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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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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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