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Edwards Emerges Giuliani's Strongest Opponent

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Despite running third behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in every national poll to become the Democratic presidential nominee, John Edwards has emerged as the only candidate poised thus far to defeat leading GOP contender, Rudy Giuliani.

Earlier this week, SurveyUSA released polls in 11 states of head-to-head candidate matchups between Giuliani and each of these three Democratic Party frontrunners. The eleven states surveyed in mid-April included 6 that went to George W. Bush in 2004 (Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia) and 5 that were carried by John Kerry (California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin).

John Edwards leads Giuliani in an early hypothetical matchup in 9 of these 11 states—only trailing the former New York City mayor in his home state of New York (by just 5 points) and New Mexico (by 3 points, within the margin of error). Edwards' average advantage over Giuliani in the 9 other states is 7 points, including double digit leads in the battleground states of Iowa (+10) and Wisconsin (+14). Edwards' lead was within the margin of error in only two of these states: Massachusetts (+1) and Kentucky (+3).

Hillary Clinton, however, has fallen behind Giuliani in 6 of the 11 states, trailing in Virginia (-5) and 5 states within the margin of error: Wisconsin (-1), Kentucky (-2), New Mexico (-2), Iowa (-3), and Missouri (-3). Clinton has opened up double digit leads in California (+12), Massachusetts (+12), and the battle for New York (+11).

Barack Obama emerges as the least competitive of the "Big 3"—leading Giuliani in only 2 states: Iowa (+5) and California (+1, within the margin of error). Obama trails Giuliani by an average of 9 points in the remaining 9 states, with only one within the margin of error (Wisconsin, by 2 points). Obama is looking up at double-digit deficits in four key states that all went Republican in the 2004 presidential race: Kentucky (-16), Virginia (-15), Ohio (-11), and New Mexico (-10).

To this point, Edwards clearly has the advantage in terms of "electability" versus the powerhouse Giuliani. Whether or not the Democratic base takes this into consideration when picking their nominee next year is an open question.

Previous post: McCain Opens Up First Lead Over Giuliani in Iowa
Next post: Who Is Driving Upper Midwest Support of Edwards?

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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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