US Election Primer

This post has not been written by me – A Primer on the US Elections, a quick recap of the states he, my son, 12,  thinks will influence these elections

The recent debate between the two presidential candidates of the US’s major parties had some interesting moments. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, showed his confidence by almost constantly maintaining eye contact with his opponent, and ensuring that the audience did not become bored through lines such as ”Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own plane and your own house, but not to your own facts”. Romney required a significant victory in this debate to have any chance of continuing with a chance of obtaining the required 270 electoral votes. He currently has 191 against Obama’s 237, which still leaves 110 electoral votes in nine states where the race is too close to predict the outcome.

New Hampshire – 4
Despite being the smallest of these nine states, New Hampshire has a reputation for predicting the outcome of the entire race. The fact that it is not definite whether it will be won by Obama or Romney makes this race even more intriguing.

Ohio – 18
In terms of electoral votes, Ohio is the fifth largest state, and no Republican has won the election without winning Ohio. Also, very few Democrats have done so.

Virginia – 13
Another close state – polls in the first week of this month show Obama up by three points, yet another survey shows Romney up by one point.

North Carolina – 15
Before the Democratic National Convention was held in this state, it was Republican. Now, it’s among the nine undecided states.

Florida – 29
This is the largest undecided state, electoral-vote wise, and the state was crucial in the Bush-Gore race of 2000, as the site of the recount which Bush won by 0.01%.

Wisconsin – 10
In presidential races this century, Wisconsin has been won by Democrats, albeit narrowly in 2000 and 2004.

Iowa – 6
Before 2008, Iowa was won by margins of less than 1 percent. Obama, however, won by nearly 10% here in 2008.

Colorado – 9
This was a Republican state – at least before 2008, where, like Iowa, Obama won by a large margin. Now, it is impossible to tell which side will win here.

Nevada – 6
This is similar to the previous two – it was Republican, then Obama won by a large margin. A poll taken before the debate placed Obama at 49% and Romney at 48%, and the debate should help Romney here.

Very few sitting presidents, when running for re-election, have lost. This has not happened since 1992, when Bill Clinton won against George Bush (Senior).

One thing I wonder is why an even number of electoral votes was chosen. This makes an Electoral College tie possible, and according to CNN, my main source of information, a tie is not unlikely. The figures quoted above are from this website:
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2012/ecalculator#?battleground

This election promises to be intriguing, and next on my list of elections to keep track of is the 2014 India election.

(Aditya Rohan Sengupta)

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