Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election


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Arizona Mayor on Food Stamps

Arizona Mayor on Food Stamps picture from My Fox Phoenix

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) tries an experiment by living off a food stamps budget for a week. As part of Hunger Awareness Month, Mayor Greg Stanton wanted to understand the lifestyle of how the 1.1 million Arizona citizens live off food stamps.

Stanton, a Democrat, lived off of a budget of about  $29 per week for one person, which is about just $4.16 to buy food per day. The Phoenix Mayor said he lost about 4 pounds and was not able to meet a nutritional diet. His diet consisted of ramen, pasta, and coffee.

“This is a terrible economy, a lot of people are living on food stamps that before were solidly middle class,” Mayor Stanton told My Fox Phoenix. “There are a lot who have a job but are significantly underemployed than what they’re used to.”

Find out more about this story and watch the videos on My Fox Phoenix and the Huffington Post.

Keep checking Destination 270 for all your election updates and stories.

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Gubernatorial Race in NC

In North Carolina, the presidential race and the gubernatorial race are in stark contrast with each other.  The presidential race is too close to call, but the race for governor is most likely to be an easy win for Republican candidate Pat McCrory, as he leads in the polls by about 12 points over Democratic candidate Walter Dalton.

However, Obama only leads over Romney by about 1 point in the presidential polls in North Carolina. Continue reading


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It’s all about the Ground Game

In 2008, Barack Obama revolutionized the ground game of the Democratic Party, propelling him into the Presidency. The ability to use local, grassroots politics in many states during the primary helped Obama beat out Hillary Clinton for the nomination. With organizations already in place in most states, Obama easily won the general election over John McCain, whose campaign severely lacked organization in many states.

Now, the ground game looks like it could be the deciding factor in the 2012 election. Both candidates have created massive organizations in key battleground states. They seek to turn out the vote of the party faithful and court undecided voters.

With most of his offices and staff still in key states, Obama has had a major head start in the ground game battle for the general election. Republicans, after being devastated in the 2008 ground game, are making great strides to build greater organization in the 2012 election. So far they have, but many question whether it will be enough to overcome the President’s ground game. Continue reading


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A History of Ticket-Splitting in Indiana

Ticket-splitting is a phenomenon that has become common in American politics in the past several decades. Before the 1960s, it was very common for voters to choose a straight ticket. Candidates for different offices for one party would all appear on the same side of the ballot, meaning a voter could check the entire row to vote a “straight ticket.”

However, with voters becoming disappointed in both major parties, the number of Independents has risen over the past two decades. Voters are choosing candidates based on factors other than party affiliation now, such as honesty, charisma, and overall likeability. Since voters are paying less attention to party affiliation, ticket-splitting for general elections has led to a divided government at both the federal and state levels.

By just examining the presidential elections, it would seem that Indiana had made an abrupt shift in 2008 by voting Democratic. Indeed, the state had voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election year from 1968 until 2008. However, by examining other past races in the state, it is easy to see that Indiana has a rich history of ticket-splitting. Continue reading


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Round 1: A Denver Debate Preview

With Election Day drawing near, a campaign trail milestone approaches: The Presidential Debates.

Battleground state Colorado will host the first debate round, on Wednesday, October 3rd, at Denver University. Jim Lerher, former host of PBS’ NewsHour, will serve as moderator for the debate which will have a domestic policy focus.

In a statement released by the Commission of Presidential Debates Lerher explained that nearly half of the debate would focus on topics surrounding the economy, while the rest would focus on health care, the role of government and governing.

In a state where unemployment is 8.2%, the candidates discussion on the economy will be important to Colorado voters.

With recent polls showing that Obama is beginning to take the lead in battleground states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, the debates provide the candidates an opportunity to appeal to undecided voters

The question is, with Obama beginning to take the lead in this race to the finish, will Romney’s debate performance help or hurt his bid for office?

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“In His Own Words”

The Obama campaign released a 30 second ad that took little effort on behalf of the president’s staff. The ad, “In His Words,” showcases Mitt Romney’s speech at a fundraising event that included his infamous ’47 percent’ remarks. Images of those constituting the 47% are displayed throughout the ad, while Romney’s speech plays in the background. Potent Romney quotes such as, “Dependent upon government,” “Victims,” and “Believe that they are entitled” are showcased throughout the ad.

It doesn’t get much better than a candidate providing all of the material for an ad. Romney’s camp has made many attempts to diffuse his controversial comments, but Obama’s team is milking Romney’s words for everything they are worth. The ad targeting middle-class voters will air in the key states of New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado.


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Campaigning in NC

The Romney campaign seems to have finally realized the importance of winning the Tar Heel State.

In theory, the state should be a no-brainer—North Carolina has voted red for the seven elections from 1980-2004, with the 2008 election swinging Obama by a considerably small margin. However, the Obama camp realizes the significant impact the state’s fifteen electoral votes could have on the election outcome and aren’t taking any chances. The Democratic National Convention was held in Charlotte at the beginning of September, Michelle Obama spoke to a couple college campuses recently, and now Vice President Biden is scheduled to visit Charlotte and Asheville next Tuesday.

The Romney team is answering back, finally. Florida Senator Marco Rubio spoke at a rally at a steel plant on Wednesday in Charlotte. A blatant attempt to appeal to blue-collar workers like the ones present at the plant, Rubio condemned Obamacare and the President’s “out of control” regulations.

While Rubio’s appearance doesn’t hurt Romney’s campaign, it simply isn’t enough for the GOP to win the Tar Heel State.  North Carolina is an absolute necessity for Republicans, and without more campaigning, the state could slip through the GOP’s grasp and what occurred in 2008 might very well occur this election, too.