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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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Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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