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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

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.


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