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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...

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...



Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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