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McCain Continues To Pose Biggest Threat to Dems in Battleground States

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John McCain, long ago the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, has been polling a distant fourth in national surveys in recent weeks (behind Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson), and even polled in fifth place behind Mike Huckabee in the latest Rasmussen poll.

Despite these lagging numbers, John McCain is unquestionably the most competitive Republican in battleground states—states that must be won by Republicans to retain its hold on the White House.

A series of SurveyUSA battleground state polls posing matchups of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama against Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee, and McCain, find McCain performing an average of 6 points better than Giuliani, 13 points better than Romney, and 17 points better than Huckabee. The polls were conducted in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, and Oregon from November 9-11 of registered voters.

Neither Romney nor Huckabee lead Clinton or Obama in matchups in any of these 7 states.

Giuliani only holds an advantage of 4 points over Obama in Minnesota, 8 points over Obama in Ohio, and 1 point over Clinton in Missouri.

By contrast, McCain is leading the Democrats in most matchups across these states:

* McCain leads Obama by 3 points in Minnesota, 4 in Wisconsin, 15 in Ohio, and 10 in Virginia. The two candidates were tied in Oregon.

* McCain also leads Clinton by 3 points in Oregon, 9 points in Virginia, 4 points in Iowa, and 1 point in Ohio.

The problem demonstrated by this battleground state data for Clinton and Giuliani is that while they remain the most popular candidates among the base of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively, neither seems to be able to gather the crossover or independent votes that McCain can deliver.

This opening lays the groundwork for the possibility of a strong third party run in the 2008 presidential election.

Previous post: Obama Leads Clinton In New ABC News/W. Post Iowa Poll
Next post: Terrorism, Immigration Key Issues to Iowa Republican Caucus Vote Choice

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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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