Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Will Bush Drive Independents Away from McCain in Upper Midwest?

Bookmark and Share

Last week John McCain, in a somewhat awkward festivity, accepted President George W. Bush's endorsement for the presidency after wrapping up the majority of delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination.

McCain, setting aside his staunch support for the still generally unpopular War in Iraq, is the type of Republican candidate (i.e. fiscally conservative, not beloved by the 'religious right,' a perceived 'straight talker' etc.) who could draw in independent voters to end the stronghold Democratic presidential nominees have enjoyed in recent years in the Upper Midwestern battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Since 1988, the Democrats have carried 14 of 15 contests across these three states, with the only blemish being Bush's 0.7-point victory in Iowa in 2004.

According to the latest matchup polls, McCain is currently performing very competitively against Hillary Clinton in these states:

Iowa: McCain 47%, Clinton 37% (Rasmussen, February 18, 500 LV)
Minnesota: Clinton 49%, McCain 45% (SurveyUSA, February 15-17, 541 RV)
Wisconsin: McCain 50%, Clinton 38% (Rasmussen, February 21, 500 LV)

McCain is also neck-and-neck with Barack Obama, except in the Gopher State:

Iowa: Obama 44%, McCain 41% (Rasmussen, February 18, 500 LV)
Minnesota: Obama 55%, McCain 40% (SurveyUSA, February 15-17, 541 RV)
Wisconsin: Obama 44%, McCain 43% (Rasmussen, February 21, 500 LV)

Of great concern to the McCain camp is not so much whether he can appeal to Republicans in these Upper Midwestern states (about three-quarters of whom still back the President), but whether the disdain independents have for President Bush will prompt them to vote Democratic, despite their favorable view of McCain as a person and politician.

George Bush's overall approval ratings last month show no signs of life for the lame duck president (SurveyUSA, February 15-17, 600 adults):

Iowa: 30 percent approve, 67 percent disapprove
Minnesota: 30 percent approve, 68 percent disapprove
Wisconsin: 34 percent approve; 65 percent disapprove

Bush's current disapproval ratings in Minnesota and Wisconsin are the 2nd and 4th highest registered respectively by SurveyUSA in 33 consecutive months of polling.

The approval / disapproval numbers for independents towards Bush across these three states offer no better news for McCain:

Iowa = 30 percent approve, 69 percent disapprove
Minnesota = 29 percent approve, 70 percent disapprove
Wisconsin = 33 percent approve, 64 percent disapprove

The 'Bush drag' is likely to continue, even with the relatively good news coming out of Iraq these days, due to the increased bad news coming out of the second front on the war on terror, Afghanistan, and general nervousness about the American economy (e.g. gas prices, the home mortgage crisis etc.). McCain will need to define himself as a unique political personality, independent from the Bush administration, if he is to lure in enough independents to win these crucial battleground states in the Upper Midwest.

Previous post: Commentary: Why Clinton Should (And Will) Stay in the Race Through South Dakota
Next post: Coleman with 10-Point Lead Over Franken in New MN Senate Poll

1 Comment


  • in a somewhat awkward festivity, accepted President George W. Bush's endorsement

    Included in the day was Bush's invitation for McCain to join him for a lunch of hot dogs. Apparently the white house kitchen was out of spaghetti-o's.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Kevin McCarthy Becomes Least Tenured Floor Leader in US House History

    At less than four terms, McCarthy has served 423 fewer days in the chamber than any floor leader in U.S. House history and almost 10 years less than the average leader.

    Political Crumbs

    The Second Time Around

    Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


    How Are the Plurality Winners Doing?

    Nearly 40 percent of plurality winners of U.S. Senate elections lose their seat in the next election cycle. Will that happen to any of the three such incumbents on the ballot in 2014? Recent polling suggests Democrats Al Franken of Minnesota, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon all currently have an advantage over their nominated/frontrunning GOP opponents, but each is flirting with plurality support once again. Franken led endorsed GOPer Mike McFadden 48 to 42 percent in a new SurveyUSA poll while the polling group showed Merkley with a 50 to 32 percent advantage over Monica Wehby. Begich led each of the three major GOP candidates in last month's PPP survey: 42 to 37 percent over Daniel Sullivan, 41 to 33 percent over Mead Treadwell, and 43 to 27 percent over Joe Miller.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting