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Obama Is Iowa's Candidate; Huckabee the Bridesmaid

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In the first poll of Iowans since its caucuses last Thursday, Democrat Barack Obama would trounce Republican Mike Huckabee if the presidential election were held today. The SurveyUSA poll of 543 registered voters, conducted January 4-6, found Obama would defeat Huckabee by 23 points (58 to 35 percent) in a presidential matchup, with 8 percent undecided.

Obama and Huckabee took the state (and nation) by storm by registering decisive victories in Iowa last week, but the overwhelming Democratic turnout for the caucuses continues to translate into statewide support for Obama in the caucus aftermath.

Iowans also give Obama significant double-digit victories over all the other Republican frontrunners: by 40 points over Rudy Giuliani (66 to 26 percent), by 26 points over Mitt Romney (59 to 33 percent), and by 17 points over John McCain (55 to 38 percent).

The fact that McCain - who placed a distant fourth in the GOP caucuses with 13 percent - remains a stronger candidate in Iowa over Huckabee and Romney, indicates he is still able to pick up a greater number of independents and moderate Democrats than the other Republican candidates.

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Political Crumbs

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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