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National Politics


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...

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...



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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