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National Politics


Which State Will Host the Most Closely Decided Presidential Race in 2012?

Since 1824, Kentucky and Maryland have each hosted the closest statewide presidential contests five times; Ohio last did so in back-to-back cycles in 1944 and 1948.

On Presidents and Bayonets: A Historical Review

Ronald Reagan talked about bayonets more than twice as frequently as any other president; most presidential rhetoric casts the weapon as a symbol for tyranny and unjust force.

George McGovern's Post Presidential Election Half-Life Was 3rd Longest in History

Only Strom Thurmond (1948, 54 years) and Alf Landon (1936, 50 years) lived longer after losing a presidential election.

A Brief History of Presidential Arithmetic

The most basic branch of mathematics has been celebrated, indicted, and used as a political weapon by the presidency for nearly 150 years.

Town Hall Format Blunts Romney's Rhetoric of Argumentation by Enumeration

Romney rattles off only four of his patented series of bullet-point answers at the Hofstra debate versus 10 in Denver.

BuzzFeed Politics: 5 Is a Magic Number

The popular media outlet's political reporting is ripe with stories boasting compendiums of visuals in groupings of 5 and 10; BuzzFeed is also a fan of the numbers 6, 8, 11, and 15.

Did Bill Clinton Launch the First "Leave Big Bird Alone" Campaign?

Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41, and Obama all praised Sesame Street during their administrations, but only Clinton cited Muppets by name, rallying to Big Bird's defense during the 104th Congress.

The Eyes Have It: Obama Blinks 1,000 Times More than Romney During 1st Debate

The president blinked at a rate of 71 times per minute while speaking during Wednesday's debate - 1,000 times more frequently than Romney (53 per minute).

Romney Makes the Most of His 47 Percent (Allotted Speaking Time)

The president receives more than 4 minutes more face time than Romney during the first debate, or a 12 percent greater amount than the GOP nominee.

US Senate Twitter Rankings: McCain, Sanders, Reid, Paul, Grassley

More than 85 senators maintain official U.S. Senate Twitter accounts with John McCain touting the most followers; Marco Rubio has the most followers among senators with non-governmental Twitter accounts.

From Bowles-Simpson to Simpson-Bowles: Or, the Evolution of Co-Chair Billing

Alan Simpson has received top billing in 75 percent of media coverage of the debt commission this year after playing second banana to his fellow co-chair in 2010.

Is the Revolution Over? 3rd Party US House Candidacies Fall 22% from 2010

There are 97 fewer third party and independent candidates on the general election ballots for the nation's 435 congressional district races this cycle compared to two years ago.

Beyond Thurston Howell: Media Caricatures of Mitt Romney

The Republican presidential nominee has been linked to rich cartoon characters like Scrooge McDuck, Mr. Burns, and Richie Rich as well as wealthy, villainous silver screen icons like Gordon Gekko and Mr. Potter.

Withdrawn Anti-Obama Kansas Ballot Challenge Continues Major Party Ballot Access Streak

It has been 48 years since a major party presidential nominee failed to appear on the ballot in every state.

Michelle Obama's DNC Speech Written at 7 Grade Levels Above Ann Romney's

The First Lady's speech Tuesday was written at a 12th grade level - the highest in history among the wives of presidential nominees and far above Ann Romney's lowest mark of a 5th grade level.

Ann Romney and the Politics of Family

Only one other national convention speech by a presidential nominee's wife in history has incorporated as many family unit buzzwords as Ann Romney Tuesday evening (Hillary Clinton, 1996).

Will Paul Ryan Carry Wisconsin for the Romney Ticket?

The last eight vice-presidential nominees from the Midwest have carried their home state dating back to 1944 .

Ryan Seeks to Become 1st GOPer to Simultaneously Win VP and Congressional Seat

Only three previous individuals - all Democrats - have won the vice-presidency and were reelected to their seat on Capitol Hill on Election Day.

Generation Gap: Romney-Ryan Ticket 7th Largest Age Difference in History

At 23 years, the 2012 Republican presidential ticket is tied for the seventh largest age differential in U.S. history out of the nearly 125 pairings who have received Electoral College votes.

Chick-fil-A: By the Numbers

States carried by John McCain in 2008 host the fast food chain at a rate of nearly three times as many stores per resident as those won by Barack Obama.



Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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