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Obama in Iowa and Minnesota: Standing Where Kerry Stood in 2004

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Barack Obama has enjoyed not only a lead over John McCain in all but one of more than 25 national polls conducted since early May 2008, but also a consistent advantage in early polling in two key Upper Midwestern battleground states: Iowa and Minnesota.

However, Obama's lead in these states—which total 17 Electoral College votes—is quite similar to where 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry stood four years ago vis-à-vis George W. Bush.

In Minnesota, the latest poll of likely voters by SurveyUSA (June 13-16) gives Obama a statistically insignificant 1-point lead over McCain, 47 to 46 percent. Back in late June 2004, a Humphrey Institute survey of likely voters similarly found Kerry with a 1-point lead, 45 to 44 percent over Bush. Kerry went on to win the Gopher State by less than 4 points.

In Iowa, the latest SurveyUSA poll (June 13-16) finds Obama up 4 points over McCain, 49 to 45 percent. Back in June 2004, a Humphrey Survey measured Kerry's lead over Bush at 6 points, 50 to 44 percent.

Kerry had consistently outperformed Bush in Iowa in the polls from February through August 2004—leading in all 10 surveys conducted during that span by Rasmussen, CNN, the Humphrey Institute, SurveyUSA, and KCCI-TV / Research 2000. Kerry then lost his lead after the Republican National Convetion and went on to lose to Bush by less than 1 percentage point.

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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