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National Politics


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...

Midwest Felt Bigger 'Democratic Bump' in '06 Than U.S. Overall

The nation-wide partisan swing from the Republicans to the Democrats in 2006 was felt across the United States in a number of statewide and district races. Democrats won a majority of governorships, took back control of the U.S. House and Senate, and won back several state legislative chambers. This change...

English As Official Language: Democrats Misread America's Preferences in NH Debate

Eight Democratic candidates debated at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sunday night. While the headlines from the debate focused on Iraq and health care, by far the most controversial stances carved out by the presidential hopefuls was their unwillingness to have English become the nation's official language....

McCain Leading in Clean Sweep of 3 Early Primary States

Despite lukewarm performances at the first two GOP debates and a national campaign that appears to be lagging well behind Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Senator John McCain continues to lead the Republican frontrunner in new polls released by American Research Group (ARG) in 3 key states: Iowa (caucus = January...

Edwards Emerges Giuliani's Strongest Opponent

Despite running third behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in every national poll to become the Democratic presidential nominee, John Edwards has emerged as the only candidate poised thus far to defeat leading GOP contender, Rudy Giuliani. Earlier this week, SurveyUSA released polls in 11 states of head-to-head candidate...

Incumbency Advantage in Gubernatorial Elections

It was not much of a surprise when all three incumbent governors from the Upper Midwest (Tim Pawlenty, Mike Rounds, and Jim Doyle) won their respective re-election bids last November (at least not to Smart Politics, who projected as such). The incumbency advantage is not only a prized possession of...

Edwards Campaign Experiences Bump Nationally After Wife's Medical Announcement

It's been more than a week now since John and Elizabeth Edwards announced that her cancer had returned. Media coverage of the Edwards team was widely positive throughout the week, and the Edwards campaign has experienced a bump in the polls, both in the state polling as well as...

Democratic Senate Iraq War Resolution Fails

On Thursday the U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic-led joint resolution calling for phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 4 months and a goal of complete redeployment by the end of March 2008. The 50-48 vote included one Republican (Gordon Smith of Oregon) joining the Democrats, and three...

Scooter Libby Felony Conviction Fallout

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's conviction of four felony counts of lying under oath and obstruction of justice on Tuesday marked the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted in a federal investigation since the Reagan Iran-Contra scandal. Libby will likely appeal the verdict and he remains out of prison...

Tom Vilsack Ends Presidential Run

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack ended his bid for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination today, citing difficulties in raising enough money to launch a viable campaign. Vilsack was the first democrat to officially enter the race last November. Vilsack was polling at a distant 4th in his home...

Obama Fights Back At Australian PM, Though Fails Math Test

In a rare intervention into internal U.S. politics, Australian Prime Minister John Howard criticized 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's Iraq strategy to withdraw U.S. troops by March 2008. Howard told reporters if he was a terrorist he would "circle March 2008 on the calendar" and hope for Obama...

Upper Midwestern US Senators React to State of the Union Address

Several U.S. Senators from the Upper Midwest have released official statements in reaction to President George W. Bush's seventh State of the Union Address from last night. Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa stated he was impressed with Bush's overall leadership and his "very ambitious agenda" to make "America energy independent...

Presidential Nominees Likely To Be Determined By <br>'The Unknown'

As politicians officially and unofficially begin their campaigns for the presidency in 2008, speculation about the strengths and weaknesses of each potential candidate will naturally be thoroughly debated in the media. Frequent questions already being posed by pundits include: Will Mitt Romney's Mormon faith alienate religious fundamentalists? Are John...

Upper Midwestern Republican Senators Weigh in on Bush Iraq Plan

Two more Upper Midwestern U.S. Senators—both Republicans—have released statements in response to President Bush's new plan outlined in a national address earlier this week. South Dakota junior senator John Thune acknowledged the need for change in Iraq, stated winning in Iraq is the "right thing to do for America's security,"...

Collegiality in 110th Congress Enhanced by Rosie-Donald Junk News Feud

As Democrats took control of Congress this week, a few reports have emerged of an apparent camaraderie between the outgoing Republicans and the incoming Democrats. Some of these reports deal with the trivial—such as Democrats taking a break from the new session as per outgoing new House Minority Leader John...

Will 2008 Republican National Convention Have An Impact On MN Presidential Vote?

When the Republican National Committee announced in September 2006 that its Site Selection Committee had voted to recommend the Twin Cities to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, it continued an interesting trend in GOP party politics. For the fourth consecutive convention, the Republicans will convene on a state which...

Ford Ran Successful Upper Midwest Presidential Campaign in 1976

The passing of our 38th President Gerald Ford prompted Smart Politics to take a look at his 1976 presidential campaign in the Upper Midwest—and the close races he faced with Jimmy Carter that year. Richard Nixon—who had nearly swept the nation's electoral votes in 1972—made a clean sweep of the...

John Edwards Officially Enters 2008 Presidential Race

Former Democratic North Carolina Senator and 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards officially launched his 2008 presidential campaign Thursday. Edwards' announcement speech picked up on his 2004 stump speech in which he restated his fight for the less fortunate and his quest for America to achieve economic justice. The backdrop for...

When Words Become Reality: The Media Creation of Barack Obama

Just minutes after the Illinois State Senator's keynote address at the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2004, media commentators and journalists began to write history by casting Barack Obama in the role of superstar, Democratic leader, and future president of the United States. Perhaps the media did not...

Upper Midwest Representatives Receive New US House Committee Assignments

Earlier this week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced new Committee assignments for Freshmen members, plus added existing members to new Committees as Democrats increased their membership on Committees with their 30 seat gain in November's election. Starting his 6th term, Ron Kind (WI-03) was assigned to the influential Ways and...



Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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