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McCain Opens Up First Lead Over Giuliani in Iowa

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Despite trailing Rudy Giuliani in most national polls by double digits, Arizona Senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain has opened up his first lead over the former New York City mayor in the Hawkeye State, 26 to 19 percent (American Research Group, April 27-30). Two months ago, the ARG poll had Giuliani leading 31-23, with McCain closing the gap at 29-29 in mid-March.

McCain's recent surge in Iowa parallels the strong early support he is receiving in two other influential primary states: New Hampshire and South Carolina. Late-April ARG polling shows McCain leading Giuliani by 12 points in New Hampshire (Giuliani also trails Mitt Romney by 7 points) and by 13 points in South Carolina.

These polls give a much needed boost to McCain supporters, who find their candidate trailing Giuliani nationally by 11 points in an NBC / WSJ poll (April 20-23), 11 points in a Pew poll (April 18-22), and 19 points in a Fox News poll (April 17-18).

The hope, for McCain, is that a clean sweep of the high-profile Iowa Caucus (January 14, 2008) and early primaries in New Hampshire (January 22, 2008) and South Carolina (February 2, 2008) will propel him into a much stronger finish on "Mega-Tuesday" (February 5, 2008), when at least 15 states will hold elections for over 800 Republican delegates, including Giuliani-friendly (and delegate rich) states like New York, New Jersey, and California.

In Iowa, Mitt Romney earned 14 percent of the support in the ARG poll of likely Republican caucus voters—his highest level of support to date. Not-yet-official candidate Fred Thompson was the only other Republican in double digits, with 13 percent.

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Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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