Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Wisconsin Eyes Just Fourth Plurality Winner in GOP Primary Since 1912

Bookmark and Share

Republican primary and caucus victors have reached the 50 percent mark just six times in 29 contests in the 2012 cycle, down from 10 at this stage in 2008

wisconsinseal10.pngWhether or not Rick Santorum scores one of his patented 4-5 point surges in the closing day heading into the Wisconsin primary, the winner of Tuesday's high profile contest is probably not going to reach the 50 percent mark.

That, of course, would not be unusual for the 2012 cycle, with winners of just one-fifth of the 29 state primary and caucus contests held to date recording more than 50 percent of the vote: Nevada, Virginia, Idaho, and Massachusetts for Mitt Romney and Missouri and Kansas for Santorum.

That number is down from 2008, in which winners in 10 of the first 29 state contests emerged with a majority of the vote: Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Utah for Romney, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York for John McCain, and Kansas and Arkansas for Mike Huckabee.

At this point in the 2008 cycle, McCain had notched 50 percent of the vote in just three of the 12 states he had won, compared to four of 16 for Romney in 2012.

With four candidates still in the race - even with the pull on the electorate by Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich loosening - reaching 50 percent has been a challenge for both Romney and Santorum.

Then again, if one of the candidates had emerged as a consensus favorite in the voters' eyes, perhaps there would not be four candidates left in the race in the first instance.

As for Wisconsin, just three of the state's 25 previous GOP primary winners failed to reach the 50 percent mark, with Romney or Santorum slated to become the 4th in the 26th such contest Tuesday:

· In 1948, former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen defeated Douglas MacArthur by 5.4 points in the Badger State with just 39.4 percent of the vote.

· In 1952, Ohio U.S. Senator Robert Taft was victorious over California Governor Earl Warren by 6.8 points with 40.6 percent of the vote.

· In 1980, Ronald Reagan defeated George H.W. Bush by 9.8 points with 40.2 percent of the vote.

Only four other Wisconsin primary winners failed to reach the 60 percent mark: favorite son Robert La Follette in 1920 (52.8 percent), Gerald Ford in 1976 (55.2 percent), Bob Dole in 1996 (52.3 percent), and John McCain in 2008 (54.7 percent).

The GOP primary winner has averaged 75.6 percent of the vote in Wisconsin over the last 100 years, with an average victory margin of 59.3 points.

Romney reached 46.7 percent in his win in neighboring Illinois two weeks ago. Wisconsin and Illinois have voted for the same Republican White House hopeful in each of the last 11 electoral cycles dating back to 1968.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Will Rick Santorum Win 20 States?
Next post: Country Strong: Santorum Still Flexing His Muscles in Rural America

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting