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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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Next post: House DFLers Head Into 2010 With Favorable Electoral Map

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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