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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

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

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Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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