Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

7 Days to go, and for the first time in recent history America doesn’t know who will be the next POTUS

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You can analyze polls, study demographics and critique elections past but at the end of the day not one prediction factor, nor all factors combined can adequately forecast this election with any great degree of certainty. And simply that just hasn’t happened in the past three Presidential Elections. A week before Obama’s landslide victory in 2008, even the most staunch conservatives saw defeat impending.

This race hasn’t been this close for too long. After the congressional midterm elections in 2010, Republicans saw the turn of the House as a referendum of Obama’s policies and therefore heavily anticipated the 2012 Election. Yet, just five months ago, Obama was ahead by double digits in most national polls. Romney’s campaign was lack-luster and dull, and the Republican base was simply less than enthused. Not even the Republican National Convention could produce sufficient enthusiasm to narrow the gap between the incumbent President and the Governor.

Yet here we are, 7 days to go and every national poll has the candidates within, at maximum, 3% points of each other. The battleground states have developed even more importance, and Nate Silver claims that just one state (cough cough reminiscent of Florida circa 2000) Ohio has a 50% chance of determining this election.

One state. After two years of campaigning, after months of ads and millions of dollars of campaigning this election has yet to be decided.

What does this say about America’s political culture? Americans are divided. And neither side has captured a clear majority. In 7 days the next POTUS will be the choice of just over 50% of the population, leaving just under 50% unsatisfied. Can the President take an electoral victory as a victory at all?

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