Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

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Marriage Equality in Maine

One week ago, voters in Maine chose to legalize same-sex marriage, adding the state to a list of eight others and Washington D.C. This same issue was voted down three years ago, but with a younger crowd beginning to fill up the voting population, this year was different.

This chart from The New York Times gives a comprehensive look into the status of same-sex marriage legislation across the country:

The voting results this year were the exact opposite of what they were three years ago in Maine with 53% in favor and 47% against legalization.

Though Maine is certainly considered to be a blue state and therefore more open to the legalization of same-sex marriage, this new development may foreshadow a nationwide movement. As stated before, the amount of young people who can now vote can make a significant difference in the outcome of elections, especially as those people are likely to go out and vote.

Mainers United for Marriage, a marriage equality advocacy group, emphasized the meaning of marriage in their campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine, and they succeeded in changing the minds of many voters who previously voted against legalizing same-sex marriage.

This strategy is key. In order to gain the votes of those who held an opposing position previously, it is vital to reframe the issue in order to encourage those voters to reconsider the issue in a new light. Maine campaigners for marriage equality did just that and acheived their goal of change.


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Superstition Ain’t the Way

Anyone who’s ever put a little extra length in their stride to avoid stepping on a crack in the sidewalk or thrown salt over their shoulder after spilling some on the table understands the seriousness of superstitions. Those of us who are superstitious regard our beliefs as totally legitimate, and arguing the matter is pointless. Some superstitions, however, beg to be challenged. Take superstitions about the presidential election, for instance. I would term these as correlation-based superstitions and, while they are certainly fun to pay attention to, they don’t necessarily hold water.

Here is a list of a few election-related superstitions and coincidental trends, a bit of history behind them, and whether they were accurate predictors of the outcome of this year’s presidential election:

1) The infamous “Redskin Rule”

  • If the Redskins win their last home game before election day, the incumbent party wins the election. If the Redskins lose, the challenger wins.
  • The rule has held true in 17 of the 18 elections since 1940. The exception was in 2004 when the Redskins lost the home game before the election, but George W. Bush (the incumbent) still won the election. Continue reading

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Election Day in Maine

The day has finally arrived! It’s election day in America, and we’ve all got a big decision to make. Regardless of who you’re voting for or why you’re voting, it’s important to exercise your Constitutional right and GO VOTE before your polls close.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about Maine.

At this point, I don’t think there is any doubt that Maine’s electoral votes will go to President Obama. The Democrat won all four votes from the Pine Tree State in 2008, and most polls leading up to today showed Obama comfortably in the lead once again. While Romney made a respectable if last-ditch effort to secure the vote of Maine’s second congressional district, I predict that it was too little too late and Obama will sweep it up as well.

In the much more exciting Senate race, it’s looking like Independent Former Governor Angus King will be filling the seat vacated by Republican Olympia Snowe. Multiple news sources have projected that King has won the race, and this leaves Mainers with the question of which (if any) party he will eventually decided to caucus with as he has not yet taken a side.

So there you have it, folks. Maine goes with Obama and King this election, but the race isn’t over yet! It will be interesting to see what happens throughout the night, so keep watching the news and refreshing your web pages. I can’t wait to see who will be the one to reach Destination 270.


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New York’s 27th District: Really a Tie?

This election season in the generally “blue” state of New York, the race to win the state’s Republican-leaning 27th Congressional District is heating up with a dead tie between current Democrat Congresswoman Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Chris Collins. But how encouraging can this tie be for Hochul in a district whose record is not in her favor?

Last year, Hochul won the three-way race to replace former Congressman Chris Lee in the 26th District. Lee resigned after some scandalous photos of him showed up on the Internet, and Hochul narrowly won the election against Republican Jane Corwin and Tea Partier Jack Davis. Collins’ experience lies in being a successful private sector businessman and former Erie County Executive in New York.

A recent Siena poll shows that Hochul and Collins are in a dead tie each with 47% in the District, but in this case the polls can only tell us so much. We’re looking at a district where Barack Obama won only 45% of votes in 2008 and a race in which the Republican candidate has a notable monetary advantage.

Needless to say, the recent numbers have spurred even fiercer competition between the candidates. Combined, Hochul and Collins and Super PACs supporting each candidate have spent over $4 million on ads in Buffalo and Rochester, and the two are upping their efforts to reach voters personally in the days following their third and final debate. Both Hochul and Collins will be frantically making appearances in all eight counties of the 27th District in the final days leading up to the November 6th election.

While Collins will be focusing largely on reaching the Republican base, both need to gain support of Independents in the district. The same Siena poll that reported the tie gave Hochul an eight-point lead over Collins with independents.



A recent Buffalo News online article said that “it just seems like Collins, as the Republican, has a clearer path to victory” in the increasingly Republican-leaning district.

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Gay Marriage: The Vote, The Issue

Mainers show their support for marriage equality. Los Angeles Times photo.

This election, four states will vote on gay marriage. In Maine, Maryland, and Washington, voters will decide whether to join the District of Columbia and the six states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Minnesotans face the issue from a different angle, voting on an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution which would define marriage in the state as a union exclusively between one man and one woman.

In Maine, the issue of gay marriage has some recent history that may effect the outcome of this November’s vote. In 2009 former governor of Maine John Baldacci signed a bill that protected religious freedoms while supporting marriage equality. That November, opponents voted to overturn the bill and successfully did so with a people’s veto. But after years of campaigning, supporters of marriage equality have brought the issue back to the table – the first time the issue of gay marriage has been raised by supporters and not by opponents.

What Mainers will be voting on is this question: Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? While most polls currently show 57% in favor, 36% opposed, and 7% undecided, the opposition says these polls are likely inaccurate due to supporters’ framing of the issue. Continue reading

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The Final Two Weeks: Maine CD2 Making News

Mitt Romney spoke earlier this year in Nebraska, the only other state that can split its electoral votes. Journal Star file photo.

With the November 6th election drawing closer, voters have been given a lot to think about. The 3 presidential debates have had a significant effect on voter attitudes and perhaps the overall outcome of the election, and with just two weeks left in their campaigns, President Obama and Governor Romney both need every vote they can get.

In Maine, the historic pattern of voting Democrat statewide and in the first congressional district is unlikely to waver this year, however Republicans may still have a chance to clinch the second congressional district. In this final stretch of the campaign, Romney supporters will try to split the state’s vote and gain that of Maine’s CD2 – an unprecedented accompishment for either party.

On Monday, pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future sent an email to supporters expressing the importance of gaining any votes possible, listing Maine’s CD2 among target areas. ROF plans to air $300,000 worth of ads in the key regions of Maine later this week and into next week. With just one vote up for grabs, however, the question is raised: Can this surge of effort make a difference, or is it too little too late? Continue reading

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Debate No. 1: Do We Have a Winner?

The most anticipated event of the 2012 election season took place tonight in Denver, Colo. with the first presidential debate, and the country will now be speculating on who had the edge – President Obama or Governor Romney?

Romney’s performance was impressive in this first debate. His experience with dozens of debates from the primaries was undoubtedly an advantage for Romney tonight. He was quick to respond to the president’s attacks on his tax plan. He was repetitive and seemed to have a step-by-step explanation for everything he wanted to accomplish should he be elected.

The low expectations many had for Romney’s debate skills undoubtedly helped as well. On a CNN post-debate special, David Gergen and Alex Castellanos both said they thought that this debate was the high point of Romney’s campaign. Continue reading