Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Final Predictions for Indiana

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After over a year of intense campaigning, the 2012 election is finally coming to a close. Election Day is tomorrow, and voters all across the country will be going to the polls to cast their ballots. Although some people have voted early, a majority of Americans will wait until Election Day to vote.

Indiana voters are either waiting to vote on Election Day, or are not going to vote at all. Early voting turnout is down from 2008, from 516,000 to only 460,000 this election. Turnout will have a major impact on the few toss-up races in the state.

For the presidential race, Governor Mitt Romney will easily carry the 11 electoral votes of the state. He has held significant leads in the polls for the past several months. In the latest poll by Rasmussen Reports, he leads President Barack Obama 52% to 43%, which is outside the margin of error of 4 points. Although President Obama pulled off a narrow victory over Senator John McCain in the state in 2008, Indiana is going to return to its conservative roots this election cycle.

The race for Indiana Governor has tightened in the past few weeks. Republican Mike Pence seemed to have a sure victory, but his challenger, Democrat John Gregg, has pulled within striking distance in the polls. Although the race has tightened, Pence will still win the Governorship. He has led in every poll, and the most recent poll has him leading 47% to 40%. With a win by Pence, Republicans will have a greater chance to obtain a net gain in Governorships this election cycle.

The U.S. Senate race in Indiana is the most competitive and important race in the state. Republican Richard Mourdock defeated his party’s incumbent, Richard Lugar, in the primary. Democrat Joe Donnelly won his party’s primary, opening up a hotly contested race for the general election. Polls over the past several months have shown a statistical tie, with a few showing a slight lead for Mourdock.

In the past two weeks, controversy has surrounded this race after Mourdock’s comments about rape during a debate. This has led to a decrease in his standing in the polls, some analysts saying that the comments have cost him the election. The latest polls by Rasmussen show a 3 point lead for Donnely, 45% to 42%. However, a large segment of voters, especially “Lugar Republicans,” are still undecided in this election.

My prediction is that Mourdock will pull off a narrow win in this race. Although Indiana has a history of ticket-splitting, the state leans conservative, meaning Republicans have the advantage in any race. Furthermore, outside sources have been pouring in money to both candidates, but Mourdock has received more contributions than Donnelly. Finally, the undecided voters will most likely break for Mourdock since a majority of them are moderate Republicans. Although they are not happy about Mourdock being the Republican candidate in the general election, they will ultimately support him over based on party affiliation.

There are also two competitive U.S. House races in the state. The first is District 2, Democrat Joe Donnelly’s old district. The district already produced a close contest in 2010, and now after redistricting, it will be even harder for Democrats to maintain control. Republican Jackie Walorski, who barely lost in 2010, is challenging Democrat Brendan Mullen. With a strong base from 2010, Walorski will pull off a victory in District 2, giving Republicans an extra seat in the U.S. House.

The other competitive House race is in District 8. Republican Larry Buschon is the incumbent in the district, but has only been elected since 2010. Democrat Dave Crooks is challenging him in the general election and has run a good campaign. Furthermore, the district has become slightly more Democratic after redistricting, making it harder for Buschon to maintain his support in the district. The district is still predominantly Republican, which helps Buschon with fundraising and campaigning. Buschon will most likely keep his seat, helping Republicans maintain a hold on the U.S. House after impressive gains in 2010.

To summarize, here are my final predictions for the important races in Indiana:

President: Mitt Romney (R)

Governor: Mike Pence (R)

U.S. Senate: Richard Mourdock (R)

CD-2: Jackie Walorski (R)

CD-8: Larry Buschon (R)

Thus, Indiana seems to be heavily in favor of the Republicans this election cycle. The U.S. Senate Race is still close, so it will be necessary to watch the election results tomorrow night. Every candidate is now pushing for voters to go to the polls tomorrow, and since the Senate race is so close, voter turnout will definitely be a key factor in the ultimate outcome of the race. Tomorrow night, control of the White House and Congress will be decided after over a year of campaigning, making it an exciting night for everyone across the country.


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