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Wisconsinites Remain Sour about Bush, Direction of Country

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A mid-June Badger Poll, conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, finds the vast majority of Wisconsin residents are quite pessimistic about both national politics as well as the direction of the nation.

Only 33 percent of Wisconsinites are satisfied with the direction of the United States—virtually the same results found by the Badger Poll in a survey conducted in a late October 2006 (32 percent) in advance of that fall's general election. Sixty-three percent are disatisfied.

In addition to having strong concerns about foreign policy and the situation in Iraq, Badger State residents have a particularly sour view about the state of the nation's economy, with only 16 percent expecting economic conditions to get better during the next year, while more than double that amount (37 percent) expecting it to get worse. National economic forecasting was much rosier for Wisconsinites in March 2002 (56 percent 'better'), October 2004 (46 percent) and May 2005 (31 percent).

President Bush's approval rating—at 30 percent—mirrors that found in several recent polls both nationally and in the state of Wisconsin. However, although Congress gets fairly low marks nationally, at 41 percent Wisconsinites have much a higher approval rating of the legislative branch. The poll also found that by more than a four-to-one margin, Wisconsin residents believe the level of ethics and honest in Washington, D.C. has fallen (45 percent) during the Bush presidency compared to risen (10 percent). About half (44 percent) feel things have stayed about the same.

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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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