At last it has arrived, polling day in the US presidential elections 2012 as Barack Obama battles it out with Republican candidate Mitt Romney for the presidency of the United States of America.
It has been four years since Kenyans cheered the news of Barack Obama’s victory over Senator John McCain to become the first ‘African-American’ president of the United States. Can he win a second term?
LONG AND EXPENSIVE CAMPAIGN
It has been a long and grueling campaign and the most expensive in history. It is estimated that since April of this year the two main candidates and their parties have spent over $700 million on over 1 million television advertisements and over $500 million on other forms of advertising.
FIRST TV DEBATE
Obama looked to have it in the bag. Then came the first of the three live presidential TV debates. Romney surprised and shone, Obama looked hesitant and downcast. The election was back on for the Republicans.
As over 130 million Americans prepare to vote the opinion polls have Obama and Romney pretty much neck-and-neck at an estimated 48 per cent of the vote each. BUT, most opinion polls give Barack Obama the lead in most of the vital ‘swing states’.
THE CRUCIAL ‘SWING STATES AND THE ‘ELECTORAL COLLEGE’
The ‘swing states’: what are they? We hear some of you ask.
For those that do not know, the result of the US presidential election will not be decided by which candidate gets the most votes, it will be decided by which candidate wins the highest number of ‘Electoral College’ votes.
Each of the US’s 50 states, plus Washington D.C. are allocated a number of Electoral College votes according to the size of their electorate, so for example, big Pennsylvania get 20 college votes and little New Hampshire gets four. Each state decides its own voting system and the winner of the election in each state receives that state’s Electoral College votes.
TARGET = 270 ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES
The total number of Electoral College votes is 538. Half of that equals 269, so the winning candidate is trying to reach the magic figure of 270 Electoral College votes.
For most states in the United States the result of the US presidential election is already known. Texas will vote by a majority for the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. New York will vote by a majority for Democrat Barack Obama. There are some states however, where the result is not a sure fire thing. It is these states, the ‘swing states’, that will decide the election depending which way they vote.
THE 11 SWING STATES TO WATCH
The 11 ‘swing states’ to watch out for as the results come in are (‘Electoral College’ votes in brackets):
North Carolina (15)
New Hampshire (4)
TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Opinion polls appear to show Obama ahead in eight of the swing states and Romney marginally ahead in three (Florida, North Carolina and Virgina) but in most cases the lead for either candidate is within the ‘margin of error’, i.e., too close to call for sure.
So it could be a long night Kenya Forum readers, indeed a long morning tomorrow, but fear not, the Forum is here to help you!
KENYA FORUM – OBAMA vs ROMNEY: US ELECTION NIGHT REPORTS & ANALYSIS
The Kenya Forum will be running a continuous posting from the early hours of Wednesday 7thNovember (starting about 3.30am Nairobi time) reporting the results of the US presidential elections as they come in with commentary and analysis from our Nairobi-based team and from a US-based political scientist ‘APJB’ giving his views.
APJB has written to the Kenya Forum this morning to say:
‘Election eve finds me in Colorado, a real swing state. Things look very tight here, and in Wisconsin, which I visited last week.
This election will likely be pretty close, but I now think that Obama will pull through. The keys will be Pennsylvania and Ohio, with Wisconsin a close third in importance because of how tight the races in the first two are.
Should Romney win in PA it is all up for grabs.
The big unknown is how effective Republican efforts at voter suppression will be (and they could be very big). Most political scientist insiders think that it is at least 290 Electoral College votes for Obama’.
The Kenya Forum will welcome comments on the night from our many readers in Kenya and around the world and we will publish them live (if they are polite and do not break the laws of the Republic of Kenya!).
To join in on the night/early morning please email your thoughts and views to email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or become a ‘subscriber’ (no fee!) via www.kenyaforum.net to make a comment.