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Could Pawlenty Win the Presidency Without Minnesota?

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(This report is the second installment in Smart Politics' 'Pathway to the White House' Series. The first report analyzed from what state presidents come).

A new Minnesota Poll released this week finds a majority of Gopher State residents opposed to a presidential bid by Governor Tim Pawlenty and a plurality of 43 percent saying there is 'no chance' they would cast their vote for him.

The Star Tribune finding that there is barely lukewarm support in Pawlenty's home state for him to seek the highest office in the land, comes as Pawlenty has been running a distant fifth or sixth in (very) early national GOP horserace polls behind more well-known potential candidates such as Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich.

While Pawlenty's support would likely grow nationwide once he launched an official candidacy (he launches his Freedom First PAC on Thursday), the new Minnesota Poll raises the question - could Pawlenty win the presidency without carrying his home state of Minnesota?

While it is still 2.5 years out from even the presidential primaries, the question is not a far-fetched one to consider from one perspective - a mid-September Rasmussen poll found half of Minnesotans to believe Pawlenty will win the GOP nomination should he run for President.

As analyzed by Smart Politics last week, no president has come from Minnesota to date, and only one has come from the Upper Midwest region (Herbert Hoover, from Iowa, in 1928).

Still, history has demonstrated that it is (nearly) a necessary though not a sufficient condition that presidential nominees must carry their home state if they wish to win the presidency.

A Smart Politics analysis of the 56 presidential elections since 1789 found that all but two presidents carried their home state en route to victory.

The first president to win the White House without his home state was Democrat James Polk in 1844. Polk lost Tennessee by just 123 votes to Kentucky's Henry Clay out of nearly 120,000 cast, but still defeated Clay 170-105 in the Electoral College vote.

Then, in 1916, Democratic incumbent Woodrow Wilson lost his home state of New Jersey by 11.7 points to New York GOPer Charles Hughes. Wilson had carried New Jersey by 7.6 points in 1912 over New Yorker Teddy Roosevelt.

That's the entire list.

As such, it does not appear that Pawlenty could have much success in 2012 if he fails to at least enlist Minnesotans among his supporters for such a bid.

Home State Presidential Vote for U.S. Presidents

Year
President
State
Won
Percent
MoV
2008
Obama
Illinois
Yes
61.9
25.1
2004
Bush
Texas
Yes
61.1
22.9
2000
Bush
Texas
Yes
59.3
21.3
1996
Clinton
Arkansas
Yes
53.7
16.9
1992
Clinton
Arkansas
Yes
53.2
17.7
1988
Bush
Texas
Yes
56.0
12.6
1984
Reagan
California
Yes
57.5
16.2
1980
Reagan
California
Yes
52.7
16.8
1976
Carter
Georgia
Yes
66.7
33.8
1972
Nixon
California
Yes
55.0
13.5
1968
Nixon
California
Yes
47.8
3.1
1964
L. Johnson
Texas
Yes
63.3
26.8
1960
Kennedy
Massachusetts
Yes
60.2
20.7
1956
Eisenhower
Pennsylvania
Yes
56.5
13.2
1952
Eisenhower
Pennsylvania
Yes
52.7
5.9
1948
Truman
Missouri
Yes
58.1
16.6
1944
F. Roosevelt
New York
Yes
52.3
5.0
1940
F. Roosevelt
New York
Yes
51.6
3.6
1936
F. Roosevelt
New York
Yes
58.9
19.9
1932
F. Roosevelt
New York
Yes
54.1
12.7
1928
Hoover
Iowa
Yes
61.8
24.2
1924
Coolidge
Massachusetts
Yes
62.3
37.4
1920
Harding
Ohio
Yes
58.5
19.9
1916
Wilson
New Jersey
No
42.7
-11.7
1912
Wilson
New Jersey
Yes
41.2
7.6
1908
Taft
Ohio
Yes
51.0
6.2
1904
T. Roosevelt
New York
Yes
53.1
10.9
1900
McKinley
Ohio
Yes
52.3
6.6
1896
McKinley
Ohio
Yes
51.9
4.8
1892
Cleveland
New York
Yes
49.0
3.4
1888
B. Harrison
Indiana
Yes
49.1
0.4
1884
Cleveland
New York
Yes
48.3
0.1
1880
Garfield
Ohio
Yes
51.7
4.7
1876
Hayes
Ohio
Yes
50.2
1.1
1872
Grant
Ohio
Yes
53.2
7.1
1868
Grant
Ohio
Yes
54.0
8.0
1864
Lincoln
Illinois
Yes
54.4
8.8
1860
Lincoln
Illinois
Yes
50.7
3.5
1856
Buchanan
Pennsylvania
Yes
50.1
18.1
1852
Pierce
New Hampshire
Yes
56.4
25.8
1848
Taylor
Louisiana
Yes
54.6
9.2
1844
Polk
Tennessee
No
50.0
-0.1
1840
W.H. Harrison
Ohio
Yes
54.1
8.5
1836
Van Buren
New York
Yes
54.6
9.3
1832
Jackson
Tennessee
Yes
95.4
90.8
1828
Jackson
Tennessee
Yes
95.2
90.4
1824
J.Q. Adams
Massachusetts
Yes
73.0
57.2
1820
Monroe
Virginia
Yes
---
---
1816
Monroe
Virginia
Yes
---
---
1812
Madison
Virginia
Yes
---
---
1808
Madison
Virginia
Yes
N/A
N/A
1804
Jefferson
Virginia
Yes
N/A
N/A
1800
Jefferson
Virginia
Yes
N/A
N/A
1796
J. Adams
Massachusetts
Yes
N/A
N/A
1792
Washington
Virginia
Yes
N/A
N/A
1789
Washington
Virginia
Yes
N/A
N/A
 
 
 
56.4
16.5

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2 Comments


  • Oh for crying out loud! The president is nine months into his first four-year term and you are already publishing stories like this. Can we please be without a presidential campaign -- and stories like these -- for about two years??????????

  • Yes, it sad how the mouth of the media needs to be fed. More web hits, more viewers, more eyes, more listeners, etc... It's all about the numbers and how they translate to advertising dollars. [with the exception of smart politics] No wonder the attention span of the media is about a nanosecond....

    Its kind of fun being in an indeterminate stage regarding what’s next. The real fun begins when they realize that they have nothing.

  • Leave a comment


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