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National Politics


Inside Obama's Landslide: The Young Man Went West

Barack Obama’s near landslide victory over John McCain last week was impressive on a number of dimensions. Most obviously, Obama picked up 9 states that went Republican in the 2004 election: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Less evident, but equally impressive, is that...

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...



Political Crumbs

73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


Two Dakotas, One Voice?

For each of the last 24 presidential elections since 1920, North and South Dakota have voted in unison - casting their ballots for the same nominee. For 21 of these cycles (including each of the last 12 since 1968) Republicans carried the Dakotas with just three cycles going to the Democrats (1932, 1936, and 1964). This streak stands in contrast to the first few decades after statehood when North and South Dakota supported different nominees in four of the first seven cycles. North Dakota narrowly backed Populist James Weaver in 1892 while South Dakota voted for incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison. In 1896, it was North Dakota backing GOPer William McKinley while South Dakota supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan by less than 200 votes. North Dakota voted Democratic in 1912 and 1916 supporting Woodrow Wilson while South Dakota cast its Electoral College votes for Progressive Teddy Roosevelt and Republican Charles Hughes respectively.


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