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Pollster Interest in Minnesota Gubernatorial Race Only Up Slightly from 2006

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Even though three surveys have been released during the last week (by Rasmussen, the Star Tribune, and today's survey by Minnesota Public Radio / Humphrey Institute), pollster interest in the Gopher State's gubernatorial contest is about on par with what it was in 2006 at this stage of the election cycle.

There have been 14 non-partisan public polls released thus far in 2010 of the three-way race for the governor's office between DFLer Mark Dayton (pictured), Republican Tom Emmer, and Independence Party nominee Tom Horner: five by Rasmussen, four by SurveyUSA (KSTP-TV sponsored), three by MPR / Humphrey Institute, and two by the Star Tribune.

Back in 2006, there had been 12 such polls released through September of that year between Tim Pawlenty and DFLer Mike Hatch: six by Rasmussen, two by the Star Tribune, two by SurveyUSA, and one each by the Humphrey Institute and MPR / Pioneer Press. (Eight of these polls included IP candidate Peter Hutchinson).

The modest uptick in polling at this point in the campaign is a bit curious considering 2010 is an open-seat race with three viable candidates.

Of course, polls cost money, but even though many private news organizations are enduring tighter budgets as compared to four years ago, Star Tribune and KSTP-sponsored polls are actually up this cycle (six) compared to 2006 (four).

Other states, however, have seen a much more noticeable boost in public polling of their gubernatorial races.

For example, Georgia's open-seat governor's race has been polled 12 times in 2010 compared to just four times through September 2006 when Sonny Perdue ran for reelection.

Of course, there are still two more days left in September - more numbers on Minnesota's race could be coming down the chute soon.

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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

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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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