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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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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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