31 January 2016

Polling wrap-up, 15-31.01.2016, released directly before the Iowa caucuses

Just as I suspected, the last two weeks of January have brought a veritable blizzard of polling with them, more than any other two week period since I have been watching the 2016 polls, starting back in late 2013.  In this report are the results of at least 217 matchups from a bevy of polls. Of course, the bulk of state polling has been coming out of the great states of Iowa and New Hampshire, since they are the first two contests, but a great number of other states, including states that are barely polled at all, were polled. So, it has been an incredibly active two weeks.  On both the Republican and Democratic sides, I will have lots of analysis over both Iowa and New Hampshire, but there has also been some very interesting, often unexpected, internal data from the somewhat less "sexy" states. At the end of the D-vs-R polling I did a very long analysis of the electoral symbiosis between the upper Midwest states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. This could be an interesting read for people who like to see hard, cold facts in action.

 I will continue using this system of logging polling data until the March 15th primaries and then let's see if it's necessary after that point in time. Afterward, I will then start in with my now famous "Electoral Landscapes".

So, before I begin with the Republican side of things, here is a map of the USA with the 17 states that have been polled colored in a gold-orange color:


Most all of these states were polled for both parties and 8 of them were polled for D-vs-R matchups.
That makes for 4 western states, 5 southern states, 6 midwestern states and 2 NE-Acela states.

You can see that a large geographic area of the USA has been polled this time around and there is a certain consistency in the data on both sides, if you look closely enough. Big "FACIT:" at the end of this report.  Get your coffee and enjoy 217+ matchups!

GOP NOMINATION: NATIONAL POLLING

Benchmark/Trump's average from week two: Trump +19.75

1.) NBC /WSJ, released 17.01.2016: Trump +13
2.) NBC News, Survey Monkey, released 19.01.2016: Trump +17
3.) Morning Consult (R), released 19.01.2016: Trump +26
4.) Monmouth University, released 20.01.2016: Trump +19
5.) IPSOS-Reuters, released 22.01.2016:  Trump +24 (RRV + IRV, R-leaning), Trump +24 (RRV only), Trump +30 (IRV, R-leaning only)
6.) Zogby Analytics, released 22.01.2016: Trump +32
7.) FOX News Poll, released 22.01.2016: Trump +14

Week three average: Trump +20.71


8.) ABC/WAPO, released 26.01.2016: Trump +14
9.) CNN/ORC, released 26.01.2016: Trump +22
10.) NBC News / Survey Monkey, released 26.01.2016: Trump +22
11.) Morning Consult (R), released 26.01.2016: Trump +29
12.) Bloomberg/Purple Strategies, released 27.01.2016: Trump +20
13.) NRRI (National Public Religion Institute), released 27.01.2016: Trump +19
14.) IBD/TIPP, released 28.01.2016: Trump +10
15.) YouGov, released 31.01.2016: Trump +25

Week four average: Trump +20.12


Of all 15 national GOP nomination polls for the last two weeks of January, 2016, Trump won every single one, and big, too. Notice that his weekly averages barely budged. He is far ahead of where Mitt Romney was in polling at this stage in the process at the end of January, 2012. There is really not much more to say that that. With a +20 most all over the place, this pretty much guarantees Mr. Trump sweeps in virtually every congressional district and in most all counties, which is important in proportional primaries.

GOP NOMINATION: STATE POLLING

Alaska:
Ivan Moore / Alaska Dispatch, released 23.01.2016: Trump +4.1

Arizona:
MBQF Consulting, released 21.01.2016: Trump +22.7

Florida:
Opinion Savvy / Florida Times-Union / Fox 13 Tampa Bay, released 18.01.2016: Trump +12.3
FAU (Florida Atlantic University), released 20.01.2016: Trump +30.3
CBS / YouGov, released 24.01.2016: Trump +12.3
Average: Trump + 18.3

Georgia:
Opinion Savvy / Fox 5 Atlanta, released 18.01.2016: Trump +10
CBS / YouGov, released 24.01.2016: Trump +10
Average: Trump +10

Idaho:
Dan Jones and Associates / Idaho Politics, released 18.01.2016 (conducted 17-29.12.2015): Trump +11

Illinois:
Overtime Politics, released 18.01.2016: Trump +20

Iowa:
Monmouth College / KBUR / Douglas Fulmer & Associates, released 21.01.2016: Cruz +2
Loras College, released 21.01.2016: Trump +1.6
CNN/ORC, released 21.01.2016: Trump +11
Emerson College, released 21.01.2016: Trump +10.3
Week 3 average: Trump +4.98 (+5)

ARG, released, 25.01.2016: Trump +7
FOX News Poll, released 25.01.2016: Trump +11
Quinnipiac, released 26.01.2016: Trump +2
Iowa State/WHO-HD, released 26.01.2016: Cruz +6.9
Monmouth University, released 27.01.2016: Trump +7
NBC News / WSJ / Marist, released 28.01.2016: Trump +7
PPP (D), released 28.01.2016: Trump +8
Gravis (R) / OANN, released 29.01.2016: Trump +4
Des Moines Register / Bloomberg, released 30.01.2016: Trump +5
Opinion Savvy, released 31.01.2016: Trump +0.7
Emerson College, released 31.01.2016: Trump +1.8

Week 4 average: Trump +4.2


Maryland:
Gonzales Research, released 19.01.2016: Trump +16.9

Michigan:
FOX 2 / Mitchell, released 29.01.2016: Trump +36 (and over the 50% mark)

Minnesota:
Overtime Politics, released 20.01.2016: Trump +17
Mason-Dixon / Star Tribune, released 24.01.2016: Rubio +2
Average: Trump +7.5

New Hampshire:
ARG, released 19.01.2016: Trump +7
Gravis Marketing (R) / OANN, released 20.01.2016; Trump +20
CNN/UNH/WMUR, released 20.01.2016Trump +20

Week 3 average: Trump +15.7

Franklin Pierce University / Boston Herald, released 25.01.2016: Trump +19
FOX News poll, released 25.01.2016: Trump +17
ARG, released 26.01.2016: Trump +14
Emerson College, released 27.01.2016: Trump +17
Mason-Dixon/AARP, released 27.01.2016 (but taken from 12-16.01.2016): Trump +18
NBC News / WSJ / Marist, released 28.01.2016: Trump +19
Suffolk University, released 28.01.2016: Trump +14.4
Franklin Pierce U / Boston Herald, released 31.01.2016: Trump +25
CNN/UNH/WMUR, released 31.01.2016: Trump +18

Week 4 average: Trump + 17.93

North Carolina:

PPP (D), released 20.01.2016: Trump +22
Civitas (R), released 21.01.2016: Trump +4
Overtime Politics, released 25.01.2016: Trump +9
Average: Trump +11.7

Pennsylvania:
Franklin and Marshall, released 28.01.2016: Trump +10

South Carolina:
Opinion Savvy / Augusta Chronicle, released 16.01.2016: Trump +14.2
CBS / YouGov, released 24.01.2016: Trump +19
NBC News / WSJ / Marist, released 28.01.2016: Trump +16
Average: Trump +16.4

Texas:
CBS / YouGov, released 24.01.2016: Cruz +15

Utah:
SUSA / Salt Lake Tribune, released 17.01.2016: Cruz +1

Wisconsin:
Marquette Law School, released 28.01.2016: Trump +6

That makes for 50 GOP nomination polls from 17 states, or about 1/3 of the Union, where Trump has won 45 of 50 state polls, and most of those polls by very solid landslide margins. 15 of those polls are from Iowa and 12 or so are from New Hampshire; half of all the state polls came out of these two states combined. It is interesting to note that the margins from completely disparate pollsters, wide apart from each other on the political spectrum, released on the same day or within 1 day of each other, often show exactly the same margin. See: New Hampshire, both polls from 20.01.2016, or both polls from Georgia. In Iowa, the polling results are very disparate and from I have read in many of the poll internals, it has to do with the estimate of how big the caucus-going electorate will be in Iowa on Monday. Among experienced caucus-goers, Cruz does considerably better. Among brand new voters who say they intend to caucus on Monday, Trump does considerably better. So, this may be a case where turnout is more important than is often the case in a state where the front-runner has a large aggregate margin over the field.  If a lot of first-time caucusers don't show up, then Cruz may come out on top. If the floodgates open and there is an absolute record turnout in Iowa, then Trump is likely to win well, but the delegate delegation will be proportionally split no matter what.

Ted Cruz is landsliding in his home state of Texas. If Cruz loses IA badly to Trump, who knows if this margin will hold, but for now, Cruz is the prohibitive winner in the 2nd largest state in the Union. Cruz is also just barely ahead in Utah.  Rubio came in first in one Minnesota poll, but the aggregate still favors Trump. The newest Michigan poll is the first GOP state poll to show Trump over the 50 mark, and to hit that mark with such a large field is no small feat.

The biggest losers of the last two weeks, pollingwise, have been Bush (who is mostly down to 2-3% in much of this polling), Fiorina (who has all but disappeared) and Carson (who occasionally hits double digits, but then slumps all the way down to 4%.

13% appears to be the magic number for Marco Rubio - he comes in at 13% in many, many polls. It's almost eery.

Both the national and the state GOP polling point without a shadow of a doubt to Trump dominance almost everywhere. If he wins in IA and is likely to landslide in NH, he is also still ahead in SC but hasn't been polled much in NV - but if he wins all four, then I personally give him a 100% chance of being the Republican nominee in 2016.

You can find all of the toplines, margins, survey group sizes, MoE's and a great deal of internal data on the GOP polling HERE.



DEM NOMINATION: NATIONAL POLLING

Benchmark/Clinton average from week two: Clinton +17.16

1.) The Economist / YouGov, released 16.01.2016: Clinton +25
2.) NBC/WSJ, released 17.01.2016: Clinton +25
3.) Monmouth University, released 19.01.2016: Clinton +15
4.) NBC News, Survey Monkey, released 19.01.2016: Clinton +16
5.) Morning Consult (R), released 19.01.2016: Clinton +24
6.) The Economist / You Gov, released 19.01.2016 (conducted 09-11.01.2016): Clinton +25
7.) The Economist / YouGov, released 21.01.2016: Clinton +9
8.) IPSOS-Reuters, released 22.01.2016:  Clinton +11 (DRV +IRV, D-leaning), Clinton +19 (DRV only), Sanders +9 (IRV, D-leaning only)

Week three Average (without repeater): Clinton +19

9.) Zogby Analytics, released 24.01.2016: Clinton +22
10.) FOX News, released 25.01.2016: Clinton +12
11.) CNN/ORC, released 25.01.2016: Clinton +14
12.) NBC News / Survey Monkey, released 26.01.2016: Clinton +14
13.) Morning Consult (R), released 26.01.2016: Clinton +17
14.) ABC/WAPO, released 27.01.2016: Clinton +19
15.) NRRI (National Public Religion Institute), released 27.01.2016: Clinton +20
16.) IBD/TIPP, released 28.01.2016: Clinton +12
17.) YouGov, released 31.01.2016Clinton +12

Week four Average: Clinton +15.8

Of the 17 national Democratic nomination polls, Clinton has won all 17. Statistically, her margin average has gone down about 4 points. That being said, in most of the national polls, she is still over the 50 mark. Right now, Clinton (D) and Trump (R) are enjoying very similar aggregate margins at the national level. Her average in week 3 went over week 2 and then slipped some in week four.



DEM NOMINATION: STATE POLLING

Alaska:
Ivan Moore / Alaska Dispatch, released 23.01.2016: Clinton +3.1

Florida:
FAU (Florida Atlantic University), released 20.01.2016: Clinton +36.3

Idaho:
Dan Jones and Associates / Idaho Politics, released 18.01.2016 (conducted 17-29.12.2015): Clinton +3

Illinois:
Overtime Politics, released 18.01.2016: Clinton +11

Iowa:
Monmouth College / KBUR / Douglas Fulmer & Associates, released 21.01.2016: Clinton +9
CNN/ORC, released 21.01.2016: Sanders +8
Emerson College, released 21.01.2016: Clinton +9.3
Loras College, released 22.01.2016: Clinton +28.8
Mason-Dixon / AARP, released 22.01.2016: Clinton +7
Week 3 Average: Clinton +9.22

CBS/YouGov, released 24.01.2016: Sanders +1
ARG, released 25.01.2016: Sanders +3
FOX News Poll, released 25.01.2016: Clinton +6
Iowa State/WHO-HD, released 26.01.2016: Clinton +2
Quinnipiac, released 27.01.2016: Sanders +4
NBC News / WSJ / Marist, released 28.01.2016: Clinton +3
Monmouth University, released 28.01.2016: Clinton +5
PPP (D) / Progress Iowa, released 29.01.2016: Clinton +8
Gravis (R) / OANN, released 29.01.2016: Clinton +9
Des Moines Register / Bloomberg, released 30.01.2016: Clinton +3
Emerson College, released 31.01.2016: Clinton +8.0

Week 4 Average: Clinton +3.3


Maryland:
Gonzales Research, released 19.01.2016: Clinton +13.2

Michigan:
FOX 2 / Mitchell, released 29.01.2016: Clinton +27

Minnesota:
Overtime Politics, released 20.01.2016: Clinton +3
Mason-Dixon / Star Tribune, released 24.01.2016: Clinton +24
Average:  Clinton +13.5

New Hampshire:
ARG, released 19.01.2016: Sanders +6
CNN / UNH / WMUR, released 19.01.2016: Sanders +27
Gravis Marketing (R) / OANN, released 20.01.2016; Sanders +3
Suffolk University, released 22.01.2016: Sanders +8.6

Week 3 Average: Sanders +11.15

CBS News / YouGov, released 24.01.2016: Sanders +19
Franklin Pierce University / Boston Herald, released 25.01.2016: Sanders +16
FOX News poll, released 25.01.2016: Sanders +22
ARG, released 26.01.2016: Sanders +7
Emerson College, released 27.01.2016: Sanders +8
Mason-Dixon/AARP, released 27.01.2016 (but taken from 12-16.01.2016): Sanders +25
NBC News / WSJ / Marist, released 28.01.2016: Sanders +19
Franklin Pierce U / Boston Herald, released 31.01.2016: Sanders +20
CNN/UNH/WMUR, released 31.01.2016Sanders +23

Week 4 Average: Sanders +17.7

North Carolina:

PPP (D), released 20.01.2016: Clinton +33
Civitas (R), released 27.01.2016: Clinton +25
Overtime Politics, released 25.01.2016: Clinton +35
Average: Clinton +31

Ohio:
PPP (D), for the Ohio Democratic Party, released 19.01.2016: Clinton +16
Overtime Politics, released 29.01.2016: Clinton +5
Average: Clinton +10.5

Pennsylvania:
Franklin and Marshall, released 28.01.2016: Clinton +16

South Carolina:
CBS / YouGov, released 24.01.2016: Clinton +10
NBC News / WSJ / Marist, released 28.01.2016: Clinton +37
Average: Clinton +23.5

Utah:
SUSA / Salt Lake Tribune, released 17.01.2016: Clinton +22


Wisconsin:
Marquette Law School, released 28.01.2016: Clinton +2


That makes for 47 DEM nomination polls from 15 states, where Clinton has won 30 of 47 state polls, and most of those polls by very solid landslide margins. Bernie Sanders, however, has completely dominated all 13 New Hamshire polls and his margin aggregate also grew from week 3 to week 4. He is on course to easily win the state, no doubt about it.

Now, a lot of chatter has been about Iowa, but actually, Clinton has still won most of the Iowa polls and the latest of them show her still ahead. The story of Clinton vs. Sanders in Iowa is similar to that of Trump vs. Cruz on the Republican side in terms of expected turnout and clientele: experienced caucus goers tend much more strongly toward Clinton, while first-time caucus goers tend more toward Sanders. What remains to be seen is what the turnout will actually be.

There is a new pollster on the scene, whom I have mentioned sporadically: Overtime Politics. This time around, we have a chance to compare the new firm's results with that of other more established pollsters and the results are somewhat conflicting. In both Minnesota and Ohio, Overtime Politics shows Clinton just barely ahead of Sanders, while a more established pollster shows her leading by a much larger margin. Rather than passing judgement, I will just say that every polling firm goes through a learning phase and only G-d himself knows how fickle survey respondents can be. The margin difference between Overtime Politics and Mason-Dixon is 24 points and the two polls were released four days apart from each other. That being said, Mason-Dixon does not necessarily have a good record for accuracy. In Ohio, the margin difference between Overtime Politics and PPP (D), undoubtedly the best pollster of 2012, is 11 points, still way too much for my taste. Considering how favorable the Ohio electorate, in both primaries as well as in general elections, has been to the name Clinton, I tend to think that PPP is closer to reality in this case. Wait and see. Also interesting to note is that two respected pollsters show identical margins for Clinton in both Ohio and Pennsylvania: +16. She won both states over Obama in 2008 by about +8, so the electoral behavior of both states shows a correlation both at the national level and also at the primary level.

Referring to both the Republican and Democratic sides, the Ivan Moore poll from Alaska is interesting to see in that in both cases, it shows a tight race. Though not necessarily the gold standard for Alaska, Ivan Moore is a known pollster for our most far flung state. In 2012 itself, Alaska was not polled, not even once. And in 2011, for the 2012 election, Alaska was only polled once, by Hays Polling (also a known element in that state), but in 2008, Alaska was polled a number of times but many of those results show a mathematical bias to the Left. So, no wonder that Sanders is doing well in Alaska, at least in this poll. Wait and see.

I find it very interesting to note that the Clinton margins over Sanders in Utah and Idaho (states that are almost never polled, ever) are so incredibly different from each other. Both of those states gave Obama big margins in the 2008 primaries, and of course, went handily for the Republican nominee in November.  We are talking about 2 of the 4 deepest core-states within the GOP electoral column.

You can find all of the toplines, margins, survey group sizes, MoE's and a great deal of internal data on the DEM polling HERE.



D vs. R matchups: NATIONAL POLLING

NBC/WSJ, released 17.01.2016: 4 matchups, 2 Clinton vs. GOP, 1 Sanders vs. Trump: the DEMS win all four.

Morning Consult (R), released 19.01.2016: 6 Clinton vs. GOP matchups: she ties Carson, wins the other five.

Morning Consult (R), released 21.01.2016: (special poll series) 3 3-way-polls with Bloomberg as the Independent: Clinton barely loses to Trump, wins the other two.

-and-

Morning Consult (R), released 24.01.2016: (special poll series) 3 3-way-polls with Sanders against the same 3 GOPers and Bloomberg as the Independent. Sanders easily wins all three.

Morning Consult (R), released 26.01.2016: 6 Clinton vs. GOP matchups: she wins all 6 easily, by between +5 and +8. A reminder: Morning Consult is a Republican pollster.

Zogby Analytics, released 27.01.2016: 14 matchups, 7 Clinton vs. GOP and 7 Sanders vs. GOP. The DEMS win 13 of the 14 matchups, the exception being a tie between Clinton and Trump.

IPSOS/Reuters special poll, released 28.01.2016: to the best of my knowledge (since the article appears incomplete), 1 Sanders vs. Trump poll, 1 Sanders vs Trump vs Bloomberg poll and 2 Clinton 3-way-polls, with Bloomberg again as the independent. The Democrats win all four polls.

38 national matchups.

On the national level, in D-vs-R polling we see a real pick-up for the D candidates and across the line, Bernie Sanders does better against the GOP than Clinton. But better now does not guarantee better later. Wait and see.

D vs. R matchups: STATE POLLING

Florida:
FAU (Florida Atlantic University), released 20.01.2016: 7 matchups, 4 Clinton vs. GOP, 3 Sanders vs. GOP. 1 mathematical tie, 1 near mathematical tie, 1 Clinton win (against Cruz), 3 GOP wins. Narrow margins all the way around. Battleground state.

Idaho:
Dan Jones and Associates / Idaho Politics, released 18.01.2016 (conducted 17-29.12.2015): a rarity to get a poll from this state. 4 Clinton vs. GOP matchups, the GOP wins all 4, by between +18 and +22. Idaho is usually a +35 GOP state.  These margins are under par.

Michigan:
FOX 2 / Mitchell, released 29.01.2016: 1 matchup: Trump beats Clinton by +3. Mitchell has a bad track record in MI for being off to the Right by 4-6 points very consistently, so this poll does not surprise me.

Minnesota:
Mason-Dixon / Star Tribune, released 24.01.2016: 4 matchups, 2 Clinton vs. GOP, 1 Sanders vs. Trump. Clinton loses to Rubio and Cruz, beats Trump. Sanders beats Trump by 16 points. Minnesota is currently a 10-for-10 D state at the presidential level, all the way back to 1976. It is more left-leaning that Wisconsin or Michigan in terms of ideology and so I am not surprised to see Sanders doing better here than Clinton. Analysis below.

New Hampshire:
CNN/UNH/WMUR, released 20.01.2016: 10 matchups, 5 Clinton vs. GOP, 5 Sanders vs. GOP: Clinton barely loses 1, ties 1, wins three. Sanders wins all 5 easily.

Emerson College, released 27.01.2016: 2 3-way polls, Clinton or Sanders vs. Trump vs. Bloomberg (I). The Ds win both matchups. Sanders does better than Clinton.

North Carolina:
PPP (D), released 20.01.2016: 12 matchups, 5 Clinton vs GOP, 5 Sanders vs. GOP, 2 3-way matchups with Bloomberg (I) in the mix. The Republicans win all 12 matchups, but the margins are very close. Bush and Trump beat Clinton or Sanders by only 1 or 2 points, so this state is still very much a battleground state. Just to remind: Bush (43) won North Carolina in both 2000 and 2004 by between +13 and +15. The GOP is not running away with this state and will again have to fight to keep it in the GOP column.

Utah:
Utah Policy Poll / Dan Jones and Associates, released 16.01.2016: also a rarity poll from a state we almost never see polled. 4 matchups, all Clinton vs. GOP. The GOP wins all 4, of course, but the margins for 3 of those candidates is between +25 and +29. Trump, however, only comes in at +5 over Hillary. That is an important data point for a state that is traditionally a GOP +40 state and statistically has been the no. 1 Conservative state in the union for 13 of the last 15 presidential cycles. No Republican should ever be posting a single digit polling win in this state, ever. And, as is the case with Idaho, the GOPers (Bush, Rubio, Cruz) who are whalloping Clinton (as they should be in this particular state) are all showing margins way under par for Utah. There is just no getting around this statistically provable fact. Romney just won Utah by +48 in 2012. Bush won Utah by +42 and +45 in 2000 and 2004. Reagan won Utah by over +50 at least once. We are talking about astronomical margins.  The only times that the GOP has won this state with +27 or less have been the cycles where the Democrat won nationally, all the way back to 1968.

Wisconsin:
Marquette Law School, released 28.01.20166 matchups, 3 Clinton vs. GOP, 3 Sanders vs. GOP. The D's win all 6 matchups, but by varying margins: Clinton wins by between +1 (over Rubio) to +9 (over Trump). Sanders wins by between +11 (over Rubio) and a staggering +18 (over Trump). Obama won Wisconsin by +14 in 2008 and by +7 in 2012, so Hillary's Trump margin is better than Obama's 2012 performance and Sanders margin is better than either 2012 or 2008.Were this Sanders number to hold (it won't, but just for theory's sake), then this would be the highest Wisconsin margin for either party since 1964.

50 state D-vs-R matchups.

In the state polling, I see early warning signs for both parties: for the GOP in Idaho and Utah and for the DEMS in both Minnesota and in Michigan, but not in Wisconsin.  Interesting to note is that, in spite of a huge amount of Iowa primary polling for both parties, none of those polls did D-vs-R matchups.  It was good to see polling out of Minnesota and Wisconsin in the same time-frame, for those states have an electoral symbiosis with each other, also somewhat with Michigan. Let me demonstrate this:

1960:
Michigan: Kennedy +2.01
Minnesota: Kennedy +1.43
Wisconsin: Nixon +3.72
M-W diff: Minnesota +5.15

1964:
Michigan: Johnson +33.61
Minnesota: Johnson +27.76
Wisconsin: Johnson +24.35
M-W diff: Minnesota +3.41

1968:
Minnesota: Humphrey +12.53
Michigan: Humphrey +6.73
Wisconsin: Nixon +3.62 (Humphrey -3.62)
M-W diff: Minnesota +16.15

1972:
Minnesota: Nixon +5.51 (McGovern -5.51)
Wisconsin: Nixon +9.67 (McGovern -9.67)
Michigan: Nixon +14.39 (McGovern -14.39)
M-W diff: Minnesota +4.16

1976:
Minnesota: Carter +12.87
Wisconsin: Carter +1.68
Michigan: Ford +5.39 (Carter -5.39)
M-W diff: Minnesota +11.19

1980:
Minnesota - Carter +3.94
Wisconsin - Reagan +4.72 (Carter -3.94)
Michigan - Reagan +6.49 (Carter -6.49)
M-W diff: Minnesota +8.66

1984:
Minnesota - Mondale +0.18
Wisconsin - Reagan +9.18
Michigan -  Reagan +18.99
M-W diff: Minnesota +9.36

1988:
Minnesota - Dukakis +7.20
Wisconsin - Dukakis +3.60
Michigan - Bush (41) +7.90 (Dukakis -7.90)
M-W diff: Minnesota +3.60 (exactly double the Wisconsin margin)

1992:
Minnesota - Clinton +11.63
Michigan - Clinton +7.40
Wisconsin - Clinton +4.35
M-W diff: Minnesota +4.23

1996:
Minnesota - Clinton +16.14
Michigan - Clinton +13.21
Wisconsin - Clinton +10.33
M-W diff: Minnesota +2.93

2000:
Michigan - Gore +5.13
Minnesota - Gore +2.40
Wisconsin - Gote +0.22
M-W diff: Minnesota +2.18

2004:
Minnesota - Kerry +3.48
Michigan - Kerry +3.42
Wisconsin - Kerry +0.38
M-W diff: Minnesota +0.06 (for all intents and purposes, identical results)

2008:
Michigan - Obama +16.44
Wisconsin - Obama +13.90
Minnesota - Obama +10.34
M-W diff: Wisconsin +3.56

2012:
Michigan - Obama +9.47
Minnesota - Obama +7.69
Wisconsin - Obama +6.94
M-W diff: Minnesota +0.75

You can see the margins for all three of these states going back 14 cycles, to 1960. That makes for 42 historical margins in three neighboring states in the upper Midwest. 31 of those 36 margins are "blue", meaning that a Democrat won. 11 of those margins are "red", indicating that a Republican won.  The year is marked also in bold and with a color corresponding to the national winner. The margins are listed from "left" to "right" (politically speaking), meaning, from the higher margin for a Democrat to the lower margin, and of course, crossing over the line, starting with the lowest margin for a Republican to his highest margin.

You can see that the state of Minnesota,one  of the 3 "triplet" states here, has been at the top of this list in 9 out of 14 cycles, and interestingly enough, where it has not been on top has been in the first 2 and the last 2 cycles, plus 2000.

In those nine instances, this automatically means that the margin in Wisconsin was more to the Right than the margin in Minnesota, making Minnesota, statistically speaking and in terms of historical electoral performance, the more liberal state (I once did a similar study between Ohio and Pennsylvania, also with fascinating results). And in 1960, 1964, 2000 and 2012, although Minnesota was not the no. 1 state on this list, it was the number two state, and Wisconsin as still "under" it, or had a margin slightly less liberal than Minnesota's margin. The only year in the last 66 years where Wisconsin posted a larger winning margin for a Democrat than Minnesota was in: 2008. So, in 13 of 14 cycles, Minnesota has been the more "liberal" state. Now, look under each group of margins and you will see "M-W diff:" - this stands for the exact difference in the margin between Minnesota and Wisconsin for each of those 12 cycles.

We see that between 1960 and 1988 (28 years), Minnesota was between +3.41% and +16.15% to the Left of Wisconsin, with those two extremes right next to each other, in 1964 and 1968, respectively. But as of 1992, that changed. Excepting 2008, where Wisconsin came in to the Left of Minnesota, Minnesota was between +0.06 and +4.23% to the Left over Wisconsin. You may ask why the difference is so extreme from 1976 to 1984. Well, the answer is simple: A Minnesotan (Walter Mondale) was on the ballot for the Democrats in all three of those cycles, twice as the Vice-Presidential candidate, once as the Presidential candidate. Similarly, Humphrey's presence on the ballot in 1968 as presidential candidate in a very tumultuous year led to a landslide in his home state, but a defeat in neighboring Wisconsin. In fact, over 66 years, they went for the same candidate, either D or R, in 11 of those 14 cycles, the exceptions being 1968, 1980 and 1984.

Let's assume that the average person begins to actually think about a presidential election starting at the age of 12-16. So, this would mean that the statistics that I just provided would resonate with every person born as of 1944 or earlier - so we are talking about the 70+ crowd in the United States being very familiar with seeing this phenomenon in the Upper Midwest. And at least most adults are very familiar with some aspect of all of this since 1988, I would guess. So, but bulk of these stats are going to cause anyone 40 and over to perk up and go - "hmmmmmmmmmm......"

Please also note that Minnesota has only gone for a Republican in 1 of the last 14 presidential cycles, going all the way back to 1960, and Nixon needed +23 point win nationally to pull Minnesota "across the line" in 1972. Minnesota was then Pres. Nixon's leanest winning margin of 1972. And Minnesota  (+DC) was the only state in the Union to resist the massive Reagan landslide of 1984.

For this reason, when I hear Republicans speculating about winning Minnesota, all I have to do is to point to the data doing back 66 years to show that in the case of Minnesota, it is easier said that done. Many a poll in the last 66 years has shown a Republican to be competitive in Minnesota, only to find that the Democrat won on election night. Many political scientists call Minnesota "Fool's Gold' for the GOP.

Now, as to Michigan, it was once a much more Republican leaning state and we see that from 1968 through 1996, it was always at the bottom of this list of three. In the incredibly close Gore-vs-Bush race of 2000, Gore exceeded the polling averages. Knowing that before 2000, no Republican had ever won the White House without Michigan in his electoral column, the Bush 43 campaign was very determined to pull Michigan over to Team-Red in 2004, but to no avail. Even against an incumbent President with extremely high approval ratings vis-a-vis the Iraq war (at that time), Bush was unable to shake Michigan from the Democratic electoral tree. George W. Bush (43) therefore sets an electoral record as being the only Republican president to have never won Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois or Pennsylvania even once. His sucessful 2004 re-election without these states is proof-positive that the electoral landscape really did shift in 1992 and would then again shift in 2008.

And in 2008, with the election of Pres. Obama, Michigan became once again a Democratic landslide state and jumped to the top of this list of three.

Now, right now, I am see very conflicting polling in these three states: Wisconsin is posting the best results overall for the Democrats, some very weird numbers have been coming out of Minnesota and the same old game of extremely conservative leaning pollsters posting Republican friendly results in Michigan has already started.

But as ever, when it comes to the numbers, I remain neutral. Were Trump to actually win Minnesota, of all states, then this could only mean a massive national landslide for him. The national numbers do not show this at this time. Then again, demographic shift in the USA means that more and more people are moving from the snowbelt states (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, for example) to the sunbelt states, which is also accounting for why Florida has now become a hotly contested battleground. The people left behind in those snowbound states tend to be older, and many older people tend to be more conservative, so maybe we are seeing a tendency in the Upper Midwest toward purple-red, but it hasn't manifested itself in an election yet. Wait and see.

So, in two completely different parts of the USA (upper Midwest, West/Big Sky states), we are seeing some polling numbers that can cause the eyebrows to raise some.

You can find all of the toplines, margins, survey group sizes, MoE's and a great deal of internal data on the D-vs-R polling HERE.

As for Iowa, I am making no hard and fast predictions. Polling shows that both Trump and Clinton are a nose ahead in their respective races, but it really is a two-person race within both parties and caucuses are notoriously unpredictable. As of Tuesday, we should at least have a good idea who won on each side.

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