2012 Presidential Election

2012 Presidential Election
9:52 am
Tue November 6, 2012

The Battle For Congress: Senate And House Races To Watch

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., shakes hands with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren at their Oct. 1 debate in Lowell, Mass. The race is one of a handful of contests that could determine party control of the Senate.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 6:02 pm

For Republicans itching to regain control of the Senate, Tuesday's election presents a rare opportunity. Only 10 GOP incumbents are on the ballot, compared with nearly two dozen Democrats and independents who caucus with them.

That means the magic number for Republicans is low. They need only a net gain of three or four seats to take over the Senate — and, assuming they keep the U.S. House of Representatives, consolidate their influence on Capitol Hill. Democrats need to pick up 25 seats to seize the House, a goal that political analysts consider all but out of reach.

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2012 Presidential Election
7:33 am
Tue November 6, 2012

What Does It Mean To Be An Independent Voter In Texas?

Independent voters outnumber those who call themselves Democrats or Republicans. But what, exactly, is an independent voter? And what sort of influence, if any, do independents really have in Texas?
KUHF

A recent Gallup survey found 40 percent of voters nationwide claim to be independent. That's several points higher than those who identify as staunch Democrats or Republicans. Linda Wilson is among those independents.

"I've always considered voting a straight-party ticket to be pretty lazy."

The 52-year-old Houston paralegal describes her independence in terms that may sound familiar.

"I tend to be somewhat fiscally conservative, and somewhat socially liberal."

She says there are good candidates and bad candidates in both major parties. But she admits to leaning more Democratic lately over issues like healthcare, education, and economic assistance.

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2012 Presidential Election
6:49 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Election Day: Six Things Austin Voters Should Know

Line to vote at Murchison Middle School this morning. Voters can go to any polling place this election.
Matt Largey, KUT News

Election Day is here and hundreds of thousands are expected to head to the polls in Travis County. More than 237,000 Travis County voters cast a ballot during early voting—that's a little over 37 percent of registered voters. Traditional voting patterns show that half of registered voters don't vote until Election Day.

More Texans than ever before are registered to vote in this election—13.64 million people. Presidential elections typically bring more voters to the polls. In 2008, more than 402,000 Travis County residents voted in the presidential election.

Here are six things you should know if you're headed to the polls today:

1. Registered Travis County Voters Can Vote Anywhere in the County:

For this election, Travis County Commissioners approved vote centers. That means registered voters can forget about their precincts and cast a ballot anywhere in the county with a 'vote here' sign. These places include schools and libraries along with locations used for early voting such as grocery stores.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:04 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

The 2012 Elections Cost $6 Billion. Here’s What You Could Do With That Money

The cost of the 2012 election is higher than many countries' GDP.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Here’s an eye-opening number: The total spending by candidates, political parties and Super PACs on this year’s presidential and congressional elections will be just shy of $6 billion. 

So say money-in-politics watchdogs The Center for Responsive Politics. A report on its OpenSecrets blog predicts combined spending for the 2012 elections is on track to exceed its already astronomical prediction of $5.8 billion.

While the CRP notes that direct spending on the presidential election is actually down slightly from 2008 (going from $2.8 million last cycle to an estimated $2.6 million), spending by congressional candidates is up, as is the wave of Super PAC spending and advocacy advertisements funded in the wake of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision allowing corporate contributions.

“What remains unknown – and may never fully be accounted for – is how much money secretive ‘shadow money’ organizations spent, with some investing massive sums on ads, but also on unreported and purportedly ‘non-political’ activities, as the election neared,” the CRP writes.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:57 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Election Guides? We've Got 'Em

In Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, folks lined up to cast early ballots.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:19 pm

As Eyder said earlier, "it's almost over."

The campaign, that is.

But if you haven't had enough of it all yet, here's are three places to go if you're looking for tips on what to watch for and when to watch for it.

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2012 Presidential Election
9:48 am
Mon November 5, 2012

After a Long Campaign Season, a Blitz Through the Battleground

President Obama greets supporters during a campaign rally at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, on Nov.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:12 am

It's almost over. We're just hours from Election Day 2012, which means President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney are blitzing the battleground states in the final day of campaigning.

Here's ABC News with the schedule:

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The Lead
8:48 am
Mon November 5, 2012

The Lead: Election Day’s Almost Here (And Formula 1’s Up Next)

Good morning. This weekend’s week cold front will lead to highs in the lower 80s, along with a chance for some isolated thunderstorms in the region, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s a look at some stories KUT News has been working on.

"Now let’s get into the big change for this presidential election. You probably know that during early voting you can stop anywhere with a 'Vote Here' sign – usually at a grocery store or other high-traffic public location.

Travis County has decided to adopt that strategy on Election Day. 'You can vote at any one of the polling places that are designated' within Travis County, said County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir."

Voters should also know the state’s contested Photo ID requirement is not in effect this election –  a voter registration card, copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government document showing your name and address are all acceptable forms of ID.

"If Prop 4, the 8-2-1 plan, were to pass, the City Council would presumably be drawing Austin’s new districts. But Prop 3, the 10-1 plan, provides for a redistricting commission. The commission would have 14 members; three auditors would randomly select eight people from a pool of candidates, and those eight would then pick the remaining six, ensuring that they are diverse in race, ethnicity, geography and gender.

Some redistricting commissions in the country have been accused of drawing maps for political gain or with cronyism in mind. Others, like those in San Diego and Minneapolis, have been commended for keeping politics away from the process."

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2012 Presidential Election
1:00 pm
Sun November 4, 2012

Two Days Out: It's All About Election Day Turnout

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney poses with children during a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 4, 2012 5:28 pm

With Election Day just two days away, the presidential campaigns of Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney are spending the final hours criss-crossing the swing states trying to get their supporters to the polls.

Update 6:15 p.m. EDT:

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2012 Presidential Election
2:05 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Early Voting is Underway - Here’s Where and When You Can Vote (Updated)

Early voting starts today and runs through Nov. 2.
flickr.com/athrasher

Update 2 (Nov. 5): Early voting is over in Austin, but on Election Day (Nov. 6) Austin voters can cast ballots at any polling place in Travis County.

Update (Nov. 2): Today is the last day to cast a ballot during early voting. Most early voting locations are open until 7 p.m. but the "Mega Voting Site" at Highland Mall will be open until 9 p.m.

So far, more than 202,000 Travis County voters have cast a ballot—that’s about 32 percent of registered voters.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Capital Metro is offering free rides on all buses and the MetroRail throughout the day on Election Day to help people get to the polls.

On Election Day, Travis County voters do not have to cast a ballot at their precinct but can vote at any polling location in the county.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:25 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Final Pre-Election Jobs Report Can Be Spun By Both Obama And Romney

President Obama gives a girl a high five at a campaign rally in Hilliard, Ohio, on Nov. 2.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 12:20 pm

(Revised @ 12 p.m. ET)

The final monthly jobs report before Tuesday's general election contained something for both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney to work into their closing arguments to voters.

For Obama, it was the news that the economy in October created significantly more jobs — 171,000 — than many economists had forecast. And the Labor Department revised upward the job numbers for September and August, suggesting even more underlying strength in the economy than earlier appeared to be the case.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:38 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Obama Returns to the Campaign Trail Post-Sandy

President Obama campaigns Thursday in Green Bay, Wis.
Tom Lynn AP

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 1:49 pm

Just five days before Election Day, President Obama returned to the campaign trail after spending several days preoccupied with overseeing the federal response to the devastation in the Northeast in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Obama began his campaign re-emergence Thursday with a rally in Green Bay, Wis., a state where his once-substantial lead in polls over Republican Mitt Romney has narrowed to only a few points in a majority of the polls.

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2012 Presidential Election
8:31 am
Thu November 1, 2012

For Obama And Romney, It's Back To The Campaign After Sandy

Early voters waited in line Wednesday in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:25 am

The campaign calm after the storm is about to end.

Both President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will be out stumping for votes today. The race for the White House, which was just about put on hold as Superstorm Sandy bore down on the East Coast and then roared ashore, is back on with just five days to go before Election Day.

Romney will be in Virginia. The president will be in Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:41 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

In Sandy's Wake, Romney Struggles to Regain Attention

Mitt Romney helps collect and pack donated goods for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, in Kettering, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 2:53 pm

It's not yet time to change the subject. That might pose a problem for Mitt Romney.

Media coverage of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath has been intense in recent days, dominating regular news shows and prompting prime-time specials. With just a few days left before the election, the presidential contest has become an afterthought.

"It interrupted the news cycle at a time when there were favorable horse race stories for Mitt," says Tom Rath, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign. "In a campaign, you don't get to design the racetrack; you play the cards you're dealt."

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2012 Presidential Election
10:48 am
Wed October 31, 2012

There's No Contingency Plan If Disaster Strikes On Election Day

A crowd listens at a rally with former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday. President Obama canceled his appearance to return to the White House to monitor Hurricane Sandy. Both campaigns have urged supporters whose states allow early voting to vote as soon as possible.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 12:36 pm

Suppose Sandy had struck a week later. With power out across multiple states, how would people be able to vote on Election Day?

"If this were happening next week, we have no provisions for dealing with this in law," says Thad Hall, a political scientist at the University of Utah.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:37 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Texas AG Pits State Code Against International Treaty

The terms of a US-signed international treaty require participants to allow observers in on their elections – but that conflicts with Texas Electoral Code.
Credit http://www.flickr.com/snurb/

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has been making waves in international waters. Abbott and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international watchdog group, have been clashing all week.

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2012 Presidential Election
3:09 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

During Debates, Silence on Some Issues Was Deafening

Demonstrators clash with riot police in Athens while protesting the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 9. The euro crisis is one of several issues that came up little, if at all, during the U.S. presidential debates.
Max Gyselinck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 10:13 pm

It's possible that the presidential debates will be remembered mainly for trivia — Big Bird, binders and bayonets.

But Mitt Romney and President Obama did discuss issues of paramount importance, including taxes, entitlements and the role the U.S. should play in the Middle East.

Those issues — and above all else, the economy — dominated discussion throughout the debate season. That meant other important topics such as immigration were barely mentioned, while others never came up at all.

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2012 Presidential Election
6:06 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Media Circus: Tone Trumps Content In Final Debate

President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney walk away after they greet each other at the end of the third presidential debate in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 11:55 pm

For most American viewers, including this one, much of Monday night's presidential debate on foreign policy was conducted as though it were in a foreign language.

References to Mali, to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, missile shields in Poland, "status of forces" agreements — could only have befuddled the voting public.

It's not that the candidates invoked unimportant issues. And it's not that the two held so elevated a conversation mere mortals could not understand. It's that they were debating almost entirely in tone rather than content.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:01 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Tonight, Obama, Romney Take On Foreign Policy in Third and Final Debate

Crew work to put finishing touches on the stage a day ahead of the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 8:55 am

We've reached an important landmark in the presidential campaign: President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney face off tonight in the third and final presidential debate.

As was the case the last two times, the debate starts at 9 p.m. ET. This time, the venue is Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

If you believe the snap polls, the first debate went to Romney, the second went to Obama, which means we have a 1-1 tie with just minutes to go in the fourth quarter. That is to say, we're just two weeks away from Nov. 6.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:54 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Swing-State Billboards Warning Against Voter Fraud Stir Backlash

An anonymous "family foundation" is paying for billboards warning against voter fraud, like this one in a minority neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. Clear Channel, which owns the space, says the anonymity violates its policies but it will not take the ads down.
Ken Barcus NPR

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 7:00 pm

Dozens of anonymous billboards have popped up in urban areas in the crucial battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin. The signs note that voter fraud is a felony, punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Civil rights groups and Democrats complain that the billboards are meant to intimidate voters.

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2012 Presidential Election
6:04 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Obama, Romney Reprise Their Greatest Debate Hits On Campaign Trail

President Obama campaigned at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, on Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 6:02 pm

A day after their second presidential debate, President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney were in different swing states, reprising some of their greatest hits from Tuesday night.

And "hits" is the exactly the right word because each man energetically repeated attacks he made on his rival.

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