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MN vs. WI: Which State Is Most Likely to Vote GOP for President in 2008?

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This is an admittedly premature question to be sure—with more than one year before the first presidential primary and only a few politicians from each party officially declaring themselves as candidates for the White House. Nonetheless, in the coming months political strategists and party activists will descend on both Wisconsin and Minnesota to rally voters to their cause.

Despite trending Democratic in recent years, both states are definitely still bonafide battlegrounds. An analysis of major statewide elections for President, Governor, and US Senator over the past 45 years indicates the GOP is certainly capable of picking off either one of these states in a presidential race.

Minnesota has voted Democratic for president in 11 of the last 12 presidential elections since 1960, including each of the last 8. However, 5 of these democratic wins were by very narrow margins—decided by less than 4 percentage points.

Wisconsin has voted Democratic in 7 of the last 12 races. While each of the last 5 presidential elections has gone to the Democrats in the Badger state, 4 of these 5 have been very competitive—decided by less than 5 percentage points.

Though it would appear the GOP would fare better in Wisconsin, in US Senate races Republicans have been more successful making inroads in Minnesota—winning 7 of the last 17 races. In Wisconsin Democrats have won 14 of the last 16.

Furthermore, despite tilting blue in presidential elections, both states have been more apt to vote Republican executives into office. Since 1960 Minnesota has voted for more Republican governors (7) than Democrats (5). Republicans (8) also have the slight edge over Democrats (7) for gubernatorial races in Wisconsin.

In sum, voters in Wisconsin and Minnesota can both be swayed to vote Republican in notable statewide elections. Since 1960 each state has voted Republican exactly 15 times in races for president, governor, and US Senator. While oddsmakers would likely make a generic Democratic candidate the favorite today, if a strong, moderate Republican can win the GOP nomination, Democrats can expect a fierce battle in both states.

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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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