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Obama Lead Narrows in Iowa While Harkin’s Lead Expands

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In another bit of sobering news for the Barack Obama campaign, a new Rasmussen poll of 500 likely voters in Iowa finds his double-digit lead over John McCain from a month ago now standing at 5 points.

In July, Obama’s lead was measured at 48 to 38 percent over McCain, but an August 7th survey now measures it at 46 to 41 percent.

Now, this 5-point drop would not normally be noteworthy, considering the margin of error of 4.5 points in each Rasmussen survey. However, what is interesting is that the McCain bump occurs in a poll that also measures Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s lead over Republican Christopher Reed on the rise – from 16 points in Rasmussen’s July survey (52 to 36 percent) to 24 points today (58 to 34 percent).

Iowa is a state whose current partisan breakdown is approximately 40 percent Democratic, 30 percent Republican, 25 percent independent, and 5 percent other/uncertain. Therefore, for Harkin to be flirting with 60 percent in the polls after hovering at just over 50 percent in July, means some independents and perhaps some Republicans have recently decided to vote Democratic in the U.S. Senate race, but (en masse) are also moving in equal numbers to McCain in the Presidential race.

Obama has still led McCain in every of the nearly two-dozen matchup polls that have been conducted in Iowa since December 2006.

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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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