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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

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


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.


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