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New ARG Poll Show Tight Race for Dems and GOP in Wisconsin

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These days Republican candidate Mike Huckabee is asked more about when he will quit the GOP race and why he hasn't already ended his presidential bid more than any questions about policy. Ignoring frequent calls for his exit, Huckabee has campaigned on in the Badger State this past week. The former Arkansas Governor is now locked in a tight battle with John McCain in Wisconsin, according to an American Research Group (ARG) poll conducted of 600 likely Republican primary voters on February 15-16.

The ARG poll gives McCain a 46 to 42 percent edge over Huckabee, with 4 percent giving their support to Ron Paul. Seven percent of likely GOP voters are undecided. After Super Tuesday, but before Mitt Romney had announced his withdrawal from the race, Huckabee was only polling at 4 percent in Wisconsin, with McCain at 51 percent, Romney at 29 percent, and Paul at 7 percent (ARG, February 6-7).

Huckabee is hoping for a big independent vote for Obama on the Democratic side of the ticket on Tuesday, draining McCain's base (Wisconsin's contest is an open primary). According to the ARG poll, Ron Paul also benefits from independents voting in the GOP primary (11 percent).

On the Democratic side, ARG continues to show Clinton with a lead—this time by 6 points, 49 to 43 percent; ARG's poll after Super Tuesday showed Clinton with a 50 to 41 percent lead. All other public polls give Obama a 4 to 5 point lead.

It should be noted ARG has overestimated Clinton's support (and underestimated support for Obama) in several races in polls ending the day before the following contests:

Iowa
ARG: Clinton +9
Caucus results: Obama +9

South Carolina
ARG: Obama +3
Primary results: Obama +28

Michigan
ARG: Clinton +25
Primary results: Clinton +15

Florida
ARG: Clinton +30
Primary results: Clinton +17

Tennessee
ARG: Clinton +22
Primary results: Clinton +13

Maryland
ARG: Obama +17
Primary results: Obama +23

Virginia
ARG: Obama +17
Primary results: Obama +29

ARG - like most pollsters - overestimated support for Obama in surveys before the California and New Hampshire primaries.

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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