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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.

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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