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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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Political Crumbs

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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