Liam Nicoll and Matt Vallillo

Presidential Elections September 23- October 14, 2012

Polls leading up to the first Presidential debate

In the days leading up to the first debate, both sides had been particularly obsessed with polls regarding swing states. In states like Florida, most polls had Obama with a lead, but the margin was something to be debated. Obama's lead ranged anywhere from 1 to 10 points, and many believed it to be even closer than that. The key is voter turnout among the respective bases. Depending on the poller, the predicted voter turnout varied greatly, which in turn affected the predictions of the election. The exit polls of the 2008 election were: 37% Democrat, 34% Republican, 29% independent. It is predicted that the Democratic turnout will be less than this, which is in Romney's favor. Everyone believes that it is a very tight race, and the upcoming debates will spur voter enthusiasm and may just help the candidates at the polls. Although the polls are helpful, taking the polls at face value is not wise as they can be very misleading and may skew candidates campaigns. Candidates become obsessed with polls and let them take over the campaign.
This picture is an iconic picture of the handshake before the presidential debate. Who do you think will be able to pull of the victory in the upcoming month?

Expectations and preparations of the first Presidential debate

Going into the first debate, there was very low expectations for Romney. The country as a whole didn't view him as a legitimate contender against the President. Obama was seen as a good speaker to the country and was expected to sweep the debates. Obama didn't prepare as well as Romney for the first debate. Romney practiced a lot more and knew what he was going to say. He was actually very good at debates, doing very well at all of the primary debates as well as previous debates. He is very good at staying on topic and directly responding to topics presented. Obama didn't go over his responses as much and it definitely showed. He spent only a few days practicing debating in an "undisclosed location". During the debate preparation on both sides, the vice-presidential candidates took over responsibility for the campaigns.

First Presidential Debate October 3rd at University of Denver

The First Presidential met the American public with quite a surprise. Obama is known as a phenomenal speaker, while Mitt Romney was regarded as clumsy in some of his wording and as a whole America believed that Obama would prevail from the debate clearly. Despite the pre-debate polls Mitt Romney came out fired up, showing his lustful desire to Win. He was more prepared and also seemed more comfortable at such high stakes. "Under the president's policies," Mitt Romney stated, "middle income Americans have been buried. They're just being crushed. Middle-Income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a tax in and of itself. I'll call it the economy tax. It's been crushing." Statements like this made Romney more effective in reaching the out to the people on the issue of the economy. Obama seemed to edge out Romney on Social Issues like the Health Care bill, specifically, as stated by multiple news sources reported. However, the strength in that area was far too little to edge out Romney's superior performance. A CNN poll showed that more people believed that Romney had the better approach to address the tireless economy. He was much better at reaching out to the American people by making eye contact with the camera and giving a passionate tone, the CBS poll showed that 33% more people thought that he cared about the peoples needs not his parties, before the debate it showed that only 30% of the polled people thought he was addressing their needs. After the debate many political analysts were looking not to whether Romney had won, which he did clearly, but rather whether the debate would affect the people's actual voting positions.

Memorable Quotes from the Debate

"Middle income Americans have been buried. They're just being crushed. Middle-[[#|income]] Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a tax in and of itself. I'll call it the economy tax. It's been crushing." -Romney

"The voucher wouldn't necessarily keep up with health care inflation, it was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year." -Obama

"I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually, [I] like you, too. But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for." -Romney

"The irony is that we've seen this model (in regards to health care) work really well in Massachusetts because Gov. Romney did a good thing, working with Democrats in the state to set up what is essentially the identical model and, as a consequence, people are covered there." - Obama

The Surge of Romney Support

In response to a strong showing at the debate, Romney's base of a support grew as a result of the debate. He tightened up and at a point took a lead in opinion polls across the country. Although some Political Scientists disagree with the idea that a debate is a significant factor in an election, the evidence is there. In Wisconsin both the Quinnipiac and Marquette polls showed significant gains. In the Marquette poll there was a significant increase of 5 points for Romney which tightened up the race with Obama to a virtual tie in the polls. On October 3rd the RCP National Average predicted that 49.1% support Obama while 46% support Romney just just eight days later Romney had gained a lead of 47.1% to 46.4%. So while it is still a mystery if the debate has actually motivated undecided voters to go out and vote for Romney, there was a clear surge in his popularity. From the time of the First Presidential Debate to the Vice Presidential Debate at Center College, his surge had reached a peak. Many polls were showing huge numbers for Romney, even a lead in the popular vote in many cases.

The Vice Presidential Debate October 11th at Center College

Although said to be a complete waste of time by many Political Scientists, the Vice Presidential debate was slightly beneficial to the Obama-Biden campaign by keeping hope, beginning to rally the Democrats for the next debate and begin the final push with the election less than one Month away. The effect was only slightly beneficial because the Vice Presidential debate has been regarded to as "useless" to affecting the public opinion. Still, Biden stepped up, didn't say anything that would be regretted, and was dominant throughout a large portion of the debate. Biden was able to be aggressive and attack his opponent much as Romney did in the first debate. The current Vice President was so fired up however that at time could be seen as condescending when he shook his head at Ryan's comments. Biden's performance out shined his own personality though, he may not have made a huge difference in the polls but he did give Democrats the mentality that all was not lost after the tragic first debate.

Highly Contested Electoral College Areas

As the time until the election is winding down, presidents are actively campaigning a few very important swing states. Major swing states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia are the key to the election because of their high point values in the electoral college. It is expected that Obama has the election swinging towards him if he can win either Ohio or Florida and a few smaller swing states. Romney is said to have a good chance if he wins two of the three big Swing States. Both campaigns have been targeting specific demographics and certain counties. For example the Obama and Romney campaigns have both been in Fairfax County Virginia which is said to be the opening door to all of Virginia. They winner of Fairfax county is said to be likely to win Virginia. Romney has been targeting the Hispanic population of central Florida, specifically Miami, to try and get the Urban vote in Florida which he so desperately needs. The electoral college math and the extent of where campaigning can help is almost endless and both candidates still have lots of work still left to do.

The magic number for election to the office of President is 270 electoral votes. What combinations of states could come up to make Romney or Obama win? What is the situation where they will tie and be sent to the House of Representatives?

Review Questions

1. What major swing states are key to the Presidential election in 2012?
A. Vermont, Oregon, South Carolina
B. Virginia, Georgia, New York
C. Florida, Ohio, Virginia

2. Who was expected to prevail in the First Presidential Debate by most of America?
A. President Obama
B. Mitt Romney
C. Joe Biden

3. Who surged in popularity after the First Presidential Debate?
A.Ron Paul
B. Romney

4. How many electoral votes does each candidate need to win?

5. Experts said that Biden came out in the Vice Presidential Debate looking...
B.Fired Up


voter turnout - amount of voters that come out to the polls to vote, usually broken down by party affiliation

exit polls - polls taken as a voter leaves the voting center to determine earlier who won office

opinion polls - polls given to citizens to determine how they feel on certain issues or topics

political scientists - somebody who studies the state, government, and politics. They also study and analyze political systems

swing states - states that are pivotal in the election that can give either candidate important electoral college vote. They have no clear cut winner; the electoral votes are really a toss up between the candidates. Some states are either left or right leaning. The 2012 important swing states are: Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

electoral college - System by which each state has a certain amount of votes based on the population. These votes are given to the candidate who wins the popular vote in that state. There is a winner-take-all system, in which a simple majority is needed to take all the electoral votes, regardless of the amount or margin of victory.

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Works Cited

Liam Nicoll Matt Vallilo