Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


McCain Still Top GOP Dog In Battleground States

Bookmark and Share

As tracked here at Smart Politics over the past few months, John McCain continues to prove to be the strongest Republican candidate to defeat the Democrats in 2008. McCain consistently, and by wide margins, polls better than his chief GOP rivals in almost all key battleground states—those states that Republicans and Democrats will each need to win to claim the White House.

The latest scientific polling on this issue comes from SurveyUSA, which interviewed more than 500 registered voters December 13-15 in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington, and Oregon. Matchup polls were conducted of McCain, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney against both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Of the 16 possible matchups in these battleground states, McCain performed the best among the four Republicans in 13 of them. In one matchup McCain and Romney performed the same (both trailed Obama by 12 points in Iowa), and Huckabee scored the best among the GOP candidates against both Clinton and Obama in his neighboring state of Missouri (outpolling McCain by 2 and 5 points respectively).

McCain tied or bested the Democrats in exactly half of these matchups: leading Obama by 9 points in Minnesota, by 9 points in Ohio, and by 11 points in New Mexico, and leading Clinton by 7 points in Wisconsin, by 3 points in New Mexico, by 1 point in Iowa, and tying Clinton in both Ohio and Oregon.

Giuliani beat or tied the Democrats in just 3 of these 16 matchups (against Obama in Minnesota, Ohio, and New Mexico), with only 2 victories for Huckabee (against Obama in Missouri and New Mexico) and just 1 for Romney (against Obama in New Mexico). Neither of McCain's opponents polled higher than Clinton in any of these battleground states.

McCain has been poised to perform the best among the GOP candidates throughout most of the year, despite a campaign that had struggled to gain momentum until the last month or so. McCain has had a great December—picking up the endorsements of leading newspapers in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Massachusetts, as well as that of Independent-Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman.

Recent polling shows this good news for McCain may be translating into support on the ground—McCain trails Romney by just 4 points in New Hampshire (31 to 27 percent) in the latest Rasmussen poll and received the nod of 14 percent in the latest Rasmussen poll of likely Republican caucus voters in Iowa (good for third place, in a state in which McCain has not devoted much resources).

The one caveat to this SurveyUSA data is that it was conducted of registered, and not likely voters. McCain may still be getting a slight bump among some part of the electorate due to his name recongition from having run for president in 2000.

Previous post: Iowa Democratic Caucus Time Capsule: 2004
Next post: Tom Tancredo's Exit and the Immigration Legacy

Leave a comment


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.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting