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National Politics


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...

Tom Tancredo's Exit and the Immigration Legacy

Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo's departure from the GOP race on Thursday didn't cause a big ripple on the political scene. But, for a candidate who never polled above 5 percent in any state or national poll other than his home state of Colorado, Tancredo did help leave a footprint on...

McCain Still Top GOP Dog In Battleground States

As tracked here at Smart Politics over the past few months, John McCain continues to prove to be the strongest Republican candidate to defeat the Democrats in 2008. McCain consistently, and by wide margins, polls better than his chief GOP rivals in almost all key battleground states—those states that Republicans...



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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