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Immigration Gaffe Doesn't Erode Clinton's Lead in Iowa...Yet

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Hillary Clinton still leads the race for the nod of Democratic caucus voters in Iowa, according to the latest Zogby poll. The survey, conducted November 6 of 502 likely Democratic caucus voters, measures voter preferences a week after an MSNBC Democratic debate in which Clinton had a much-publicized gaffe on the issue of New York State issuing drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants.

Zogby measured Clinton's support at 28 percent, followed by Barack Obama at 25 percent, John Edwards at 21 percent, Bill Richardson at 9 percent, Joe Biden at 3 percent, and Chris Dodd at 1 percent. Twelve percent were undecided.

Some national polls have seen a modest dip in support for Clinton this week—attributing it to her qualified support and "understanding" as to why New York Governor Eliot Spitzer backed a plan to give illegal immigrants drivers' licenses in his state. Clinton was then criticized harshly by several of her Democratic debate opponents, as well as the media and several political strategists and commentators thereafter.

Iowans, like citizens of most of the nation, are generally supportive of tough action against illegal immigration. In an April 2006 Rasmussen poll, respondents favored sending National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border by a 58-30 margin, wished to end the practice of giving citizenship to children born of illegal immigrants by a 63-23 margin, and were split 39-39 on the proposal to deport every single illegal immigrant out of the United States.

Republicans are more impacted by a candidate's position on immigration policy in Iowa than Democrats. However, in a race in which Clinton's lead has been in the single digits over both Obama and Edwards for most of the year, her immigration debacle could tip the scales. A September 2007 Los Angeles Times poll found 13 percent of likely Democratic caucus voters would only vote for a candidate who agrees with them on illegal immigration, compared to 34 percent of Republicans.

In a state that could deliver a knockout blow to the Edwards and Obama campaigns, Clinton strategists must be working overtime to insure a similar gaffe by their candidate doesn't derail her lead in the Hawkeye States, now less tham two months before its caucuses.

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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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