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Tired of War: Minnesotans Not Shy About Changing Presidential Party During Wartime

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Now that Barack Obama has been inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, the question on the minds of many Minnesotans is: "How long do we wait for 'change?'" Obama's campaign for 'change' during the presidential primaries and general election took many forms, from the vague and intangible ('changing how politics is done') to policies that were somewhat more tangible - such as bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq as soon as possible.

Obama's stance on Iraq - especially his stated opposition to the war prior to the invasion in 2003 - played a very strong role in his defeat of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and a lesser role in defeating John McCain.

Although Minnesota has endured the 9th fewest deaths per capita during the Iraqi conflict (11.49 deaths per million residents), the majority of its residents are supportive of a timely withdrawing of U.S. troops. A mid-June 2008 Rasmussen poll, conducted nine months after U.S. troop deaths in Iraq had subsided to approximately 1/3 their peak level in 2007, still found that 57 percent of Minnesotans wanted the next president's most important goal to be to get the troops home as opposed to just 35 percent who wanted the next president to win the war.

A September 2008 Quinnipiac poll found a similar margin - 59 percent to 36 percent - who thought going to war with Iraq was the wrong thing to do as opposed to the right thing.

Minnesota's neighbors to the west, however, have borne a much larger brunt of deaths on the Iraqi battlefield - South Dakota (23.63 deaths per million residents) and North Dakota (21.82) rank as the 5th and 7th highest states respectively.

U.S. Armed Services Deaths in Iraq by State

Rank
State
Deaths
Deaths per capita
1
Vermont
20
32.19
2
Montana
26
26.88
3
Alaska
17
24.77
4
Nebraska
43
24.11
5
South Dakota
19
23.63
6
Wyoming
12
22.53
7
North Dakota
14
21.82
8
Arkansas
61
21.36
9
Oklahoma
73
20.04
10
Idaho
30
19.69
11
Louisiana
83
18.82
12
Oregon
70
18.47
13
Hawaii
23
17.85
14
New Mexico
35
17.64
15
Maine
23
17.47
16
Mississippi
51
17.36
17
New Hampshire
22
16.72
18
Texas
402
16.52
19
Kansas
46
16.42
20
Delaware
14
16.03
21
Virginia
124
15.96
22
Kentucky
68
15.93
23
Wisconsin
87
15.46
24
Michigan
154
15.39
25
Pennsylvania
191
15.34
26
Iowa
46
15.32
27
Ohio
173
15.06
28
Alabama
69
14.80
29
Arizona
95
14.61
30
Tennessee
90
14.48
31
Indiana
90
14.11
32
Missouri
81
13.70
33
Nevada
35
13.46
34
Washington
87
13.28
35
Georgia
128
13.22
36
Maryland
74
13.14
37
California
450
12.24
38
West Virginia
22
12.12
39
Colorado
59
11.94
40
South Carolina
53
11.83
41
Illinois
152
11.78
42
Minnesota
60
11.49
43
Rhode Island
12
11.42
44
North Carolina
98
10.63
45
Florida
184
10.04
46
Massachusetts
64
9.85
47
New York
183
9.39
48
New Jersey
75
8.64
49
Connecticut
30
8.57
50
Utah
22
8.04
Sources: data compiled from iCasualties.org and U.S. Census.

It has also been said - usually by supporters of the party in power - that it is risky to have a change of leadership during periods of war. The Gopher State, however, has voted to oust the political party in the White House in four of eight presidential elections held during wartime in the past century.

In addition to voting for Democrats Barack Obama in 2008 and John Kerry in 2004 while Republicans held the White House during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gopher State also voted Republican in 1952 while a Democrat was at the healm during the Korean War (with Harry Truman). Minnesota also narrowly rejected the leadership of Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the middle of World War I - with Republican Charles E. Hughes carrying the state by 0.1 percentage points.

On the flip side, Minnesota voted to maintain the political party controlling the White House during all three presidential elections held during the Vietnam War: voting Democratic in 1964 and 1968 and voting for Richard Nixon in 1972. In the midst of World War II the state also voted to keep Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in office in 1944 - just as they did 80 years prior for Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1864 during the Civil War.

Minnesota Presidential Political Party Vote Choice During Wartime

Year
War
Party in Power
Vote choice
MoV
2008
Iraq / Afghanistan
Republican
Democrat
(Barack Obama)
10.2
2004
Iraq / Afghanistan
Republican
Democrat
(John Kerry)
3.5
1972
Vietnam
Republican
Republican
(Richard Nixon)
5.5
1968
Vietnam
Democrat
Democrat
(Hubert Humphrey)
12.5
1964
Vietnam
Democrat
Democrat
(Lyndon Johnson)
27.8
1952
Korea
Democrat
Republican
(Dwight Eisenhower)
11.2
1944
World War II
Democrat
Democrat
(Franklin Roosevelt)
5.5
1916
World War I
Democrat
Republican
(Charles Hughes)
0.1
1864
Civil War
Republican
Republican
(Abraham Lincoln)
18.2



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2 Comments


  • Change will probably come slowly and gradually but at last it will come.

  • This is very sobering when you list these figures by State, it really hits home.

  • Leave a comment


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