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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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