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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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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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