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The McCain Surge: Is It Real? Yes.

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John McCain’s campaign has had the benefit of running as the underdog during the past few months, with most pundits characterizing the 2008 presidential race as “Barack Obama’s to lose.? Even strategist Dick Morris, hardly a friend to Democrats these days, has stated as late as yesterday that the race is “Obama vs. Obama.?

But McCain has hardly been a passive observer to the proceedings thus far. His recent campaign advertising (lampooning Obama’s cult of celebrity) has generated not simply controversy (and the free advertising that accompanies it in cable news) but also a decided bump in the polls.

Nationally, in Gallup’s tracking poll, McCain has closed Obama’s 9-point advantage from a week ago into just a 3-point margin as of Monday.

State polls of likely voters that have been released during the past few days reveal the Republican Senator has gained significantly on Obama in battleground states, traditionally Republican states, as well as traditionally Democratic states. (Bear in mind comparisons are largely being drawn here between different pollsters; the takeaway point is the universal trend, not the margin per se in any particular state).

Battleground

Florida: McCain +6 (McCain up 8 points in 1 week)
Missouri: McCain +5 (McCain up 10 points in 3 weeks)

Red
Alabama: McCain + 20 (McCain up 7 points in 1 month)
Arizona: McCain + 19 (McCain up 10 points in 1 month)
Oklahoma: McCain + 32 (McCain up 18 points in 1 month)

Blue
Massachusetts: Obama +9 (McCain up 11 points in 1 month)
Connecticut: Obama + 13 (McCain up 9 points in 1 month)
New York: Obama +18 (McCain up 13 points in 1 month)

With the political environment ripe for an Obama victory, and with Democrats poised to make big gains in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate this November, the Democratic Party faithful are no doubt scratching their heads wondering what Obama needs to do to halt McCain’s latest surge.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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