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Jim Doyle Approval Rating Continues to Tumble

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A majority of Wisconsin residents (52 percent) now disapprove of Democratic Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's job performance, according to a new poll released this week by SurveyUSA. For only the second time in 26 consecutive monthly polls of 600 Wisconsin residents dating back to May 2005, more than 50 percent of Wisconsinites disapprove of Doyle's work as Governor, with just 41 percent approving of his performance.

Doyle has struggled at times this session to push his agenda through the state legislature (which has split control: Democrats have an 18-15 majority in the Senate while Republicans hold a 52-47 majority in the Assembly). Doyle's plan to expand state welfare programs was stalled in the legislature and this past month the Governor and Republican leaders have had a rhetorical battle while they posture in advance of negotiations on the state's $58 billion budget through the next two years.

Doyle enjoyed his highest approval numbers (55 percent) when he was re-elected last November with 53 percent of the vote (SurveyUSA, November 2006). But his numbers have slipped almost every month since: 49 percent in December 2006, 48 percent in January, 47 percent in February, 45 percent in March, back up to 48 percent in April, then down to 46 percent last month, and 41 percent in June.

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Political Crumbs

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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