A new SurveyUSA poll finds Michele Bachmann leading by single digits among likely voters against political novice and hotelier Jim Graves, 50 to 41 percent. Should Bachmann prevail by a similar margin on Election Day, it will continue a tradition for the three-term U.S. Representative. In 2008, Bachmann had the narrowest victory margin among successful Republican U.S. House incumbents at 3.0 points over DFLer Elwyn Tinklenberg. In 2010, her 12.7-point victory over Tarryl Clark gave her the sixth narrowest margin among victorious Republican incumbents. That margin was 29.1 points lower than the 41.8-point nationwide average for incumbent GOP winners for the cycle.
January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.
For each of the last 24 presidential elections since 1920, North and South Dakota have voted in unison - casting their ballots for the same nominee. For 21 of these cycles (including each of the last 12 since 1968) Republicans carried the Dakotas with just three cycles going to the Democrats (1932, 1936, and 1964). This streak stands in contrast to the first few decades after statehood when North and South Dakota supported different nominees in four of the first seven cycles. North Dakota narrowly backed Populist James Weaver in 1892 while South Dakota voted for incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison. In 1896, it was North Dakota backing GOPer William McKinley while South Dakota supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan by less than 200 votes. North Dakota voted Democratic in 1912 and 1916 supporting Woodrow Wilson while South Dakota cast its Electoral College votes for Progressive Teddy Roosevelt and Republican Charles Hughes respectively.
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