Category Archives: The Election Room

Your 2013 special election primer

Ed Markey

by John Perilli

2013 was supposed to be the year America breathed a big sigh of relief from electoral politics, but there is no escape from the ever-turning wheel of democracy. Aside from a number of scheduled off-year elections, there are three upcoming special elections to fill vacated Congressional and Senate seats, in South Carolina, Missouri, and Massachusetts. One special election already occurred in Illinois in April, resulting in a win for Robin Kelly (D-Ill.)

The campaign metric we need to understand

by Taylor Daily

In the aftermath of the 2012 election, we saw the importance of mathematics in both understanding and successfully participating in electoral politics. Not only was Barack Obama the election winner, but so were the Nate Silvers of the world. Their desire to bring more mathematics into politics has proven resoundingly successful.

The dead ends for Romney’s campaign


by Adison Marshall

The Romney team seemed to misread cues from the inception of his campaign, all the way through to the waning days. Its poor political judgments were Mitt Romney’s undoing. But just one bad decision didn’t do him in. There are several reasons why the Romney campaign was unsuccessful: his failure to appeal to key demographics on the right, his advertising strategy in swing states, his (and President Obama’s) response to Hurricane Sandy, and his inability to counter the Obama campaign’s grassroots fieldwork.

Debate No. 3: Romney takes foreign policy off the table


by John Perilli

If President Barack Obama was looking to distance himself from Mitt Romney on foreign policy during Monday night’s debate, he would have left the stage feeling disappointed. Aside from a strong debate performance, where he stood tall on all the major international issues from Israel to China, Obama could not seem to get away from Romney. Early on, Romney neutralized one of Obama’s strongest foreign policy talking points by congratulating him on going after Osama bin Laden. There was a brief back and forth over who would move “heaven and earth” to take out the infamous al Qaeda commander, but Obama was left without a decisive point scored.

ISideWith website surveys voters according to candidates’ issues


by Beilul Naizghi

With the election less than a month away and pollsters tracking President Obama and Mitt Romney in a very close race, it is worth considering what voters are basing their decisions on. Is it the candidate with the least amount of gaffes? The more approachable or likable candidate? The more financially transparent candidate? believes a candidate’s stances on issues are the best way to vote. The site, a nonpartisan, nonprofit quiz site aims to provide “an accurate and updated breakdown of which candidates (voters) side with on the issues,” according to the site’s “About” page.

Job creation under a new president: Romney’s edge over Obama

Mitt Romney

by Michael Tanner

Mitt Romney promises that if elected president, he will create 12 million jobs over the next four years. Not to be outdone, President Obama claims that he has already created 5.2 million jobs during his time in office. For the future, the president says that he will match Romney’s promised job creation and throw in 4 million manufacturing jobs. 

The Femo: A call for transparency

Mitt Romney

by Ashleigh McEvoy

In his latest flip-flop, Governor Mitt Romney said to a Des Moines Register reporter before an Iowa rally on Tuesday, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

The Obama organizing model

Daily Replacement photo

by Taylor Daily

In this presidential election, media and academic attention has often focused on the so called “air war” of TV ads and cable news coverage. What is overlooked in this analysis is the field organization of each campaign. Frequently, field organizations are symmetrical in strength, resulting in little change in electoral outcome as the result of field work. Yet in this election, President Obama’s campaign has been pursuing innovative field tactics that may provide a distinct advantage.

The “Rope-A-Dope”

Barack Obama

by Taylor Daily

My reaction to the Wednesday’s debate was probably in line with what most in the media thought: President Obama played it relatively safe while Mitt Romney was able to argue successfully for some of his positions, especially his views on taxation. The media described President Obama’s strategy as the “rope-a-dope,” because the President generally held his punches except for the most effective moments and let Romney hammer him for the rest of the time. This view is, of course, an oversimplification, but appears to be fundamentally accurate. The question then becomes why would President Obama choose a strategy that would result in what Nate Silver called a “field goal” for Mitt Romney?

The first debate: Obama flops, Romney surprises

Mitt Romney

by Corinne Cathcart

Last night, President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney met face to face for the first presidential debate of three. While Romney brought energy, likability, and specific facts to the table (which his campaign desperately needed), Obama’s performance fell flat. Contrary to popular expectations, Romney’s performance was engaging and impassioned. Expectations were probably so low because of Romney’s wooden and awkward performances at a majority of the primary debates back in January, but his practice seems to have paid off.