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National Politics


Which States Are Bellwethers for Partisan Control of the US Senate?

Two states - Rhode Island and Nevada - have elected U.S. Senators into the majority party of the subsequent Congress 75+ percent of the time over the last 100 years; Virginia has done so in each of the last six elections.

West Virginia, Utah Eye All-GOP US House Delegations in 2014

It has been more than 90 years since the last time Republicans had a monopoly on every U.S. House seat in the Mountain State.

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Will 2016 GOP Convention Boost Nominee in Host City's State?

Republican presidential nominees have averaged a 1-point decline in the convention host state's adjusted margin of victory (or loss) vis-à-vis the national vote compared to the previous election cycle since the first televised convention in 1940.

12 Retiring, Ex-, or Deceased Congressmen with Active Campaign Websites

One announced his retirement last September. Another died in October. One resigned last week. A dozen members of Congress that aren't running for reelection still have active campaign websites - that accept financial donations.

Do Losing Presidential Candidates "Step Aside?"

Mitt Romney told America this weekend that he would not run for president a third time in 2016; was his rationale persuasive?

Presidents' Day Special: Post-Administration Presidential and Veep Longevity

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale have lived 30 percent longer than any other presidential and vice-presidential pairing since the end of their joint political service nearly 12,100 days.

Obama Backs Holder's Stand to Let Felons Vote

"It is very important for us, if somebody has served their time, for them to be able to participate in their democracy." - Barack Obama, August 15, 2011

The Vanishing Center: Exiting US Representatives

More than half of the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2014 are within 10 points of the ideological center of the chamber according to National Journal's new vote ratings, compared to just one of 14 members running for higher office.

Eric Holder at 5: Eying #3 All-Time AG Service Mark in 2014

With Holder currently in fifth place for attorney general service, by December only William Wirt and Janet Reno will have recorded longer tenures in U.S. history.

Obama's America: State References in SOTU Addresses

When searching for episodic examples to bolster his policies in SOTU addresses, the president turns to the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio more than any other.

A State-by-State Historical Snapshot of Michelle Obama's SOTU Guest Lists

Arizona is just the 15th most populous state, but 13 of its residents have been guests of the First Lady during President Obama's first five addresses - highest in the nation.

A Brief History of Republican SOTU Responses

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the fifth woman from the GOP to deliver a televised opposition response and the second youngest member overall in a congressional leadership position to do so.

Who Remembered MLK? (US House Edition)

Democratic U.S. Representatives honored Dr. King via press releases at more than three times the rate of Republicans over the holiday weekend

Long Live Our U.S. Senators

Two fewer U.S. Senators are dying in office per year on average over the past half-century than during the previous 60 years.

A Year in Smart Politics

A look back at which political institutions were covered the most at Smart Politics in 2013.

10 Quotes by President Obama about Nelson Mandela

The 44th president quoted or referred to the South African leader an average of once every 88 days in office before his death.

Pollsters Ignoring Rick Perry's 2016 'Campaign'

Only two of 13 GOP 2016 primary polls conducted since April have included the Texas governor's name.

Running from the Flag? Old Glory Symbolism Waning on US House Campaign Websites

Republicans incorporate the American flag on their 2014 campaign websites at a 45 percent higher rate than Democrats, but the presence of Old Glory is down 39 percent overall from the 2010 cycle.

64 Percent of 9/11 Legislators Are Out of Congress

Only 36 percent of the 531 U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives in office on September 11, 2001 are still in Congress.



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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