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Huckabee Takes First Lead In Iowa

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Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has taken his first lead in a public poll of GOP Iowa caucus voters, according to a survey of 839 likely caucus participants conducted November 26-27 by Rasmussen.

While still within the margin of error, Mitt Romney now trails Huckbaee 28 to 25 percent. A Rasmussen poll taken two weeks prior found Romney with a 29 to 16 percent lead over Huckabee. Romney has led the GOP field in almost all public polls conducted in Iowa since June 2007.

In the new Rasmussen poll, it is currently a two-person race for the GOP in the Hawkeye State, with Rudy Giuliani trailing by double digits at 12 percent, followed by Fred Thompson at 11 percent and Ron Paul at 5 percent. John McCain—who is focusing his efforts on South Carolina and New Hampshire—has now fallen into a sixth place tie with Tom Tancredo at 4 percent. Duncan Hunter rounds out the field with 1 percent support while 10 percent are undecided.

Romney's campaign strategy hinges on winning the early, smaller states of Iowa and New Hampshire (where he is still polling with a double-digit lead) to increase his momentum and the accompanying positive media exposure that he hopes will boomerang him into competitive runs in Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida. If Romney does not win the majority of these states, which hold their contests in mid- to late January, the fear for the Romney campaign is that Giuliani (the national frontrunner) will be able to hang on and amass a big win on Super Tuesday on February 5th.

Huckabee's surge in recent weeks has taken most pundits by surprise, and few have outlined a strategy where the former minister can go on to win the Republican nomination. The strategy, however, is this: Huckabee, who surprisingly has not won the endorsements of most prominent conservative religious leaders, is now starting to poll stronger in southern states. Huckabee polled in second place (17 percent) in the latest Insider Advantage poll in Florida and polled in double digits in recent Rasmussen and SurveyUSA polls in South Carolina. Huckabee's competitiveness in these southern states appears to be correlated with the declining support for Fred Thompson.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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