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The Partisan Divide in Iowa

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A new Bloomberg / LA Times poll of likely caucus voters in Iowa demonstrates quite clearly how the view of the country is affected by one's political lens. While the outlook on the GOP side is not exceedingly optimistic, it seems so when paired against the glum worldview held by the Democrats.

Only 8 percent of those Democrats and independents voting in the Iowa Democratic caucuses believe the United States is headed in the right direction, with more than 11 times that number, 89 percent, of the view it is seriously off on the wrong track. More than half (53 percent) of Republicans and independents likely to vote in the GOP caucuses believe the country is going in the right direction, with 40 percent believing it is on the wrong track.

The difference in judging the state of the nation's economy also has a great partisan divide with Republicans (74 percent) nearly 50-points more optimistic that the economy is going well compared to the Democrats (28 percent).

The divide is even greater when assessing the Iraq war—73 percent of Republican caucus voters still believe it was worth going to war, while only 12 percent of Democratic caucus voters hold that view. However, despite 83 percent of Democratic voters believing it was not worth going to war, only 28 percent believe the troops should come home right away; 60 percent believe they should come home within the next year. Sixty-eight percent of Republican voters believe the troops should stay in Iraq "as long as it takes," compared to just 7 percent on the Democratic side.

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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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