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A Tale of (Two?) States: Demographic Support for Republican Gubernatorial Candidates in MN and WI Strikingly Similar

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The 2006 gubernatorial races in Minnesota and Wisconsin had key similarities: 1-term incumbents defending their seats with job approval rankings hovering around 50%. Pundits viewed seats in both states to be very vulnerable.

Despite these similarities, the candidacies of Republican challenger Mark Green in Wisconsin and GOP incumbent Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota were quite different. Green's platform was much more closely aligned with conservatives and the 'religious right' while Pawlenty flaunted more 'moderate credentials.' However, upon examining exit poll data conducted in each state, the level of support attributed to republican candidates in the Gopher and Badger States were quite striking across several key demographics.

For starters, Green and Pawlenty each received 48% of the white vote in their respective states and nearly an equal level of support from males (50% for Pawlenty, 49% for Green).

Voters in different age groups also spoke with one voice across the two states: Pawlenty and Green received nearly identical support of 18-29 year-olds (41% for Pawlenty, 40% for Green), 45-59 year olds (46% for each) and voters 60 years and older (44% for each). Voters age 30-44 voted for 52% for Pawlenty and 50% for Green.

The GOP gubernatorial candidates fared equally poorly among those earning less than $50,000 per year (36% for Pawlenty, 35% for Green) and fairly well among those earning $50,000 per year or more (51% for Pawlenty, 50% for Green).

Religious voter support for these republican candidates was also quite similar in each state: 53% of Protestants went for Pawlenty and 53% went for Green; Catholics votes 49% for Pawlenty and 48% for Green. Those who attended church more than weekly lent nearly identical support to Pawlenty (69%) and Green (70%).

Pawlenty and Green each received 8% of the Democratic vote in their respective states, while voters who strongly approved of George W. Bush's job performance came out strong for both Pawlenty (93%) and Green (92%).

Pawlenty (34%) and Green (35%) similarly suffered among voters who felt the war in Iraq was extremely important to their vote. Each candidate fared much better among those who stressed terrorism (51% support to each) and the economy (51% support to each) as very important issues for their vote.

While the political climate in Minnesota and Wisconsin is fairly similar overall, it is interesting that republican candidates with noticeably different platforms would fare so similarly among key demographic groups in their respective states.

Previous post: Gubernatorial Approval Ratings Rise Noticeably After Elections
Next post: Wisconsin State Legislative Recount Summary

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


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.


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