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Smart Politics Projections: Federal Races in Iowa

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Through November 3rd, Smart Politics will be running a series of electoral projections for Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The first projections in the series are federal races in the State of Iowa.

Iowa: President.
Barack Obama has never trailed John McCain in three-dozen non-partisan polls taken of Iowans dating back to December 2006. Iowa has temporarily shed its battleground state status in this election cycle, with Obama seeking to register the second largest Democratic victory in a presidential race in Iowa since 1936, and the third largest Democratic victory in Hawkeye State history. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Pick-up (from 2004).

Iowa: U.S. Senate.
Tom Harkin has enjoyed approval ratings above 50 percent in nearly four-dozen public opinion polls conducted this decade – with ratings averaging in the mid-50s during the past year. While not quite as popular as his Republican counterpart Charles Grassley, Harkin will breeze to his fifth consecutive Senate victory by double-digits. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-01.
Bruce Braley has more than the incumbency advantage on his side in his first defense of his U.S. House seat. Braley’s 1st Congressional District has been a strong supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential bid throughout his campaign, which should give the freshman Representative an additional boost down the ticket. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-02.
If popular, moderate 15-term GOP incumbent Jim Leach could not defeat David Loebsack in 2006, it is hard to imagine what Republican candidate would stand a better chance against Loebsack this year, given the current political environment. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-03.
Having captured and held the 3rd Congressional District (and the lone Democratic seat) during the height of the Republican Party’s popularity in the Hawkeye State in the mid- and late 1990s, Blue Dog Democrat Leonard Boswell will do his part to insure Iowa will send a Democratic majority-led congressional delegation back to D.C. for a second consecutive session for the first time since 1974-1976. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-04.
The north-central region of the Hawkeye State has voted Republican in U.S. House contests in each race for the last two decades, and provided Tom Latham with six consecutive double-digit victories. Representing the more vulnerable of Iowa’s two Republican-held House seats, should a Democratic landslide take place on November 4th, Latham will nonetheless return to D.C. for an eighth term. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-05.
Steve King represents the most conservative and reliably Republican district in the Hawkeye State: in 2004, George W. Bush carried 27 of the 28 counties comprising the 5th District. King’s return to D.C. for a 4th term will continue the streak of at least one Republican representing Iowa in the U.S. House in every year since 1856. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold.

Previous post: Humphrey Institute / MPR Poll: Franken and Coleman in Tight Race
Next post: Smart Politics Projections: Federal Races in South Dakota

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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