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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

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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