Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election


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The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium

For $4.95, people across the nation could tune into a 90-minute debate between ‘frenemies’ Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly. The debate, mockingly entitled “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium,” took place at George Washington University in Washington D.C, with half of the proceeds going to charity. Both the Fox News anchor and talk show comedian brought their political “A-game” as well as props, profanity, victory dances, and witty banter. However, despite the amusements, the debate was nothing less than brilliant. In stark contrast to the often reserved, polite, structured presidential debates that have characterized the American election cycle, O’Reilly and Stewart both logically and heatedly debated the issues.

The audacity to which O’Reilly and Stewart answered questions ranging from the War on Christmas to President Obama’s foreign policy was a refreshing reprieve from the usual viewers are used to. You can watch all of what “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” had to offer here.

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Thirty years and $10 million later, Nolan’s back in the game

In Minnesota’s 8th District, the DFLers and the Tea Party went head to head in one of the nation’s most expensive and closely watched congressional races. Rep. Rick Nolan was reelected to the House after a three-decade hiatus winning by almost 10 percentage points. Nolan’s challenger, first-term Republican Chip Cravaack, was the first Republican to represent the 8th District since 1947, beating 36 year incumbent Jim Oberstar by less than 5,000 votes in 2010.  Continue reading


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Zingers! The best of Colbert and Stewart

Let us start with Stewart’s top five:

1. In response to Obama’s lackluster first debate: “Romney fired Big Bird, America’s favorite non-fried bird. Romney could have water-boarded Aladdin, put down Blue, deported Dora the Explorer and he still would have won.”

2. In response to Sarah Palin comparing Joe Biden’s VP debate performance to a “musk-ox running across the tundra”: “Settle down, Eskimo Annie Oakley…We get it, you live in Alaska.”

3. In response to Romney’s “binders full of women”: “Hey, binder full of women, book full of broads, notebook full of nipples…Whatever!” Continue reading


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Minnesota aftermath

U.S Presidential Election

Minnesota ends up giving the 10 coveted electoral votes to Obama, the democratic nominee (as usual). Obama and Biden won 52.8% of the total vote (1,546,021 votes). Romney and Ryan picked up 45.1% (1,320,048 votes).

Voter Turnout

The number of voters who casted a ballot in the presidential race was 2,938,947. In the last election 2,921,147 turned up at the polls. This is based on 99.93% of all precincts reporting so it will increase slightly. Although the raw number in the highest ever, the 76% turnout based on eligible voters is actually not the highest percentage compared to 78% in 2008.

U.S Senator and U.S House Races

Incumbent Klobuchar picked up 65.26% of the vote winning the seat in Senate for the DFLers once again. Bills came no where close with only 30.62%. Klobuchar visited all 87 Minnesota counties, saying “Meeting with people in cities and towns across our state inspires my work in the Senate.” Bills followed suit attempting to complete his 36 day tour of all 87 counties as well.

Bachmann survived a seriously tight race against millionaire Jim Graves winning by only 1.2%. Graves conceded the race around 10 a.m. Wednesday, dropping talks of a recount. In total, Bachmann spent $11 million from her congressional account. That is seven times more than Graves and approximately $65 per vote.

Rick Nolan can now call himself the “new veteran” beating Cravaack 54.28% to 45.39%.  Continue reading


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Latino population turning Texas azul?

This election President Obama claimed a record setting three fourths of all Latino voters. Dr.Sylvia Manzano, Senior Analyst at Latino Decisions, the leading firm in Latino political opinion research, presented the election results of the Latino population at The New Politics Forum at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life post-election debriefing this past Friday in Austin, Texas. Her opinion? One day American may witness a blue Texas!

Latino Decisions surveyed 5,600 Latino voters in 11 states between Nov.1-6 (400 of which were from Texas). In Texas, 70% of Latinos voted for Obama while only 29% voted for Romney. Sixty-four percent thought Obama cared about the Latino community, whereas only 17% thought Romney cared. Even worse, not only did they find him apathetic, but 15% of Latinos actually found Romney to be outwardly hostile towards their community. Obama’s outreach was seen as much higher than Romney’s in Texas and in almost every swing state as well. This is important considering the number one predictor of whether or not a person will vote is whether or not they have be asked to. Swing states such as Colorado and Nevada are asked constantly, but Texans and especially Texan Hispanics are hardly being asked at all.  Continue reading


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The role of Biden in the debate debacle

 In the days following the presidential debate Democrats have struggled to explain Obama’s strange behavior. SNL used the Reverend Al Sharpton to promote three theories: altitude sickness, jet lag, and freaky Wednesday where the President and Romney switched bodies in pre-debate greetings. More realistic and less-humorous excuses have also been thrown around, however, it seems pointless to discuss the reasons why Obama chose not to debate his opponent because he has already paid the political price. The latest Pew Research Center poll conducted from Thursday through Sunday of last week shows Romney leading Obama 49% to 45%. Technically that is a 12-point swing for Obama. Even in important swing states like Michigan his lead dropped from 10 percentage points to 3 according to the EPIC-MRA of Lansing poll. Hotair.com reported 2% of voters changed their vote from Obama to Romney based solely on last Wednesday’s performance. It is safe to say debates matter for a certain group of voters and until Oct. 16 Obama is stuck in the shadow of his pitiful performance.

There is only one hope until then and that is Vice President Joe Biden. The question is whether or not vice presidential debates matter in the grand scheme of the election, and moreover is Biden capable of making a comeback for President Obama? Some  Democrats have hope, while others seem less than enthusiastic since Biden’s career is filled with verbal blunders. Continue reading


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GOP finally warming up to Minnesota

Finally, in the last week of the election, the GOP seems to be putting more effort into Minnesota. Paul Ryan stopped by a rally in Minnesota on Sunday and headlined an afternoon rally at the Sun County hangar at the Minneapolis-St.Paul Airport. This marks the first public event by the GOP in Minnesota, the same state the GOP held its convention in in 2008. The turnout is the largest solo crowd for Ryan to date with over 6,000 people. On Monday, Josh Romney, one of Romney’s five sons, and two of his children rallied the Minnesota Republican faithfuls in Plymouth by thanking volunteers at a phone bank operation. Republican National committee Chairman Reince Preibus also held a rally later on Monday in Burnsville, Minnesota.

The Romney-Ryan campaign may be taking a second look at the historically democratic state because of recent polls showing Romney coming close to Obama- although Obama remains in the lead. Obama is up by an average 5 points according to RealClearPolitics. However, a Minneapolis Star-Tribune/Mason Dixon poll showed Obama only up by 3 points which is within the survey’s margin of error. NMB Research even had Romney up one point on Oct. 31. Other polls disagree. The FiveThirtyEight forecast projects President Obama will win by 6.8 percentage points in Minnesota. Obama won Minnesota by 10 percentage points in 2008, the same margin as other crucial swing states Iowa, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and less than his 14 point win in Wisconsin all of which have been receiving a plethora of attention. Other polls after the first debate gave President obama leads between 5 and 10 points. This year’s polls in general show Minnesota to be around five points more Democratic-leaning than the country as a whole. Continue reading