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Final Iowa Polls Released Today

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Two final polls of Iowans were released today—with mixed results on the Democratic side and Mike Huckabee the consensus leader for the GOP.

For the Democrats, Zogby's tracking poll conducted December 30 through January 2 finds Barack Obama leading with 31 percent, John Edwards in second at 27 percent, and Hillary Clinton in third with 24 percent. This marks a shift in the Zogby poll from just a half-week ago, when it was Clinton at 31 percent, Obama at 27 percent, and Edwards at 24 percent. The media would certainly have a field day if Clinton places third in Iowa, even in a close three-way race.

The final American Research Group (ARG) survey, however, tells a different story: Clinton at 34 percent, Obama at 25 percent, and Edwards at 21 percent. ARG has tracked this race with 17 polls over the past 13 months, and has reported Clinton in the lead in 15 of them (losing out to Obama in late November and Edwards in April).

Many pundits are predicting an Obama victory, though an equal number are shying away from making any prediction. While Edwards has now failed to poll on top in 42 of the last 43 surveys of Iowans, Smart Politics outlined in our January 2nd entry several reasons why the former Senator could emerge the victor later tonight.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee leads in both polls released today. The numbers:

Zogby
Huckabee = 31%
Romney = 25%
Thompson = 11%
Paul = 10%
McCain = 10%
Giuliani = 6%
Hunter = 1%
No opinion = 6%

ARG
Huckabee = 29%
Romney = 24%
Thompson = 13%
McCain = 11%
Giuliani = 8%
Paul = 6%
Hunter = 4%
Keyes = 1%
No opinion = 4%

Beyond the headlines tonight, watch for who comes in third; Ron Paul, who raised an astonishing 20 million in the 4th quarter of 2007, is surging and is expected to get out the vote among his supporters. A third-place finish for Paul will create an uproar over Fox News' decision to exclude him (and all candidates not polling in double-digits nationally) to their upcoming debate this weekend. Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have already been invited by Fox to participate, and a Paul victory over two or possibly three of them tonight would even further rally Paul's growing army.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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