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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

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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