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Will Paul Ryan Carry Wisconsin for the Romney Ticket?

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The last eight vice-presidential nominees from the Midwest have carried their home state dating back to 1944

wisconsinseal10.pngWith Mitt Romney narrowly leading Barack Obama in two polls (Rasmussen, Public Policy Polling) recently released in the State of Wisconsin since Badger State U.S. Representative Paul Ryan was chosen as his running mate, there has been much speculation as to whether Ryan can sustain this momentum and move the state to the GOP column this November.

These polls come on the heels of Obama previously enjoying an advantage over the former Massachusetts governor in all but a few of approximately two-dozen surveys conducted over the past year.

A Republican victory in the state would be huge: Wisconsin is tied with six other states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington) for the second longest current streak supporting Democratic presidential nominees at six cycles (1988-2008), behind only neighboring Minnesota (and the District of Columbia).

So what are the prospects of a Romney/Ryan ticket carrying Wisconsin this November?

A Smart Politics analysis of presidential election results since 1828 finds that presidential tickets have won only 53 percent of their VP's home states (55 of 103), although those VP nominees selected from the Midwest have won their home state the last eight times since 1944.

There have been 103 presidential tickets that have received Electoral College votes since the founding of the Democratic Party in the 1828 cycle.

Prior to Ryan, eight sitting U.S. House members were selected as running mates to presidential nominees, of which just three saw their ticket carry the VP nominee's home state:

· 1868: Republican Schuyler Colfax (Indiana) on Ulysses S. Grant's ticket.
· 1908: Republican James Sherman (New York) running with William Taft.
· 1932: Democrat John Nance Garner (Texas) on Franklin Roosevelt's ticket.

Another five vice-presidential nominees failed to propel their ticket to a home state victory:

· 1836: Whig Francis Granger (New York) on Willliam Harrison's ticket.
· 1864: Democrat George Pendleton (Ohio) running with George McClellan.
· 1876: Republican William Wheeler (New York) on Rutherford Hayes' ticket.
· 1964: Republican William Miller (New York) running with Barry Goldwater.
· 1984: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro (New York) as Walter Mondale's running mate.

Overall, vice-presidential nominees have helped their ticket win their home state just 53 percent of the time, although that number has increased in recent decades with 69 percent of vice-presidential nominees carrying the home state for their ticket since 1944 (25 of 36).

Midwestern VP picks have been particularly reliable in ensuring their home state lands in their party's column come Election Day.

Since 1944, presidential tickets have won the home states of Midwestern vice-presidential nominees 100 percent of the time, compared to just 61 percent for the 28 VP picks coming from the other three regions of the country.

The eight Midwestern VP nominees during this span prior to Paul Ryan are:

· 1944: Democrat Harry Truman (Missouri) with Franklin Roosevelt.
· 1944: Republican John Bricker (Ohio) with Thomas Dewey.
· 1964: Democrat Hubert Humphrey (Minnesota) with Lyndon Johnson.
· 1976: Republican Bob Dole (Kansas) with Gerald Ford.
· 1976: Democrat Walter Mondale (Minnesota) with Jimmy Carter.
· 1980: Democrat Walter Mondale (Minnesota) with Jimmy Carter.
· 1988: Republican Dan Quayle (Indiana) with George H.W. Bush.
· 1992: Republican Dan Quayle (Indiana) with George H.W. Bush.

The selection of Ryan on the GOP ticket marks the first time a Wisconsinite has been selected as a VP nominee in U.S. history.

Since 1828, New York has bred the largest number of VP nominees with 15, followed by Indiana with 11, Texas with six, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee with five, and California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania with four.

During this 184-year span, 18 states have yet to produce a VP nominee on a ticket earning Electoral College votes: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

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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

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

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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