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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

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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