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

    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.


    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