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Gun Ownership Upper Midwestern Snapshot

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The mass murders at Virginia Tech University this week have inspired those in gun control circles to renew their pressure on politicians to reexamine our nation's gun laws; it has also caused 2nd Amendment strict constructionists to dig in deeper to fight against such changes.

In their coverage of the Virginia Tech story, the media has frequently portrayed Virginia's gun laws as too lax. Some may be surprised to learn, then, that gun ownership is equal to or higher across the Upper Midwest than in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A March 2007 SurveyUSA poll found 46 percent of Virginians own guns, compared to 50 percent of Wisconsinites, 50 percent of Minnesotans, and 46 percent of Iowans. The most recent poll of South Dakotans found 61 percent owned guns (SurveyUSA, November 2006). The surveys do not distinguish between types of firearms, and, to be sure, a substantial portion of Upper Midwesterners who own guns only own hunting rifles, not handguns.

In 2003 the Wisconsin Legislature considered legislation permitting concealed weapons, though the majority of Wisconsinites opposed the right of its residents to carry on both their own property (56 percent) and in public (60 percent) (WPR / St. Norbert College, November 2003).

When concealed weapon laws came to the forefront in the Minnesota legislature in 2003, less than one quarter of Minnesotans (22 percent) stated they would consider applying for a permit to carry a handgun (Minnesota Poll, April 2003).

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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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