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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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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