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Third Parties Garnering Support In Key Statewide Races

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A recent report by Gallup indicates muted support for third party candidates thus far in the 2008 presidential race. In an open-ended question asking likely voters for which candidate they would cast their presidential ballot, only 2 percent cited third party candidates (1 percent each for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and independent candidate Ralph Nader).

Although the candidacies of Barr and Nader may not have gained traction yet nationally, third party candidates in other high profile statewide races are already making their mark.

For example, in Colorado’s open U.S. Senate race, the latest Rocky Mountain News poll (August 11-13) finds left-leaning independent candidate Buddy Moore receiving the support of 5 percent of registered voters and Green Party candidate Bob Kinsey earning another 2 percent. Democrat Mark Udall is favored to win this open seat, but currently holds just a 6-point lead over Republican Bob Schaffer.

In North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, GOP incumbent and frontrunner Elizabeth Dole holds a mere 5-point lead in SurveyUSA’s August 9-11 poll of likely voters, while Libertarian Chris Cole is pulling down 7 percent. Cole’s candidacy may yet put the race in play for Democrat Kay Hagan.

In North Carolina’s open gubernatorial race, Republican Pat McCrory trails Democrat Beverly Perdue by 3 points, with Libertarian Mike Munger currently polling at 5 percent.

In the highly watched Oregon U.S. Senate race, GOP incumbent Gordon Smith has built a surprising double-digit cushion over Democrat Jeff Merkley according to the latest SurveyUSA poll (August 2-4), despite Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow netting an impressive 8 percent of likely voters. Smith was once considered a prized Democratic target, although the moderate Republican Senator has distanced himself early (and often) from President George W. Bush on the War in Iraq, which will earn him points in the Beaver State. Still, Republicans should worry that a strong Brownlow candidacy could tilt the race if it begins to narrow.

Democrats will be particularly interested in the next U.S. Senate poll conducted in Minnesota that includes the name of the Independence Party winner of the September 9th primary. The Independence Party vote is expected to be a drag on the candidacy of DFL-er Al Franken.

Previous post: Obama Support Falls To Lowest Mark Against McCain in Rasmussen’s Minnesota Polling
Next post: Number of Undecided Voters Increasing in Minnesota Senate Race

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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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