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Support for Third Parties Declining in U.S. House Races

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A Smart Politics analysis of 2006 election results finds support for third parties continuing to drop—for the second straight election cycle since 2002.

In 2006, 2.25 percent of votes for U.S. House candidates went to third parties, compared to 2.37 percent in 2004 and 3.03 percent in 2002.

In 2006 there were 158 districts in which a third party candidate received at least 2 percent of the vote—the same number of districts as in 2004, but well below the 224 districts with candidates achieving such support in 2002.

The drop in votes cast for third party candidates in 2006 is a bit surprising—given the low confidence numbers Congress received this year (due in part to several scandals that touched both Republicans and Democrats). One might have expected third parties to smell blood in the water—and rally now more than ever to gather support to their side in an election year in which several districts decided to 'throw the bums out.' It seems voter disdain for Republicans in particular - and the desire to insure GOP officeholders were replaced with Democrats - trumped general voter disgust for the institution and the two major parties.

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Remains of the Data

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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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