Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


MN U.S. Senate Elections Historically Uncompetitive in Presidential Election Years

Bookmark and Share

A Smart Politics study of the 22 U.S. Senate races held in the Gopher State since the union of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties in 1944 finds Senate contests held during presidential election years to be less competitive than those held in off years.

Since 1944, there have been 10 elections in which Presidential and U.S. Senate races were on the ballot in Minnesota (1948, 1952, 1960, 1964, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000). The average margin of victory in those Senate races has been a steep 17.3 points. The presidential contests during those years were far more competitive, with an average victory margin of 10.2 points.

In non-presidential election years, the margin of victory in Senate races drops 31 percent to 12.0 points. In fact, four of the last five Senate races in off years have been decided by 6 points or less: Dave Durenberger’s 6-point win in 1982, Paul Wellstone’s 2.6-point win in 1990, Rod Grams’ 5-point win in 1994, and Norm Coleman’s 2.2-point win in 2002. The only recent blowout was Amy Klobuchar’s 20.2-point victory in 2006.

However, despite the overall historical picture of non-competitive Senate races in presidential election years, Minnesota Senate races have been seeing smaller and smaller victory margins in recent years when the presidential ticket is also on the ballot.

· In 1976, Hubert H. Humphrey won his seat by 42.5 points.
· In 1984, Rudy Boschwitz won his second term by 16.8 points.
· In 1988, Dave Durenberger won his second term by 15.3 points.
· In 1996, Paul Wellstone won re-election by 9.0 points.
· In 2000, Mark Dayton unseated Rod Grams by a 5.5-point margin.

The 2008 matchup between Norm Coleman, Al Franken, and Dean Barkley appears to be continuing this trend of increased competitiveness: four of the last five polls conducted during the past month show the race within 4 points between Coleman and Franken.

Previous post: Why Isn’t Dean Barkley Derailing Al Franken's Candidacy?
Next post: Upper Midwestern Presidential Poll Roundup

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting