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Wisconsin Votes Democratic By Larger Margin Than Minnesota for First Time in 72 Years

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Barack Obama’s sweep through most of the Midwest on Tuesday night was perhaps most notable for his victory in Indiana. But there were other historical oddities with Obama’s victory that occurred in the region, one of which was that, for the first time since 1936, a Democratic presidential nominee had a stronger performance in Wisconsin than in Minnesota.

For the past 17 elections, Minnesota voters have always backed Democratic candidates for President by a larger margin than Badger State voters – in victory or in loss. But this year, Obama carried Wisconsin by 13.1 points, and Minnesota by 10.2 points – a 2.9 stronger performance in Wisconsin.

In five of the 17 years (1948, 1952, 1956, 1968, 1976) Minnesota has been at least 11 points stronger than Wisconsin on the Democratic side of the ticket. In recent years, however, the gap has narrowed – with less than a 6-point difference in four of the last five presidential contests. Overall, Democrats had carried a 7.6-point advantage in Minnesota in presidential elections compared to Wisconsin during this span.

This result in 2008 was not an Election Day aberration, however. Minnesota was polling slightly more competitive than the Badger State for much of the election cycle –at first, perhaps buoyed by speculation that Governor Tim Pawlenty would be John McCain’s running mate. On Election Day, McCain perhaps also got a slight boost by having a strong and fairly well-regarded Republican running just below him on the ticket (Norm Coleman).

Historical Democratic Advantage in Minnesota Over Wisconsin in Presidential Races
2004: 3.1 points
2000: 2.2
1996: 5.8
1992: 7.2
1988: 3.4
1984: 9.4
1980: 8.6
1976: 11.3
1972: 4.2
1968: 16.1
1964: 3.4
1960: 5.2
1956: 16.2
1952: 11.1
1948: 12.9
1944: 7.3
1940: 2.0

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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