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McCain Leading in Clean Sweep of 3 Early Primary States

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Despite lukewarm performances at the first two GOP debates and a national campaign that appears to be lagging well behind Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Senator John McCain continues to lead the Republican frontrunner in new polls released by American Research Group (ARG) in 3 key states: Iowa (caucus = January 14), New Hampshire (primary = January 22), and South Carolina (primary = January 29).

Giuliani leads McCain in all national surveys, including double digit leads in the latest polls by New York Times / CBS News, Zogby, and Rasmussen (in which McCain also trails Mitt Romney).

Still, McCain is polling as the frontrunner in 3 smaller, though important, states. If McCain runs the table on these, it could give him momentum to become competitive heading into February 5th—in which up to 20 states hold primary contests.

McCain now holds a 25—23 lead over Giuliani in Iowa, and has been tied or held the lead in each of the last 3 ARG polls in that state. Romney comes in third at 16 percent, and his support has increased in each of the last four polls there (from 8 to 10 to 14 to 16 percent).

In New Hampshire, McCain leads Giuliani by 9 points (30—21), with Romney landing in second at 23 percent. McCain has polled ahead of Giuliani in 5 of the last 6 ARG polls in the Granite State.

In South Carolina, McCain continues to lead Giuliani (32 percent to 23 percent), with Romney in fourth (at 10 percent) behind Fred Thompson (13 percent). McCain has lead Giuliani in all 4 ARG polls in South Carolina dating back to December 2006.

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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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