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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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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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