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Iowans Outlook on America Bleakest in 10 Years

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A new Rasmussen poll of 500 likely Iowa voters, conducted May 13th, finds only 11 percent of Iowans believe the country is heading in the right direction. An astounding 84 percent believe it is off on the wrong track—more than 10 points higher than the previous high during the past decade (73 percent, KCCI-TV / Research 2000, December 2007).

At the end of the Bill Clinton administration nearly ten years ago, in January 1999, 58 percent of Iowans believed the country was headed in the right direction (Iowa Poll). That number dropped off to the mid- to low 40 percent range throughout most of 2002 through 2004. By mid-2005, 36 percent of Iowans viewed the nation as heading in the right direction (SurveyUSA, July 2005). That number dropped to 31 percent in September 2006 (Iowa Poll), 28 percent in January 2007 (Iowa Poll), and 22 percent just before the Iowa Caucuses this year (KCCI-TV / Research 2000, December 2007). That number has now been sliced in half in just five months.

In general, views of the direction of the nation are normally lower than views of the direction of one's state, and both are usually lower than views on the direction of one's personal life.

In Iowa, the question in the fall will be how will voters take out their frustration on their depressed views of the country? Will it translate into electing a Democratic president? The new Rasmussen poll shows John McCain in a dead heat with Barack Obama (trailing 44 to 42 percent) and Hillary Clinton (leading 45 to 42 percent).

Or could it translate into rejecting the Democratic controlled state government? Governor Chet Culver won't be on the ballot, but he is currently enduring the lowest approval ratings of his first term—43 percent—according to a mid-April SurveyUSA poll. Democrats also control both chambers in the state legislature—having taken control of the House in the 2006 election.

Previous post: The Numbers: West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon and Beyond
Next post: Polls in KY, OR: Someone Forgot to Tell the Voters 'It's Over'

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Remains of the Data

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Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


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).


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