Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


How Will Upper Midwestern Independents Vote In 2008?

Bookmark and Share

With the prospects of a potential high profile Independent presidential candidacy by New York Mayor (and billionaire) Michael Bloomberg on the horizon, gaining the votes of political independents becomes even a higher prize for the establishment parties in 2008. Independents comprise approximately 25 percent of the electorate in Minnesota and 30 percent in Iowa and Wisconsin.

The eventual Republican nominee will seek to win back independent voters who helped the Democratic Party take back the U.S. House and Senate in the mini-landslide elections last year. The Democratic candidate will assuredly need to strike a tone of moderation in his or her political ideology, or risk losing independents to an independent such as Bloomberg.

Moderate Republicans might be attracted to a Bloomberg campaign (himself most recently a member of the GOP, but also once a Democrat)—especially so if maverick Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel joins the ticket (unlike Senator John McCain, to whom the media inappropriately has assigned such a label, Hagel is a true maverick—parting company with his party's leadership on Iraq, long before it was fashionable to do so).

So where will the independent vote fall in the Upper Midwest in 2008?

In Iowa, independents currently give President Bush a much lower approval rating, at 23 percent, than his statewide average of 34 percent (SurveyUSA, June 2007). Independents basically rate the job performance of their Senators—Republican Charles Grassley and Democrat Tom Harkin—in line with the statewide average. Independents overall give the Republican Grassley higher marks (62 percent) over Harkin (51 percent).

In Minnesota, while independents also are slightly less approving of Bush's performance (26 percent) compared to the statewide average (29 percent), they are more supportive of Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty (57 percent) compared to the state overall (50 percent). Independents rate DFL Senator Amy Klobuchar's job performance higher than that of Republican Norm Coleman (57 to 48 percent).

Independents in Wisconsin, however, seem to have a somewhat harsher view of their statewide Democratic leaders, and a slightly more favorable view of President Bush than their newly re-elected Democratic Governor Jim Doyle. Thirty-eight percent of independent Wisconsinites approve of Bush's job performance (in line with the 37 percent statewide average) while 37 percent approve of Doyle's job performance (four points less than his statewide 41 percent approval rating).

Wisconsin independents also give the two Democratic Senators Herb Kohl (53 percent) and Russ Feingold (48 percent) lower job approval ratings than their statewide average (60 percent and 53 percent respectively).

The Democrats therefore do not have anything close to a lock on the independent vote in 2008 in the Upper Midwest, and a viable, politcally moderate third party candidacy like that of Bloomberg might very well prove an insurmountable hurdle for them to overcome.

Previous post: Upper Midwest House Members Vote Along Party Lines On Iraq Withdrawal
Next post: Senators Harkin and Feingold Don't View Terrorist Threat In Iraq To Be In U.S. National Security Interest

Leave a comment


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.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting