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Obama Sustains Advantage Over McCain in Iowa

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The latest SurveyUSA poll of 600 registered voters in Iowa still finds Barack Obama on his way to taking back the Hawkeye State for the Democratic Party in 2008.

Obama leads John McCain 47 to 38 percent in the poll conducted May 21-22. Obama has led McCain in all 15 matchup polls conducted across three pollsters dating back to December 2006.

What is of particular note in this poll is the large percent of registered voters who have not yet made up their mind—16 percent. That is the largest number since July 2007, when 20 percent of likely voters in a KCCI-TV / Research 2000 poll did not know for whom they would vote. Just last month, only 9 percent of registered voters were uncertain in SurveyUSA's April poll (with only 5 percent undecided in March 2008).

That is the good news for Obama—his advantage over McCain has withstood the negative media coverage sustained during the last few months of the Democratic primary (e.g. the Pastor Jeremiah Wright controversy).

The bad news for Obama is that it appears to be his weak supporters who are falling into the 'undecided camp' according to monthly SurveyUSA polls. In January 2008, Obama received 55 percent of the support among Iowans when matched up against McCain. In February, that number fell to 51 percent, dropping to 50 percent in March, 49 percent in April, and now 47 percent in the new May poll. McCain's support has fluctuated up and down between 38 and 44 percent in seven SurveyUSA polls since November 2007.

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Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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