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John Edwards Surging in Early Iowa Polling

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While momentum shifts have not been so noticeable in national polls for the Democratic nominee for president (nearly all of which have Hillary Clinton with a significant lead over Barack Obama), such shifts have occurred in early polling at the state level, including Iowa, which will hold the first contest for delegates in the nation in January 2008. In the latest survey by American Research Group—its fourth poll since December 2006—a surge in support for John Edwards has put him in a virtual tie with Clinton.

The last field date of the ARG survey, conducted March 19-22, overlapped one day with the news cycle in which Edwards and his (very popular) wife Elizabeth announced her cancer had returned. The press coverage following that announcement for Edwards, and his decision to continue his campaign, was exceedingly positive.

In the ARG poll, Clinton remains at the top, the preference of 34 percent of likely Democratic caucus voters. Clinton's support has remained consistent across all four surveys—hovering around one-third in all of them (31, 35, 31, and 34 percent respectively from December to March).

Edwards now polls at 33 percent, up from 27 percent in February and 18 percent in late January. The rise in support for Edwards is correlated with former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's decision to drop out of the race in February (Vilsack was polling in the low double digits in the Hawkeye State) as well as a tapering off in the buzz over Barack Obama. Obama's support of 16 percent in Iowa in March is down from 23 percent in February and close to his original level of support in late January before Vilsack ended his presidential bid (14 percent).

It is unclear whether or not Vilsack's reported endorsement of Clinton (likely to come on Monday) will give Clinton any boost in support, or whether Edwards will get a further bump (particularly from female voters) in light of the developments with his wife's health. Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsen speculates the 'sympathy factor' for Mrs. Edwards will likely have significant political currency with the Edwards campaign in Iowa.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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