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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

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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