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Smart Politics Projections: Federal Races in Wisconsin

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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 third projections in the series are federal races in the State of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: President.
John McCain has not led in a non-partisan public poll in Wisconsin since May. Wisconsinites have been breaking big for Obama during the past month, and so for just the third time since 1940, and for only the fifth time since statehood, a Democratic presidential nominee has a chance to win the Badger State by a double-digit margin. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold (from 2004).

Wisconsin: U.S. House-01.
Paul Ryan, who has recently criticized the McCain campaign, is a popular Republican figure in the 1st District who receives a significant crossover vote from Democrats. Ryan has not faced a competitive re-election campaign to date, and will return to D.C. for a sixth term. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold.

Wisconsin: U.S. House-02.
Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District is one of the most heavily Democratic in the state, which will help propel Tammy Baldwin to a large double-digit victory. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Wisconsin: U.S. House-03.
Elections in the 3rd Congressional District have been decided by less than 10 points just one time since 1982. That historical trend will not change in 2008 for 6-term Democratic incumbent Ron Kind. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Wisconsin: U.S. House-04.
Even if Democrat Gwen Moore was not the only major party candidate on the ballot, Republican candidates have only come within single-digits of beating a Democrat in the 4th District just one time since 1948. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Wisconsin: U.S. House-05.
Unchallenged by a major party candidate, stalwart conservative Jim Sensenbrenner will have yet another restful election night en route to his 16th term in Congress. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold.

Wisconsin: U.S. House-06.
All nine counties that are entirely contained within the 6th Congressional voted for George W. Bush in 2004 – and six of them by double-digit margins. Republican Tom Petri’s moderate Republican credentials in this conservative stronghold of the state will serve him well in today’s Democratic-friendly political environment. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold.

Wisconsin: U.S. House-07.
Obey is the elder statesman of Wisconsin politics and holds very prominent committee assignments in the U.S. House, which (along with 40 years building his name recognition) always makes him an attractive candidate to retain his seat – despite the fact that his district is not overwhelmingly Democratic. As a result, Obey will land another very large double-digit victory in 2008. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Wisconsin: U.S. House-08.
Steven Kagen’s seat is considered by D.C. pundits to be in the Top 10 to 15 most vulernable Democratic House seats this year. Though the 8th District is the easy favorite to be the most closely decided U.S. House contest in the Badger State, the 2008 edition of Gard vs. Kagen will not be as competitive as 2006. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

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).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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