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McCain in 2008 Well Ahead of Bush’s 2004 Pace in Minnesota

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The new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll of the presidential race finds John McCain performing markedly better than George W. Bush did in the Gopher State in nearly identical surveys conducted four years apart.

In the new Strib survey, conducted September 10-12 of 1,106 likely voters, McCain is tied with Barack Obama at 45 percent (similar to SurveyUSA’s new poll of 734 likely voters, which has Obama up 49 to 47 percent).

Four years ago, the Star Tribune poll of 1,035 likely voters, conducted September 7-13, 2004, found John Kerry leading President Bush by a 46 to 39 percent margin.

What is noteworthy about McCain’s current poll numbers in the Gopher State is not simply that they are earned in a much tougher political environment for a Republican nominee than in 2004, but that they are growing in the midst of a much tighter national race than Bush faced at this time four years ago.

In the latest Gallup national tracking poll (conducted September 11-13), McCain is in a statistical tie with Obama, leading 47 to 45 percent among registered voters.

However, Gallup’s mid-September poll back in 2004 (conducted September 13-15) found Bush with an 8-point lead over Kerry, 52 to 44 percent among registered voters (and 55 to 42 percent among likely voters).

In other words, when Gallup polled Bush at 52 percent nationally in 2004, he was only polling at 39 percent by the Star Tribune in Minnesota; four years later, when Gallup polls McCain nationally at just 47 percent, the Star Tribune measures the Arizona Senator’s support statewide to be at 45 percent.

Whether McCain’s boost in the Gopher State is due to the the Palin Effect, residual good will from the home state Republican National Convention, or just a natural tightening of the race in a battleground state, his performance against Obama is particularly noteworthy vis-à-vis Bush’s position back in 2004.

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Remains of the Data

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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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