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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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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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