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National Politics


Mounting US Senate Retirements: Tired of DC or Just Plain Tired?

The five U.S. Senators who have announced their retirement during the 113th Congress are 10 years older on average than any 'retiring class' from the chamber over the last five decades.

The Death of Presidents: Beware of June and July

More than one-third of deceased U.S. presidents died in June or July; none passed away in May.

19 Candidates Definitely Running for President in 2016

Fifteen men and four women have already filed their Statement of Candidacy with the FEC - some 3 years, 8 months, and 25 days out from Election Day.

'Get It Done': Slogans Drop Obama's SOTU Address to 9th Grade Reading Level

All four of the president's State of the Union addresses rank in the Bottom 10 in presidential history for Flesch-Kincaid grade level readability scores.

The 6 Times President Obama Mentioned the Pope

What do Dave Brubeck, Lech Walesa, the Queen of England and Nelson Mandela have in common?

America Held Hostage: The Political Rhetoric of Barack Obama

Immigration. Unemployment benefits. Health care. Taxes. Obama has dusted off and stretched the 'hostage metaphor' to advance his policy agenda more than any president in history.

Duckworth, Castro Lead House Freshman Class in Early Media Buzz

While most new U.S. Representatives have lain low during their first month in office, a half-dozen freshmen have received more than half the media coverage of their entire class.

Western Women: Regional Gender Disparities in Congressional Representation

Women have been elected to the U.S. House from western states at 2.5 times the rate as the rest of the country over the last century, with the region electing nearly 1/3 of all female-held seats with just 1/7 of all House seats.

The Birth States of U.S. Representatives (113th Congress)

Eight U.S. House delegations boast an all homegrown membership, led by Iowa and Mississippi; five delegations come in at 25 percent or less including Virginia and Minnesota.

FOX Still Shunned at Obama Press Conferences

The favorite news outlet of conservatives ranks just ninth in presser questions in Obama's first term, getting to ask questions at only half the rate of the Big 3 broadcast networks.

The Literary Namesakes of US Congressmen

One of your ancestors might have been represented by James Joyce, John Milton, Thomas Eliot, or John Dryden on Capitol Hill.

The Top Five Smart Politics Reports of 2012

A look back at a few of the most illuminating, odd, and controversial reports published by Smart Politics this year.

Walter Mondale's Recommendations for Filibuster Reform

What rules could be introduced in the Senate to ensure the filibuster is no longer a 'strategy for hijacking' the chamber and 'demoralizing the country?'

More than Half of Senators in 113th Congress First Served in House

Six new faces entering the Senate in January served in the House and 51 overall; Hawaii, Virginia, and Massachusetts have the highest all-time rate of choosing Senators with House experience.

Women Reelected to US Senate at Same Rate as Men

A study of more than 325 sitting U.S. Senators on the ballot since 1990 finds women have been reelected at exactly same rate as men - 87 percent.

Record Book Near Misses in the 2012 Presidential Election

The Romney-Obama contest ranked among the Top 5 most competitive races ever in three states (AK, FL, NC) and the Top 5 least competitive in six (HI, MD, OK, UT, WV, WY).

Study: Governors Have No Pull Helping Presidential Nominees Carry Their State

States have voted more frequently for a presidential nominee of a different party than its sitting governor across 600 contests since 1968; even more so in battleground states.

Forerunners of the Fiscal Cliff

Chuck Grassley, Jeff Flake, Jim DeMint, and Kent Conrad have warned about budgetary fiscal cliffs for years.

Death of the Battlegrounds? The 2012 Election in History

The 2012 presidential election is the only cycle since the birth of the two-party system in 1828 to be decided by less than 15 points nationally and yet have less than 10 percent of its contests decided by fewer than five points.

20 Presidential Tickets That Lost Both Home States

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are not alone in failing to carry their home states this election cycle, although theirs is the first such ticket in 40 years.



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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