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Abortion Policy: An Upper Midwestern Snapshot

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In South Dakota a landmark petitioned referendum will be on the ballot this November, asking voters whether or not to uphold the recently signed State House Bill's abortion ban. Mid-summer polling on the referendum—which does not provide exceptions for rape and incest—suggests the referendum may not pass, with those inclined to vote 'nay' holding an eight-point advantage (KELO-TV / Argus Leader). So, just how supportive is the Upper Midwest of a woman's right to choose?

South Dakotans equally self-identify as pro-life (48%) as pro-choice (48%), followed by Iowans (41% / 54%), Minnesotans (40% / 55% ), and Wisconsinites (39% / 56%) (SurveyUSA). But how do these labels 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice' translate into policy positions?

It appears many Upper Midwesterners who are pro-life still view abortion as a personal choice. The vast majority of residents of each state feel the state and federal government should not have the final say on the matter (72% in Iowa, 70% in Wisconsin, 66% in Minnesota, and 59% in South Dakota) (SurveyUSA).

Still, despite being outnumbered, the power of the 'pro-life' movement can be felt at the ballot box: in June four republican members of the South Dakota state legislature who voted against the abortion ban were ousted in the primary. The extent to which social conservatives—especially religious conservatives—turn out to vote may not only spell victory or defeat for South Dakota's abortion referendum, but also close district-level races throughout the Upper Midwest.

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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