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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

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


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