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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

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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