Election 2012 Poll Results and News as it Happens 11/06/2012
Who is winning the election? Stay tuned to our live blog.
So much for the sanctity of the private ballot -- a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that more than one in five registered voters tell their friends who they voted for on a social networking site.
People are also taking to social media to try to sway their friends' votes: 30 percent of registered voters polled say they have been encouraged to vote for a certain candidate by their friends via social media posts, and 20 percent of those polled said they have used social media to encourage others to vote.
According to the poll, 29 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 announced their vote via social media, compared to 22 percent of all people polled.
Stock Market Is Sanguine On Election Day
What a difference four years makes.
When President Barack Obama first won the White House, on Nov. 4, 2008, the stock market notched a manic 3.6 percent gain—then fell by 5 percent the next day and basically kept going, part of a downward spiral that continued for another four months. On the day Obama was inaugurated, the stock market greeted the new president with a goose egg, declining by nearly 6 percent.
The stock market is much calmer on Obama’s second try. Stocks are up by about 1 percent so far Tuesday, with backers of both Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, claiming the buoyant market is anticipating a victory by their man. More likely, however, is the relief investors feel now that the whole election ordeal will finally be over.
One thing holding back a lot of business decisions has been the uncertainty over who will control the government next year. Once that’s cleared up, the focus will shift to the “fiscal cliff,” the huge set of tax and spending decisions Washington needs to deal with by the end of the year.
Many analysts feels that if politicians can resolve that without causing another recession, 2013 could be a strong year for stocks, regardless of who wins the election.
Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, make an unscheduled stop at a Wendy's restaurant in Richmond Heights, Ohio, on Election Day.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)by U.S. News & World Reporton Nov 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM
In one of the biggest battleground states of this election, some citizens have been misinformed about their voting deadline.
The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office this morning mistakenly made automatic calls to hundreds, or potentially even thousands of voters, informing them that they can return their mail-in ballots any time before 7 p.m. "tomorrow." However, the deadline is 7 p.m. today, when polls also close.
The office says the problem was a glitch in its phone system. The office originally made calls with the message on Monday, when the "tomorrow" message was still correct. However, the system this morning automatically started re-dialing the queue of roughly 12,000 numbers on which it didn't get through on Monday. Upon realizing the mistake, the office immediately stopped the dialing.
Among the recipients of the calls was Carole Crist, the wife of former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. The former governor characterized the mistake as "unbelievable."
Photo via @mccanner/Twitterby U.S. News & World Reporton Nov 6, 2012 at 2:25 PMThe Pennsylvania voter ID law was postponed until after this election. As a result, voters can be asked to show their photo ID at the polls on Tuesday, but they do not have to comply.But some people may be doing their best to confuse Pennsylvania voters. The Philly Post reports that voters in Harrisburg received a mailer that says they needed to show photo ID. On Tuesday, Guardian copy editor Erin McCann shared photos online of signs that had been posted in Pennsylvania telling voters to have their photo ID ready.-- Liz Flock
The Case for a 'Romney Rally' in Tuesday’s Trading
Analyst David Urani at investing firm Wall Street Strategies thinks the surprising lift in the stock market Tuesday reflects investors who think Mitt Romney is poised for a win. The evidence, he says, is a notable gain in stocks that would theoretically benefit more from Romney’s proposed policies, rather than Obama’s.
From a research note published this afternoon:
Some of the trading action looks distinctly Romney. Coal for instance is catching a strong break today including the likes of Peabody (BTU +2.7%), Arch Coal (ACI +4.6%), Westmoreland Coal (WLB +4.6%) and Alpha Natural Resources (ANR 3.5%). We saw similar action after that first debate that Romney ran away with; obviously coal is a loser under Obama given that new coal pants are virtually illegal now under his reign, along with tighter environmental restrictions.
There's clear strength in defense-related stocks too, including Raytheon (RTN +2.5%) TransDigm (TDG +2.4%), Northrup Grumman (NOC +2.3%), L-3 (LLL +2.1%), Kaman (KAMN +2.0%) and Boeing (BA +2.1%). Again, Romney is clearly in support of higher military spending versus the President's inclination to cut back.
Taking a look over at hospitals, the action here also follows along with the Romney theme. There's notable selling in the likes of HCA (HCA -4.3%), Tenet Healthcare (THC -4.4%) and LifePoint (LPNT -2.5%). Throughout the campaign, hospitals have been seen as a loser under Romney, given that Obamacare theoretically increases traffic given that more people have insurance coverage.
It’s worth keeping in mind that analysts aren’t always sure what moves the market. Also, if Obama wins, will there be a corresponding sell-off in pro-Romney stocks Wednesday? That might be a true test of the market’s guesswork on the election.
With little more he can do to campaign, President Obama is letting off steam in much the same way he has for the last four years: With a game of basketball with some of his closest advisers. According to a White House press pool report, Obama is playing basketball at the Attack Athletics facility in Chicago.
The facility is owned by Tim Grover, who has helped train Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Obama's game reportedly includes Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who played basketball at Harvard and professionally in Australia, personal aide Reggie Love, who played at Duke, and Obama friends Mike Ramos and Martin Nesbitt.
Obama has made playing at the facility a tradition--in 2008, he and about 40 others played a round-robin tournament at the facility, according to Sports Illustrated.
Nesbitt told SI in 2009 that playing basketball on Election Day has become a good luck charm.
"We played in Iowa and won. We didn't play in New Hampshire and lost. We played every election day thereafter," he said.
Sure, waiting in long lines just to fill in a few boxes on a piece of paper can be a pain. (This reporter waited at his polling station for an hour and a half this morning. And they ran out of coffee.) But the U.S. election process is still the envy of many countries around the world whose citizens can’t participate in governance.
Laos is consistently ranked among the worst offenders, according to a FreedomHouse.org study, which gives it the worst grade for political rights and second-worst for civil liberties. Despite this oppression among the 6.3 million citizens, a group of students at the end of October was able to learn more about a political process they have never known through a project organized by the U.S. Embassy there.
The students from the Lao American College in Vientiane, the capital, participated in a mock presidential election, including pleas from a makeshift incumbent asking for more time, and a supposed challenger claiming actions are better than words.
FreedomHouse ranks seven countries as the worst worldwide for societal oppression: Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Laos is among seven other countries that are on the threshold of the what FreedomHouse calls the “Worst of the Worst,” along with Belarus, Burma, Chad, China, Cuba and Libya.
-- Paul Shinkman
Joe Biden hugs a patron while visiting the Landmark Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, on Election Day. Biden's daughter Ashley is at left. (Matt Rourke/AP)
During a final campaign appearance in Ohio Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden dropped hints that this Election Day won’t be the last time his name is on the ballot. One woman asked Biden if would run for something else in 2016.
“Oh, I am going to go back home and run for county council or something,” Biden joked.
During a stop at a polling station in Delaware, Biden was asked if this would be the last time he cast a ballot for himself. “No, I don’t think so,” he replied.
Beth Watson of Leon County, Fla., tells U.S. News that voting was a breeze for her. Sixty-two percent of voters in Leon County -- which includes Tallahassee, the state capital -- cast ballots for President Obama in 2008. Ms. Watson sent this first-hand report:
I went to vote at 1:00 p.m. and was back home within 30 minutes. There were no lines. A poll worker told me that there were lines earlier in day but they made some adjustments in their system there and no lines since. It was very quiet at the polls. When I asked the same worker if he had noticed anything or atmosphere of voters, he said it is very hotly contested but they had no way of knowing how people were leaning. ... I did not see an Obama sign at all at this precinct, which I thought was odd.
Tweeting That Photo of Your Ballot? In Some States It Could Mean Jail TimePhoto from Instagram, via All Things Dby U.S. News & World Reporton Nov 6, 2012 at 3:28 PM
Tweeting, posting to Facebook, and taking pics on Instagram is just a part of daily life these days. But if you’re thinking about snapping a photo of your 2012 ballot for posterity and sharing it on social media sites, you could find yourself in jail, according to a report from All Things D.
“Some states like Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas expressly prohibit the use of photographic and recording equipment inside polling places,” the Citizen Media Law Project advises. “Election laws are serious business—you could be removed from the polling place and even subject to criminal penalties.”
Posting a completed ballot to Facebook and Twitter could get you in even more trouble. In North Carolina, it’s illegal to take pictures of a completed ballot because it’s “a violation of the secret ballot,” according to one election official. In Wisconsin, posting pics of ballots is a Class I felony, in large part to prevent election fraud.
“The intent is to prevent people from selling their votes and then showing their ballots as proof they voted as requested,” the AP reports.
Check out this helpful chart from the Citizen Media Law Project to find out what your state’s stance is on using your smartphone at the polling station.
-- Meg Handley
An elderly Michigan man was filling out his ballot Tuesday when he suddenly stopped responding to his wife, who panicked and screamed for help.
“He was dead,” Ty Houston, a registered nurse who immediately assisted the ailing voter, told The Detroit News. “He had no heartbeat and he wasn't breathing.”
But after Houston did CPR for a few minutes, the man--who had a tracheotomy--gasped a few times and was miraculously revived only to ask his wife: “Did I vote?”
The man went on to tell his astounded wife that there were only two things important to him: “That I love you and that I finished what I came here to do...vote.”
Medical personnel then rushed the man and his wife to a nearby hospital.
“It was God's divine word that I be there. Originally, I was just going [to] skip the ballot and just go to lunch that day," Houston said.
State by State
Arkansas is one of the states to watch in this year's state legislative races. It's the last southern state in which both houses of the state legislature are currently controlled by Democrats. And that could soon change--it's the only state in which both of the state's legislative chambers are considered "toss-ups," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
One Arkansas election expert, however, foresees a night of GOP wins.
"It looks like it's going to be a major Republican wave within the state," says Andrew Dowdle, associate professor of political science at the University of Arkansas.
Whereas Democratic candidates generally fared well in the South before the mid-1960s, explains Dowdle, white conservative "southern Democrats" have slowly disappeared. Now, the state that once elected Bill Clinton governor is shifting toward the GOP.
Dowdle says that while many issues, economic and social alike, have driven some Arkansas voters to the Republican Party in recent years, the very idea of being Democrat has recently become abhorrent to many Arkansas voters.
"Basically the party label has just become so toxic in itself that it's even really overwhelming issues at this point," says Dowdle.
Stand-ins for Mitt and Ann Romney just took the stage in the ballroom at Romney party headquarters in Boston. They couple hugged and the faux-Romney waved to the crowd (which now simply consists of journalists) and walked up to the podium.
Now stand-ins for both Romneys, running mate Paul Ryan and his wife, Janna, are embracing, waving, walking to the front of the stage, then turning and pretending to hug family members joining them on stage.
Your Vote and the Fiscal Cliff
For any last-minute voters still wondering how the election results might affect the upcoming “fiscal cliff,” here’s a quick synopsis courtesy of Russ Koesterich at BlackRock’s iShares blog.
The fiscal cliff, of course, is the huge set of spending cuts and tax hikes that could lop 4 percent off of the GDP next year if Congress allows all of those measures to go into effect as scheduled.
Changes in the stock market following the election will indicate whether investors have become more optimistic about a benign resolution, or more concerned that a gridlocked Congress will fail to reach some kind of compromise. Possible scenarios based on today’s election results:
A Republican sweep of the White House and both houses of Congress: “The [Romney] administration would be likely to retroactively rescind most of the expected tax hikes, removing a good part of the fiscal drag,” writes Koesterich. The prospects of this happening could trigger a sharp rally in stocks right away. But that’s unlikely, because at a minimum, there are strong odds the Democrats will retain at least 50 seats in the Senate.
A narrow Obama or Romney victory, with a divided Congress: Under either of these outcomes, political combat would threaten a “cliff dive,” in which most or all of the spending cuts and tax hikes go into effect because Congress can’t negotiate a compromise. “If either of those occur – and at this point there is a good chance they could — we’d expect a pickup in volatility going into the end of the year,” Koesterich advises.
A Democratic sweep of the White House and Congress: Not considered plausible, since Dems basically have no chance of regaining control of the House. (Sorry, Dems.) So investors, prepare for volatility.
In 2012, U.S. politics may have more invested abroad than any previous generation, yet foreign affairs had almost nothing to do with this election, experts say.
Instead, voters were much more focused on domestic issues, such as job creation and budget cuts, than the issues overseas that still require much of America’s efforts and resources.
“It’s actually very important,” says Dr. Nora Bensahel, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “After a decade of war, and even though 68,000 Americans remain in harm’s way in Afghanistan today, foreign policy issues did not play much of a role in this presidential election at all.”
The third presidential debate was designed to focus exclusively on foreign affairs, yet both candidates found a way to steer their responses back to domestic and economic issues – more than in any previous debate like it, Bensahel says.
When the two did discuss foreign policy, they gave similar answers.
“Romney and Obama disagreed the most about Iran and Israel, but for most voters, these issues paled in comparison to economic issues,” she says.
The 2004 and 2008 elections had much more to do with overseas issues, but those were exceptions, says James Carafano, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. Those years were more like elections when war was on the horizon, such as in 1860, 1952 and 1968, he says.
The 2012 election is more of a normal election year, which means foreign policy makes a marginal difference to voters, he says.
A large Obama mural adorning the wall of a polling station in Philadelphia has been covered -- albeit not convincingly -- after a judge ordered that the artwork be obscured from voters' view "in its entirety."NBC 11 reports that the mural, located inside Ben Franklin Elementary School, has been shoddily covered with three sheets of paper. The mural hails Obama's "hope" and "change" catchphrases from the 2008 presidential campaign.@lizflock/Twitterby U.S. News & World Reporton Nov 6, 2012 at 4:38 PM
Now we've got the mic check in Boston and the Romney staffer uses the beginning of the Gettsyburg Address. "Four score and seven years ago..."
Ring Ring: Candidates Go Heavy on Phone CallsCampaigning can take many forms: incessant ads on television, robo-calls during dinner, and even visits from local grassroots volunteers.by U.S. News & World Reporton Nov 6, 2012 at 4:52 PM
But this election it seems campaigns spent far less time pounding the pavement in swing states and more time punching in phone numbers. More than 64 percent of voters in swing states reported receiving calls from various candidates while just a quarter said volunteers knocked on their doors.
(Data collected from 2,654 registered voters using SurveyMonkey Audience.)
-- Meg Handley
As you anxiously await election results, take a look at the predictions made by pollsters and pundits. About half of them will soon be proven wrong.
Election Protection, a coalition of civil rights and voting access groups, says its hotline received 63,000 calls as of 3:00 pm this afternoon.
The three issues voters have called in about, according to the organization: confusion over voter ID requirements in their state, long lines at the polls, and lack of organization or preparation at polling places--including too few machines or insufficient aid for non-English speakers or those with disabilities.
Obama has at least one victory today: He reportedly won his pick up basketball game, according to White House pool reporter Reid Epstein.
Epstein tracked down Alexi Giannoulias, the 2010 Democratic Senate nominee from Illinois. According to Giannoulias, Obama and his team (which included former Chicago Bull and Michael Jordan frenemy Scottie Pippen) won by "like 20," outscoring his opponents, which featured Arne Duncan, Marty Nesbitt, and Randy Brown, by a score of "like 102, 105, 108 or so to 80-something."
According to Giannoulias, Obama "played very well" and the teams had "a lot of fun." Giannoulias declined to name some of the other players involved.
Children at a New Orleans elementary school learn about their civic responsibilities on Election Day.
Same-sex marriage isn't on the Iowa ballot this year...but then again, it sort of is.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Iowa as a result of a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling. Since then, Republicans in the state legislature have fought same-sex marriage, but Democrats have stalled those efforts.
While Republicans control the House, Democrats currently have a narrow majority in the state Senate. The current majority leader, Mike Gronstal, has been able to block Republican proposals to put a gay marriage ban onto the ballot, says David Peterson, director of the Harkin Institute of Public Policy at Iowa State University. (In Iowa, two consecutive general assemblies must approve a proposed constitutional amendment before they it can get onto the ballot.)
That makes Iowa a state to watch tonight. Though the gay marriage debate has quieted in the Hawkeye State, says Peterson, opponents of same-sex unions know what's at stake. "They know and they understand that control of the senate matters for that," he says. "Party control of the legislature is going to make a big difference for the future of gay marriage in this state."
“Obama” has been consistently outpacing “Romney” by about 25,000 tweets worldwide each hour on Tuesday, according to Analytics.Topsy.com .
As of 5:30 p.m., “Obama” was referenced almost 1.3 million times on the microblogging site on Tuesday. “Romney” was used almost 935,000 times.
The trend continues among foreign languages. Spanish speaking Twitter users referenced Obama more than 91,000 times on Tuesday, versus roughly 67,000 for Romney. French speakers referenced Obama 22,000 times and Romney 17,000 times.
Learn more at Topsy.com
The first exit polls of the election indicate more than half of voters think the economy is the election's most important issue. Only a fourth of those asked said they were better off now than they were four years ago, though about half blamed George W. Bush more than President Obama for economic woes.
All eyes are already looking to Ohio as the deciding swing state in the presidential election, but neither side is taking anything for granted.
Cory Warfield, field director of the Ohio Democratic Party, just E-mailed supporters this rallying cry, shortly before 6 p.m.:
"I'm looking at the turnout numbers right now, and like expected, it seems Ohio will come down to the wire. We need your help RIGHT NOW to make the difference in the last couple hours and boost turnout in Northeast Ohio. Don't sit this out and regret it for years – chip in now to push Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown over the edge today."
The polls close in Ohio at 7:30.
Washington is one more place with very close state races to watch Tuesday. The state features one of the closest governor races in the country, between Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee.
"It may be the closest race the state has seen since [current Democratic Gov. Christine] Gregoire's 200-vote victory over [Republican] Dino Rossi 8 years ago," says Pamela Clouser McCann, an assistant professor at the University of Washington's Evan's School of Public Affairs, in an email to U.S. News. If McKenna wins, he would be the first Republican governor of Washington since 1980.
In addition, the National Conference of State Legislatures lists the state's Democratic senate as a "toss-up." The state's voters, says McCann, have the state budget and education funding on their minds as they take to the polls to decide those races. In addition, voters have several high-profile ballot measures to consider, including one to legalize marijuana and another that would legalize gay marriage.
Live jazz band fires it up at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center ahead of Romney's arrival. The GOP presidential nominee has recently landed in Boston and is en route to the Westin Hotel, located next to the convention center.
Exit Polls Show Unhappiness With the Economy—Duh
The first hints of voter intent are causing a bit of overexcitement among journalists and bloggers desperate for actual news.
The Associated Press has released snippets of exit surveys showing that “about 4 in 10 voters” think the economy is on the mend, while an unspecified “more” feel things are getting worse or stagnating. (That’s a lousy formulation, because when you group “getting worse” and “stagnating” together, it overstates the negative reading compared to the positive reading.) A CBS exit poll showed 39 percent of voters saying the economy is getting better, with 31 percent who think it’s getting worse and 28 percent saying it’s stagnating. In a Virginia exit poll, 43 percent said the economy is getting better; 36 percent said it’s getting worse.
These kinds of notoriously fickle numbers will dribble out all night and mostly be overinterpreted. “LIBERAL PANIC,” tweeted Joseph Weisenthal of Business Insider in his first response to the AP numbers, for example.
Not really. All of these numbers are generally in line with more thorough polls taken in the days before the election. Gallup, for instance, has detailed polling on the economy www.gallup.com that most recently showed that 47 percent of Americans feel the economy is getting better, with 48 percent saying it’s getting worse.
Gallup polls also show that economic confidence, while still low, is at the highest level since 2008. Anybody who wants to see other poll results can Google something like “polls economy better worse” and get loads of results.
The difference with those pre-Election Day polls is that they’re not necessarily conducted among voters, so exit polls, in that sense, are a better gauge of the issues that will determine who wins the White House. But they’re likely to lead many amateur analysts astray over the next several hours.
Unlike Forrest Gump, these veterans are not sorry for ruining “your Black Panther party.”
A group of retired special forces soldiers planned to make sure supposed Black Panthers don’t interfere with polling stations in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
The veterans, who call themselves “Seal Team November 6,” after the famed unit that took down Osama Bin Laden, are responding to claims that men dressed as members of the militant activist group were intimidating voters in Philadelphia in 2008.
A PhillyMag.com blog reports retired Navy Capt. Benjamin Brink recruited over 100 former Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, Green Berets and Delta Force operators to ensure the voting process is kept clean.
“Our guys aren’t easily intimidated,” Brink told blogger Larry Mendte. “We are going to watch for intimidation, videotape it, if possible, and report it to the proper authorities.”
“There are men and women fighting right now so that we have the right to vote in free and fair elections,” Brink says. “We are just doing our part to make certain democracy works the way it is supposed to.”
So Far, Exit Polls Reveal Nothing We Don’t Already Know
There are big headlines touting the “news” that early exit polls show 60 percent of voters rate the weak economy as their top concern. But that’s an old story. Gallup polls from late October showed that 63 percent of Americans rated the “economy in general” or “unemployment” as their top concern. (The Gallup surveys are worded a bit differently from some exit polls, allowing different answers that all relate to the economy.)
A September Pew poll found that 87 percent of registered voters said the state of the economy “will be very important to their vote.” By that standard, voters may be a bit less concerned about the economy than earlier polls suggested. But the story will probably change as the votes roll in.
UPDATE ON SPEC OPS vs. BLACK PANTHERS:
Fox News reported a member of the New Black Panther Party, who was charged with trying to intimidate voters in 2008, is back outside a polling station in Philadelphia. He declined to comment to a reporter.
Capt. Brink, the founder of “Seal Team November 6,” told HuffingtonPost.com in an email that there had been little work for his covert operators.
"Philly has lots or rumors that we are tracking down, but only one dejected, unarmed NBPP seen so far," Brink wrote.
Why Wait for Second-Hand Reports?Check out real-time results from these crucial swing states:Virginia (polls close at 7 p.m.)Ohio (polls close at 7:30 p.m.)North Carolina (polls close at 7:30 p.m.)Florida (polls close at 8 p.m.)New Hampshire (polls close at 8 p.m.)Colorado (polls close at 9 p.m.)Wisconsin (polls close at 9 p.m.)Iowa (polls close at 10 p.m.)Nevada (polls close at 10 p.m.)Note: All times EST. Links will be updated as state election results pages go live.
Obama is victorious in Vermont, Romney carries Kentucky, CNN projects.
Here’s One Hope For a Post-Election Breakthrough on Capitol Hill
Ned Monroe of the National Association of Manufacturers points out in a blog post that regardless of who wins the White House, Tuesday’s election could bring 70 new freshmen into Congress in both the House and the Senate. That may represent “at least the potential of breaking through the partisan logjam that has enveloped Washington in recent years,” he writes.
NAM, like other business groups, has been lobbying Congress to do its job and take action to prevent the worst-case scenario on the “fiscal cliff,” which would be partisan warfare that torpedoes an improving economy and causes another recession.
Hope springs eternal on Election Day, I guess. Tomorrow, cynicism may reassert itself.
33 Senate seats are in play tonight as the first polls close. The first projected winner? Vermont incumbent Bernie Sanders, an Independent "democratic socialist" who has served since 2007. On the East Coast, races in Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Maine are expected to be closest. We'll be back with results on those races as soon as they're called.
At tax hawk Grover Norquist's election night event, austerity is the name of the game. Instead of the usual lavish Washington party fare, Americans For Tax Reform is offering chicken nuggets, Pigs in a Blanket, and potato chips on a table decorated in red, white and blue. On a nearby wall hangs their famous taxpayer protection pledge, and a chart of district-by-district house races.