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Will Obama Perform Stronger in Wisconsin Than in Minnesota? Don’t Count On It

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A new poll by Quinnipiac University of more than 1,000 likely voters in both Minnesota and Wisconsin was released Thursday with a surprising headline: Barack Obama led John McCain by just 2 points in the Gopher State (46 to 44 percent) but had an 11-point advantage over the Arizona Senator in the Badger State (50 to 39 percent).

Before McCain supporters get too enthusiastic that his campaign has made great inroads in Minnesota, and before Obama supporters get too self-assured that the Illinois Senator will roll to an easy win in Wisconsin, Smart Politics offers the following history lesson: the Democratic presidential nominee has performed more strongly in Minnesota than in Wisconsin during the last 17 elections, dating back to 1940.

In every election for the past 68 years, regardless of whether the Democratic nominee has carried both states (1940, 1948, 1964, 1976, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004), only Minnesota (1944, 1960, 1968, 1980, 1984), or neither state (1952, 1956, 1972), Democrats have always fared better in Minnesota than in Wisconsin (as measured by the percentage point difference between the Democratic and Republican nominees in each state).

On average, Democratic presidential nominees have performed 7.6 points stronger in Minnesota than in the Badger State. During the past 5 elections since 1988 (when both states have consistently voted Democratic), the margin is 4.3 points.

Overall, Minnesota has voted for the Democratic nominee in 14 of the 17 elections since 1940, while Wisconsinites voted Democratic in just 9 of them.

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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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