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McCain / Palin Bounce Boosting Republicans Down the Ballot

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Whether it is the recency effect of the Republican National Convention, the personal narrative of the second half of John McCain’s acceptance speech, or, as suspected by Smart Politics, the selection of Sarah Palin to be McCain’s running mate, the McCain bounce which has been demonstrated nationally as well as in state polling is having the added benefit of giving GOP candidates a boost down the ballot.

For example, take two recent polls on the presidential and gubernatorial races by SurveyUSA in North Carolina and the State of Washington. In polling conducted after the RNC, momentum for the Republican gubernatorial candidates is taking place concurrent to McCain’s mini surge.

· In North Carolina, McCain has extended his lead over Obama from 4 points to 20 points from mid-August to today (SurveyUSA, September 6-8). In the state's open gubernatorial matchup, Democrat Beverly Perdue led Republican Pat McCrory by a 3-point margin in mid-August, but Perdue now trails McCrory by 8 points, 49 to 41 percent (SurveyUSA, September 6-8).

· In the state of Washington, McCain was down 7 points to Obama in August, and now trails by 4 points, 49 to 45 percent (SurveyUSA, September 5-7). Washington was home to the closest gubernatorial race in the country four years ago, and Republican challenger Dino Rossi now holds a statistically insignificant 48 to 47 percent lead in his rematch against Democratic incumbent Christine Gregoire (SurveyUSA, September 5-7). Rossi is up 3 points from nearly a month ago.

The internals of the SurveyUSA polls show one of the keys to the McCain/Republican bounce is – not surprisingly – among women. And what’s more interesting yet is this: both Republican challengers in these gubernatorial races are men running against female Democratic opponents.

In August, Obama led among women in North Carolina by a 48 to 46 percent margin; today, McCain leads 54 to 42 percent. In the gubernatorial race Democrat Perdue had led among women 52 to 38 percent in August, but now trails 46 to 45 percent to Republican McCrory.

In Washington, Obama led women by a 55 to 40 percent margin; today it stands at 49 to 44 percent. Democrat Gregoire had led women by a 54 to 44 percent margin in August, and is now even with Republican Rossi at 47 to 47 percent.

These polling numbers fly in the face of the stated positions of a number of commentators, bloggers, and academics who have protested that women could not possibly be swayed to vote for McCain because of Palin’s presence on the ticket (largely, because these pundits claim women would be voting ‘against their interests’).

The correlations above suggest otherwise, at least for the moment.

What these pundits and the political left have been slow to realize, or admit to themselves, is that many women (as well as men) are simply not that interested in politics or public policy. But they can be moved to vote or switch their fragile allegiances by major events; McCain’s selection of Palin was just such an event.

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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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