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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

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


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.


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