As electoral map gurus put forth their latest projections, here is one tidbit to consider: the major party nominee from the most populous home state has won nearly twice as many presidential elections in U.S. history (32) as the nominee with the smaller home state population (17). (On four occasions the two major nominees came from the same state (1904, 1920, 1940, 1944), and in three elections the winner ran unopposed (1789, 1792, 1820)). Barack Obama's home state of Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the nation at 12.8 million residents whereas presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts is #14 at 6.5 million according to the 2010 Census. This "larger home state advantage" has been even more pronounced over the past 120 years with the nominee coming from the more populous home state winning 19 of 26 contests since 1892 (73 percent). Add to the fact that Romney will probably emerge as the underdog to even win the Bay State this November, and it is unlikely the former governor will be chanting "home sweet home" as he watches the Massachusetts returns on Election Night.
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).
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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