blog: Convention Politics and the Fall Elections II

10:15 a.m. "Convention Politics and the Fall Elections" returns as the second panel this morning at the Humphrey Institute's series of forums entitled, America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention. The discussion is moderated by Lawrence Jacobs (Director, Center for the Study of Poltiics...

Live Blog: Convention Politics and the Fall Elections

10:05 a.m. "Convention Politics and the Fall Elections" is the second panel this morning at the Humphrey Institute's series of forums entitled, America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention. The discussion is moderated by former Minnesota Congressman Tim Penny (President, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation)....

Live Blog: How Would They Govern?

1:45 p.m. The final panel today at the Humphrey Institute's America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention is "How Would They Govern?" The panel is moderated by Thomas Mann (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution) and Norman Ornstein (Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute). The panelists are:...

Live Blog: What Are Americans Looking For?

10:00 a.m. "What Are Americans Looking For?" is the second forum today in the Humphrey Institute's America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention. The discussion is moderated by the always colorful columnist E. J. Dionne (Washington Post, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution). The panelists are:...

Commentary: Why Picking Sarah Palin Was Smart Politics

When I walked into the post office on University Avenue in Minneapolis yesterday, two friendly clerks with whom I’ll occasionally discuss politics exclaimed to me, “You were right!? Well, not quite. For about two months it is true that I have been telling anyone who asked (including my friends at...

We Are Not Traitors: Obama Scores Biggest Applause With Right-Wing Rhetoric

Barack Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic Party nomination was largely well-received and accomplished several things he was perceived to need to do: · Acknowledge Hillary (and Bill) Clinton’s efforts to rally her supporters to his side. · Provide some specifics as to the blueprint of his presidential agenda. · Show...

Obama-Biden: Familiar Bedfellows...Though You'd Never Know It

Most of the weekend’s media coverage of Barack Obama’s pick of Joe Biden to be his vice-presidential running mate focused on two competing, though related, angles: First, that Biden was a good choice because he will shore up Obama’s perceived lack of experience, especially on foreign policy issues; Biden...

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...



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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