Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election


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The Indiana Results Are In!

The results from the 2012 election are almost all in! As we all know, President Barack Obama has been elected to a second term in office. The key question, however, is how did the results play out in Indiana last night?

Here are the final results for the major races that I made predictions for in my last blog:

President: Mitt Romney- 55%    Barack Obama- 45%

Governor: Mike Pence- 50%      John Gregg- 46%

U.S. Senator: Joe Donnelly- 50%     Richard Mourdock- 44%

CD-2: Jackie Walorski- 49%     Brendan Mullen- 48%

CD-8: Larry Bucshon- 53%     Dave Crooks- 43%

All of my predictions except for the U.S. Senate race were correct here. Mitt Romney successfully led Indiana back to its tradition of voting Republican. Republicans have maintained control of the Governorship in Indiana. They also picked up one seat in the House of Representatives, meaning the state is represented by 7 Republicans and only 2 Democrats in the House.

Finally, the U.S. Senate race is the most important change in the state. The seat has been held by a Republican for decades, so this is a major change in the balance of power within Indiana. This also pushes Republican power down in the Senate when Republicans had hoped to make significant gains this election cycle. Overall, Indiana has embraced its tradition of splitting the ticket and its conservative roots.

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Final Predictions for Indiana

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. Continue reading


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Indiana Governor Race Tightening

Several weeks ago, it seemed that Republicans would easily retain control over the Governorship of Indiana. Republican Mitch Daniels had reached his term-limit, meaning the seat was open for a strong contest by both parties. However, Indiana is a state that leans conservative, meaning Republicans have a strong advantage in statewide races.

Republican Mike Pence, the party nominee for the Republicans, was holding a double digit over his opponent, Democrat John Gregg. Pence also has a major fundraising advantage over Gregg, giving him the ability to fund more campaign activities. This has been the narrative in the race until U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s infamous comment about rape.

Mourdock has been under fire for his comment that a pregnancy caused by rape is something “God intended to happen.” This has given his opponent Joe Donnelly an easy way to attack him in the final days before the election. Furthermore, John Gregg has used this as an attack on Mike Pence. He is trying to make a connection between Pence and Mourdock since they are both Republicans, thus decreasing Pence’s popularity. Continue reading


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Limited Ground Game in Indiana

In 2008, President Obama made history in Indiana by being the first Democrat to capture the electoral votes of the state in a presidential election since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Obama barely won out over Senator John McCain, with only 30,000 votes separating the two candidates. Coming into 2012, many Democrats hoped to repeat this shift of power in the state.

However, the conditions for a Democratic victory have been severely limited this election cycle. President Obama won Indiana in 2008 because he had superior organization in the state compared to McCain. The primaries against Hillary Clinton forced Obama to open up many field offices in the state, leaving a strong organization in place for the general election. John McCain had never had to campaign in the state in the primaries, meaning he was significantly behind in the ground game for the general election.

Without a primary challenge for President Obama, he has not established significant organization in Indiana. Although offices remained standing in some battleground states, the ones in Indiana closed down after the election. Voters have now reverted back to their conservative roots in the state, giving the President an even lower chance of carrying the state.

What impact has this had on the presidential race in Indiana? Since the state has been in the “Romney column” for so many months, neither candidate has expended resources in the state. This is evidenced by fewer yard signs in the state and less enthusiasm among voters. Overall, it has meant a significant lack of local organizations for either candidate. Both Obama and Romney have come to rely on their respective campaign offices and state party organizations to run the ground game in the state. Continue reading


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Latest Indiana Senate Polls

Several new polls have been released in the past week, showing drastic changes in the polls for the U.S. Senate race in Indiana. In past polls, Republican Richard Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly were statistically tied. Some polls even had Mourdock leading by a very small margin.

A poll by Howey/DePauw was released this week, showing a wide lead for Donnelly. He leads 47% to 36% over Donnelly, with about 11% of voters undecided. This is well outside the margin of error for the poll.

A second poll was released by Donnelly’s campaign team showing similar results. Donnelly leads with 43% over Mourdock’s 36% in that poll. The Mourdock campaign tried to claim that this poll was biased because it was done by Donnelly’s campaign associates, but polls like the Howey/DePauw one mentioned have undermined that argument. Continue reading


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Indiana Students “Cast Their Ballots”

Students in Indiana schools are casting pretend ballots for President and Governor this week in the classroom. By law, Indiana is required to teach students about the election process two weeks prior to the general election.

To do this, the state created the Indiana Kid’s Election Program (IKE) to help facilitate the process. Schools are provided with materials to teach students how the election process works, and inform the students about the major issues affecting the race in the state.

At the end of the teaching process, classrooms turn into “polling centers” so students can experience what it is like to actually vote. The hope is that students will learn about the political process and become more likely to be politically involved and active.

This is a very creative way to remedy voter apathy that has plagued the United States. By getting students interested in the political process early on, they will be more likely to be involved in the future. Programs like this should definitely be considered for every state across the nation.