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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

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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