US Election 2012: Election Nerds Unite!

So tonight’s the night that hundreds of political hacks, opinion makers and general election nerds all over the world, stay up or get up early to see what happens in an election that they have no influence over, but arguable has the most effect on them outside of their own national elections, the US Presidential Election. So whats the story?

Well if you haven’t taken a nap, I hope you have tomorrow off because it will be a long night. The first polls begin to close at 2300 GMT in Kentucky and Indiana and the last poll closes at 0500 GMT (Wed) in Alaska.

But these arent the important ones. The battle ground states polls close as follows:

  • Virgina 0000 GMT
  • North Carolina 0030 GMT
  • Ohio 0030 GMT
  • Florida 0100 GMT
  • New Hampshire 0100 GMT
  • Pennsylvania 0100 GMT
  • Colorado 0200 GMT
  • Wisconsin 0200 GMT
  • Iowa 0300 GMT
  • Nevada 0300 GMT

Each state should be called based on exit polls and early results soon after.  So we should have an idea who will win between 0300 and 0500, as I said it will be a long night.

Is it just about Obama, Romney, the popular vote and the electoral college (there is a lot written about those elsewhere so I wont bother). Well it mainly is but there is plenty else going on 11 State Governors, 33 Senate Seats and all of the 435 seats in House of Representatives.

Some interesting races here to watch including can Scott Brown hold his Senate seat from Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Will Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana two Republicans who made bad statements on rape manage to get elected? Will Tammy Baldwin a Democrat in Wisconsin become the first open Lesbian in the Senate? Connecticut too has an interesting race with Linda McMahon (yes her from the wrestling) trying to win a seat and has spent a lot of her own money. It is highly unlikely that the Republicans will gain control of the senate, but will Democrats increase their control? Also will Maine elect independent candidate and former Governor Angus King?

In the House it is expected that the Republicans will retain control, but will Michelle Bachmann retain her seat in the Minnesota 6th? The Californian 30th, 31st and 44th  are also interesting thanks to redistricting and Open Primaries. The 30th sees two incumbent Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman battle it out. The 31st sees Republican Incumbent Gary Miller take on a Republican challenger Bob Dutton. While the 44th again sees two Democratic Incumbents Laura Richardson and Janice Hahn fight for a seat

In terms of ballot measures, four states are voting on Marriage Equality. Maine, Maryland and Washington are voting to allow Marriage Equality while Minnesota is voting on the definition of  Marriage (between a Man and a Woman).  Arkansas is voting on Medical Marijuana and Colorado, Oregan and Washington is voting on legalising it, while Montana is voting on banning Medical Marijuana. California is voting to ban the Death Penalty and to Increase Taxes to pay for education. Florida is voting to Limit Obamacare (as is Montana and Wyoming) and also on limiting public funds to abortion.

A long but interesting night ahead, and one which will show how Americans are moving on some interesting questions. Enjoy fellow elections nerds!

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US Midterm Elections

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So Tuesday is the first electoral test faced by President Obama, since his election in 2008. That year also saw much celebration by the Democrats as they won many seats in the Senate and House of Representatives as well as a number of state houses. This year that could change. The Republicans look set to win a number of Senate and House seats, this could be because of or despite of the Tea Party.

Senate

There are a number of very interesting Senate races this year. They are mainly in the west. Two that I will be watching closely will be Carly Fiorina’s bid to unseat Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer in California. Most of the polling have Boxer retaining her seat, but not by a very wide margin. Most give Ma’am Boxer a margin of between 3 and 8%, so this could be an interesting race.

The other race I will be watching closely will be Senate Majority Leader’s Harry Reid’s attempt to hold his seat against Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada. This is a loss that will be a great victory for the republicans, but if he hangs on, there wont be much for the Republicans to gloat about.

Of couse their are other races to watch. They include the race for Obama’s old seat in Illinois. It looks like that will be a very close one. Republican Mark Kirk looks set to win the seat and defeat the Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, as he has fallen behind in recent polling.

Other races that will be interesting are Florida, West Virgina and Alaska. It will be interesting to see how Christine O’Donnell does in Delaware. The big question here is, will Republicans get a majority? I think they will get a bare majority of 51 to 49.

House

The US House of Representatives is always interesting as the entire house is up for re-election. Here there is set to be a big change. The current state of play is the Democrats have 256 seats and the Republicans have 179. The Republicans need to gain 39 seats to gain control. Most forecast have them winning 40-60 seats so it is expected to see a good few seats change hands. And of course the results of this election will give us a better view of Democratic’s position across the country.

Some of the races to watch are Arkansas’s 1st District, Delaware’s At-Large District, Florida’s 2nd, 8th and 22nd Districts and Idaho’s 1st District.

Governors

39 state governorships are up for grabs also on Tuesday. A few of these are very interesting. In Rhode Island, independent Lincoln Chafee is leading the race to become senator. He was a former Republican senator but endorsed Obama in 2008 and this has led to an interesting race.

In Vermont, Republican Brian Dubie and Democrat Peter Shumlin are in a close battle for the Governorship. In current polling there is a 1% gap!

In Florida, Democrat and Chief Finance Officer of Florida, Alex Sink is locked in battle with Republican and Health Care Activist Rick Scott. In some polls there is no difference between them!

Other states that will be interesting to watch include Obama’s home state of Illinois, where the Republicans could gain. Other states I will be watching Ohio, Oregon and Minnesota.

So I will be getting up early on Wednesday morning (as I have work) to catch up with what has happened and see how it may pan out. Should I make predictions? Maybe tomorrow!

Have you got any tips before I make them?

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Dont forget about what else is in the balance


As usual when a Presidential Election comes along every four years, people outside of America forget that there are other elections too. While not as interesting as mid-term elections, the elections for Congress and Governorships are hotly contested.

The House of Representatives is elected for a two year term. The house has 435 seats. Its is currently controlled by the Democrats (235 Democrats to 199 Republicans, one vacancy). There are thirty-two incumbents retiring from the house. Most commentators don’t see the House changing sides, and I have to agree. The Republicans will make gains, but not enough.

In the Senate elections, 33 class II senators are up for election, along with two special elections (one in in Wyoming and another in Mississippi) who will serve the remainder of the Class I Senators term. The Senate is currently evenly balanced with 49 senators for both the Republicans and the Democrats, but control rests with the Demorcats due to two independents who caucus with them (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut). Democrats possess a field advantage in 2008, needing to defend only 12 seats, while Republicans must defend 23. In addition, five Republicans, but no Democrats, have announced that they are retiring. I don’t see much changes but six states held by Dems voted for Bush last time round, and four states held by Republicans voted for Kerry and these could change hands. Meaning a possible Republican majority? Not likely but could happen.

In terms of Governorships, or gubernatorial elections as they are known, are taking place in 11 states. They are Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah and Vermont. Of these six are held by Democrats and five by Republicans. Of these only Missouri looks like the only one to change hands going Democrat.

Also this November sees a raft of local elections and of course ballot measures, so far 73 of these have been certified in 17 states. But I think I leave them for another post!