Exit polls found Mitt Romney winning over several key demographic groups in his defeat of Rick Santorum in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday, and they can perhaps best be summed up as follows: he dominated in the state's biggest Republican strongholds. John McCain carried 13 of Wisconsin's 72 counties in the 2008 general election, and Romney beat Santorum there by 19 points - 52.8 percent to 33.8 percent. (The 13 counties comprised 29 percent of the vote). In the other 59 counties won by Barack Obama, Santorum nearly drew even with Romney, losing by only 2.4 points - 40.6 to 38.2 percent. There may also have been greater Democratic mischief in these Obama counties as well as a tendency to vote for the underdogs: votes for Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and other candidates tallied 21.3 percent in Obama counties compared to just 13.4 percent in McCain counties.
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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