The race for the White House will be center stage all evening, as it should be. I personally will be watching that with a stoic gaze.1 But there are some other sub-plots that will be quite interesting to watch. For me, I like the drama of the B-sides in the big elections, so let me give a list of things to watch for should the big race become dull quickly with someone running away early.
Missouri Senate vs. Indiana Senate:
Most of us are familiar with what Todd Akin said and did a few months ago. His now infamous “legitimate rape” comment shocked the political world on both sides of the aisle. At first, establishment GOP types ejected from #MOSEN faster than a fighter pilot with two engines on fire. Yet, over time they slowly came back… just after the polls started coming back. At this point, the race is a toss-up, with many believing Akin will pull it off, and oust uber-liberal Claire McCaskill.
But this isn’t the interesting part. The interesting part is that few gave Akin a chance, even up until about 3 weeks ago. Another race that has seen the opposite happen is the Indiana race where Richard Mourdock went from dragon slayer knocking off an incumbent in his own party in the primary, to fumbling the ball on the 1yd line. The cause is a slip of the tongue himself, about God intending life even for those babies conceived in rape. While some twisted-and-turned Mourdock’s words, most felt that people would see through the feeble attempt to contort Mourdock’s words into an “Akin style incident.” Oddly enough, it worked, and Mourdock’s cake-walk is looking more like a nightmare.
Proposals, Resolutions, and Amendments – oh my!
All around the country there are ballot initiatives, and it seems this year there are more than ever. In Michigan for example there are 6 proposals, all with constitutional implications. There are 4 marriage amendments around the country, which have federal constitutional implications. Depending on what state you are in, or what news coverage you are watching will depend which ones you hear about, or should care about. That being said, the marriage proposals are huge, so if nothing else keep your eye on those. For a few other key ones, Michigan has a CBA/Union bargaining initiative (Prop. 2) which should be watched. Colorado has a libertarian backed Marijuana legalization effort which is gaining steam. There is also an election/primary/party reform initiative in Arizona, as well as physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts. Those should keep you busy and are the most talked about.
Polls & Reputations:
Nate Silver of 538 and NYTimes fame has a lot riding on this election. In 2008 he got 49 of 50 states right in the electoral vote projection. His poll analysis method has been highly scrutinized by folks on both sides of the aisle. While it is somewhat similar to what one would find over at Real Clear Politics, the methodolgy behind his “Candidate X has a % chance of winning” projections are what seem to be taking the most heat. Combine that with a few other changes in polling methods, the changes in technology over the last few years, and what many are calling an “electoral anomaly” in 2008 and you have a perfect storm. The most interesting part is that the battle is being waged on Twitter, and the main players are all Baseball statisticians at heart. For the play-by-play on this follow: Nate Siliver (@fivethirtyeight) & Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) .
#Sandy #Benghazi & other trends:
Some “trending” topics on Twitter and in the “online media” world might show their head on Tuesday and in the votes. #Sandy: President Obama flew in, made nice with Chris Christie in NJ and got good remarks all around from most people. Was it forced appreciation? Was it empathy for the people of NJ, NY, etc… I dont know, but as the days go by the conditions seem worse and Obama is starting to feel the wrath of many. Will it affect him at the polls? Hard to say, but there is a chance that NYC will have voting issues and may even extend voting. Will this have implications on the presidential race?#Benghazi: As the days go by, the situation gets murkier and murkier. What is the real timeline of events? What happened during the days and weeks before September 11th? Is the Obama Administration trying to sweep this aside until Wednesday? Will this affect the polls? This is another story that might not have a huge impact, or even hit the airwaves much, but the viral discussion online might be enough to have it play a role. Hopefully come Wednesday, both of these stories will start to get more of a focus so that justice can be served.
Overtime: The presidential election could go into overtime.2 The biggest thing to watch is Ohio. They have provisional ballots, or ones that aren’t necessarily counted unless it is close. Obviously Ohio will most likely be close. The other states with a similar problem are Florida, Colorado, and North Carolina.
Senate Races: Too many items to list here, but the Republicans are going to be hard pressed to win the Senate back. It could happen, but will need some pick ups and not just wins. Look at Ohio, Montana, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Those are the pick-up states where GOP’ers have the best shot of winning.
Links and viewing guides: And if all of this isn’t enough to keep you busy, here are a few links to keep you filled with information overload.
- Wall Street Election Night Viewing Guide ((What to watch, and when to watch for it.))
- NY Times 512 Paths to Victory ((Actually, a really cool “What if…” resource.))
- Real Clear Politics3
- Twitter – pick a favorite and follow along maybe @Dfendusinbattle