In election years pundits often discuss the "October surprise": an event that occurs the month before Election Day that changes the dynamic of the race. In 2008, it was the financial meltdown. Did 2012 have an October surprise?
At the end of September, President Barack Obama seemed to be headed to an easy re-election. Now, just five days before the election, the race appears tied. What happened in October to cause that change? Here are three possible October surprise candidates:
Benghazi more >>
Forget about the swing states for a moment. With only five days of campaigning left, President Obama is back on the campaign trail today and having to play defense in three states that have gone Democratic for the last several election cycles: Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
In 2008 when Obama ran against former GOP candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), he carried all three states by margins greater than 10 points. In the case of Michigan, it was by a staggering 16 points.
Why is Mitt Romney making headway in these three blue political states? In a column on Townhall.com, Michael Barone makes the argument that the former Massachusetts governor is performing ahead of other GOP candidates in the outlying areas of Detroit and Philadelphia. more >>
While even the most seasoned analysts are finding it hard to predict the presidential race, the projection for the Senate is that it will remain in Democratic hands, and that the House will remain Republican-controlled in January 2013.
For the last two years, the GOP has held a 25-seat advantage in the House. In order for the Democrats to gain control, they would have to win 13 seats, and that appears highly unlikely based on the predictions of leading analysts, such as at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
"While we have been saying the Republicans were heavy favorites in the House for months, this is the first time we've said definitively that they will keep the majority," wrote political analysis website Sabato's Crystal Ball House Editor Kyle Kondik, who is also the media relations coordinator for the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. more >>
Are you unsure about who you will vote for in next Tuesday's election? Here are some websites that can help.
Your Local Newspaper
While the presidential race gets most of the attention, there will be other elections on the ballot. All House members and 33 senators are up for re-election. Depending on your state, you may also have state or local races, or referendums on the ballot. Your local newspaper should have a sample ballot so you will know what you are voting on before you reach the polling location. Local newspapers are also a good source for finding your polling location. more >>
Nate Silver might not be a household name, but he is receiving much attention this election season given his astoundingly accurate prediction in the 2008 election.
Silver, who began his career calculating political statistics blogging for the Daily Kos and now is blogging for The New York Times, accurately predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states in 2008. So it's no wonder pundits are eager to see Silver's election forecast this year.
His predictions for this election come with some surprises, including that the 2008 voter make-up – strongly non-white and young – will again come out to the polls in similar numbers, and that President Obama has a 77.4 percent chance of winning the election. Some data, however, have predicted that young, non-white voter turnout will drop this year and that President Obama is tied with Republican contender Mitt Romney. more >>
Pennsylvania has been mostly leaning in President Barack Obama's direction during the presidential campaign. Recent polls, though, show the race within the margin of error for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Hurricane Sandy may have thrown an additional twist into the state's 20 Electoral College votes. The part of the state most impacted by the hurricane also happens to be one part where Obama gets much of his votes.
Pennsylvania, shaped like a rectangle, is favorable to Republicans in what is known as the "big T" -- across the top and down the middle; and, is favorable to Democrats in the two bottom corners -- the urban areas of Philadelphia to the east and Pittsburgh to the west.
Obama is leading in all the recent Pennsylvania polls, but within the margin of error. The Real Clear Politics average of five recent polls shows Obama leading by 4.6 percentage points, placing it in "toss up" category. The Philadelphia Inquirer shows Obama with the largest lead at six percentage points. Gravis Marketing shows Obama's smallest lead at three percentage points. more >>