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Clinton Makes Big Gains Against Obama vis-à-vis McCain in Upper Midwest

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In polling conducted just as the Reverend Wright story broke nationally last week, Hillary Clinton appears to have made substantial gains across the Upper Midwest in terms of her relative competitiveness with Republican nominee John McCain, as compared to her competitor Barack Obama.

SurveyUSA polls of 500+ registered voters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, found Clinton to have racked up double-digit gains across all states, compared to polling conducted by the organization one-month prior in mid-February.

In February, Senator Obama held a 15-point lead over McCain in Minnesota, 55 to 40 percent, compared to just a 4-point lead for Clinton—a net 11-point relative advantage for Obama. In the new March poll, however, Obama trails McCain by 1-point (47 to 46 percent) and Clinton leads McCain by 3 points (49 to 46 percent)—a net 4-point advantage for Clinton. This marks a 15-point turnaround in one month for Clinton, measuring her relative performance against McCain with Obama in the Gopher State.

In Wisconsin, Obama led McCain by 10 points in February, 52 to 42 percent, with Clinton trailing McCain by 7 points, or a 17-point relative advantage for Obama. This month, Obama leads McCain by only 4 points (48 to 44 percent) and Clinton now leads McCain by 1-point (46 to 45 percent), for a net 3-point advantage for Obama. This marks a 14-point gain in one month for Clinton, measuring her relative performance against McCain with Obama in the Badger State.

In Iowa, Obama led McCain by 10 points in February (51 to 41 percent), while Clinton trailed the Arizona Senator by 11 points (52 to 41 percent)—a 21-point relative advantage for Obama. This month, Obama leads McCain by 6 points (50 to 44 percent) while Clinton has cut the McCain lead to 4 points (48 to 44 percent). This marks an 11-point gain in one month for Clinton, measuring her relative performance against McCain with Obama in the Hawkeye State.

One of Obama's strengths as a potential Democratic nominee was his ability to lure crucial independent voters to the Democratic side. The Illinois Senator now appears quite vulnerable in retaining that key constituency.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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