Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Wisconsin Poised to Extend Competitive Gubernatorial Election Streak

Bookmark and Share

Wisconsin is expected to join Rhode Island, Iowa, and Minnesota on Tuesday for the only states currently with four or more consecutive elections decided by single digits

scottwalker11.jpgWith virtually every public opinion poll on Wisconsin's recall election this year showing a single-digit lead for Scott Walker - some inside and some outside the poll's margin of error - Tuesday's gubernatorial race is almost assured to be another close race in the Badger State.

Over the last three gubernatorial elections Wisconsin ranks #5 in the nation for closest election results with an average margin of victory of just 5.6 points trailing only Minnesota (3.1 points), Oregon (4.1 points), Rhode Island (4.7 points), and Maine (5.1 points).

Wisconsin's inaugural Barrett vs. Walker matchup in 2010 was decided by 5.8 points after Democrat Jim Doyle won by 3.7 points in 2002 and 7.4 points in 2006.

The most recent public opinion poll found Walker ahead of Democratic challenger Tom Barrett by just three points - 50 to 47 percent.

If the race is decided by single digits, Wisconsin would join Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Iowa as the only states with at least four consecutive gubernatorial races decided by less than 10 points.

Rhode Island has a current streak of five such elections with its race for governor decided by single digits in 1994 (3.8 points), 1998 (8.8 points), 2002 (9.5 points), 2006 (2.0 points), and 2010 (2.5 points).

Minnesota and Iowa have seen their last four such contests decided by single digits.

Wisconsin has previously experienced similar periods of very competitive elections among the two major parties for its top executive post.

From 1855 to 1861, four consecutive elections were decided by single digits by an average of 3.9 points with Democrats winning in 1855 (0.2 points) and the GOP winning in 1857 (0.5 points), 1859 (6.6 points), and 1861 (8.4 points).

After a blowout Republican victory during the middle of the Civil War in 1863, the Badger State saw Republicans carry four more consecutive races by single digits in 1865 (9.4 points), 1867 (3.4 points), 1869 (6.3 points), and 1871 (6.4 points).

From 1881 to 1892, six consecutive races were decided by less than 10 points: Republicans won the first four in 1881 (7.0 points), 1884 (6.0 points), 1886 (6.5 points), and 1888 (5.7 points) with the Democrats claiming victory in 1890 (9.2 points) and 1892 (2.0 points).

But the most competitive stretch for gubernatorial races in state history occurred from 1954 though 1970 when nine consecutive contests were decided by single digits.

Republicans won in 1954 (3.1 points), 1956 (3.8 points), 1964 (1.2 points), 1966 (7.4 points), and 1968 (6.1 points) with Democrats winning in 1958 (7.3 points), 1960 (3.2 points), 1962 (1.0 points), and 1970 (9.3 points).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Could An Independent Swing Wisconsin's Gubernatorial Recall Election?
Next post: How Big will Barrett Score in Dane and Milwaukee Counties?

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