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Upper Midwestern Presidential Poll Roundup

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A deluge of public opinion polls has surfaced during the past week gauging voter preferences in the presidential race, particularly in the Upper Midwest – home to three of the nation’s classic battleground states.

In Minnesota, the three latest polls tell a similar story: John McCain has narrowed the double-digit deficit he faced from April through July down to a statistical tie. McCain had trailed Barack Obama by 10 points or more in 7 of 9 polls conducted between April 22 and July 22. But in three polls released in the past week to 10 days, McCain is tied or within two points:

· Big 10 Battleground: Obama 45%, McCain 43% (September 14-17, 610 RV)
· Minnesota Poll (Star Tribune): Obama 45%, McCain 45% (September 10-12, 1,106 LV)
· SurveyUSA: Obama 49%, McCain 47% (September 10-11, 734 LV)

The battle for the state of Wisconsin tells a similar story: Obama led McCain by double-digits in four consecutive polls from June to July, but McCain pulled to within just a few points in three polls released last week:

· Big 10 Battleground: Obama 42%, McCain 41% (September 14-17, 616 RV)
· Rasmussen: Obama 47%, McCain 46% (September 15, 700 LV)
· CNN / Time: Obama 49%, McCain 45%, Nader 3%, Barr 1% (September 13-14, 2008, 950 RV)

McCain has not led in a poll of Badger State voters since a May 5th Rasmussen survey. Obama has led in 17 of 21 polls dating back to November 2007.

Only in Iowa has Obama maintained the large leads he enjoyed earlier in the year in neighboring Wisconsin and Minnesota. McCain trails by 11 points or more in three of the four polls released during the past 10 days – all surveys of likely voters. In the one poll of registered voters, the race is a dead heat:

· SurveyUSA: Obama 54%, McCain 43% (September 17-18, 702 LV)
· Quad City Times / Research 2000: Obama 53%, McCain 39% (September 15-17, 600 LV)
· Big 10 Battleground: Obama 43%, McCain 42% (September 14-17, 643 RV)
· Iowa Poll (Des Moines Register): Obama 52%, McCain 40%, Barr 2%, Nader 1% (September 8-10, 616 LV)

Obama has led McCain in the Hawkeye State in all 26 public polls conducted since December 2006.

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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.


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