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The Polls Tell Us…It's A Toss-Up in Iowa

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With at least one poll of Iowans being released every day, the results tell us that while no candidate is the definitive frontrunner, certain patterns have emerged.

With different candidates leading in different polls, both the Democratic and GOP races are classic 'toss-ups.' In polls released during the past week, Hillary Clinton led by 4 points in Zogby's survey and by 7 points in American Research Group's poll. John Edwards polled on top by a statistically insignificant 1-point in MSNBC/McClatchy's survey and Barack Obama was tied with Edwards in the KCCI-TV / Research 2000 survey.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee polled on top in the latest Zogby and KCCI-TV surveys (by 2 and 7 points respectively) while Mitt Romney led in polls by American Research Group and MSNBC / McClatchy (by 9 and 4 points).

No one can call themselves a frontrunner in Iowa not only because different polls tell us there are different leaders, but because each polling organization has to make subjective decisions as to whom is a 'likely caucus voter.' Turnout at such caucuses is very hard to predict, and a tighter screen is needed than that used for 'regular' likely voters.

Secondly, the Huckabee surge has stopped—though his base support might be strong enough to carry him through on Thursday night. Romney, and to some extent John McCain, appear to have picked off some of Huckabee's softer supporters in recent weeks. Romney's support, however, has been more fragile than most other top candidates throughout Iowa and the early primary states, so there is no guarantee his 25+ percent of base support will stick with him throughout the caucuses.

Thirdly, the race for third place on the GOP side appears to be between McCain and Fred Thompson, with Rudy Giuliani polling in the single digits alongside Ron Paul for fifth in most recent polls. A sixth place showing for Giuliani behind the well-funded Paul would be no less than a nightmare for the former New York City mayor, even though Giuliani has not been spending as much time in the Hawkeye State as most other GOP candidates (McCain, for example, has not devoted much campaign resources to Iowa, and yet leads Giuliani by at least 5 points in most surveys).

Previous post: Five Days Out: Romney Back On Top in New Iowa Poll
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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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