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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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