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Is Pennsylvania the Next Iowa? Not Quite.

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After the Wyoming caucuses on Saturday and the Mississippi primary on Tuesday (and perhaps even before those contests are finished), all attention will shift to the state of Pennyslvania in the next (though not necessarily last) showdown between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The lengthy 6+ week run up to the Pennyslvania primary is drawing comparisons to Iowa, where most presidential hopefuls, not so long ago, spent most of their time and resources in 2007 before the first-in-the-nation contest was held on January 3rd. Of course, some candidates, like Tommy Thompson, John Edwards, and Sam Brownback, spent months in the Hawkeye State, so Pennyslvania's campaign will be more of a 'condensed Iowa' - both in terms of the number of weeks as well as the number of candidate options.

But there are some unique differences between Pennsylvania and Iowa. First, Pennsylvania has a much larger population—approximately 4.2 times that of Iowa—with 274 people per square mile, compared to just 52 persons per square mile in the less urban state of Iowa. The Mitt Romney campaign made a point to make a stop in each of Iowa's nearly 100 counties. The same will not be said of the Obama and Clinton campaigns, who will likely focus a large part of their resources to the more populous eastern (Berks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Montgomery County, Northampton County, Philadelphia County) and western (Allegheny County, Butler County, Bucks County, Erie County, Fayette County, Lawrence County, Washington County, Westmoreland County) parts of the state

Pennsylvania also has a much higher non-white population, approximately 14.3 percent, compared to just 5.4 percent in Iowa. This should advantage Obama, as the difference in non-whites is largely comprised in the black demographic (10.7 percent in PA, 2.5 percent in IA), compared to Hispanics (4.2 percent in PA, 3.8 percent in IA), or Asians (2.4 percent in PA, 1.6 percent in IA).

Clinton, however, has been doing better in the Democratic primaries among less educated Americans, and Pennsylvania has a notably lower number of high school graduates (81.9 percent) than does Iowa (86.1 percent). Pennsylvania also has a higher poverty rate (11.2 percent) than Iowa (10.5 percent).

It has also been said, despite several endorsements by labor unions for Obama, that blue-collar working folks lean towards Clinton (as evidenced by her victory in Ohio). Pennsylvania has a significantly larger union household rate (31 percent) than does Iowa (22 percent), which should work to her advantage.

All this adds up to an exciting race, to be sure, although the first poll conducted after Clinton's big victories in Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island on Tuesday, finds the New York Senator with a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania: 52 to 37 percent (69% likely voters, polled by Rasmussen on March 6th). The Keystone State is certainly being billed as Clinton's to lose.

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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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