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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

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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