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Obama's New Stem Cell Policy Likely to Have Strong Support in Minnesota

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President Barack Obama's decision on Monday to permit federal funds for a greater spectrum of embryonic stem cell research is likely to be met with overwhelming support in the Gopher State, as well as the Upper Midwest generally.

Obama's directive overturns his predecessor's policy that limited the use of federal taxpayer dollars to simply the 21 stem cell lines that had been 'harvested' prior to former President George W. Bush's 2001 executive order.

Polling by SurveyUSA conducted on this issue just shy of 1.5 years ago (in October 2007), found more than twice as many Minnesotans supported stem cell research generally (63 percent) than those that opposed it (27 percent).

The results were quite similar in the neighboring states of Iowa (66 percent in support, 28 percent in opposition) and Wisconsin (64 percent in favor, 29 percent opposed).

Like the issue of abortion rights, partisan support for stem cell research finds Democrats overwhelmingly in favor of the policy, as well as a majority of independents. But opposition by Republicans tends to be slightly more muted than that on abortion, and, as a result, support for stem cell research across the political spectrum is a good shade stronger than that of abortion rights.

For example, in recent years notable Republican leaders like conservative Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and former First Lady Nancy Reagan lobbied the George W. Bush administration to permit federal funding of stem cell research. Hatch's rationale was that, "Stem cell research facilitates life...Abortion destroys life; this is about saving lives."

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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