Category Archives: Civil Rights

MPSL VLog:Unions in the Union (Same-Sex Marriage)

Same-sex marriage was also up for a vote in several statewide elections. Professor Gaffaney explains what could happen in this Supreme Court 2012-13 term.

MPSL VLog: Voting Requirements in the States

A democracy depends on the votes of citizens, and the trend of voter ID laws continues. Professor Gaffaney explains.

Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on Race in the U.S.

John Sununu’s racial comment on Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama has caused some to wonder if the nation has become more racially divided since Obama was elected in 2008. What do you think?

MPSL VLog: SCOTUS versus POTUS

The Supreme Court of the United States just began its new term. It is expected to decide cases about affirmative action, same-sex marriage, and voting rights. Professor Gaffaney explains.

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

Let the “Battle” Begin–The Targeting of States and Voters in 2012

BATTLEGROUND STATES 08

BATTLEGROUND STATES 08 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The direction of the 2012 presidential election will become increasingly apparent in the days and weeks to come as the candidates and their supporters target important battleground states.  Battleground states are states that are considered to be contestable in the upcoming election; in other words, the state is worth visiting and investing substantial resources in.  Non-battleground states are states that candidates do not expect to win, making them less likely to receive much attention from candidate or their surrogates.  The identification of battleground and non-battleground states begins just as the election results of the previous presidential election are being tallied.  Campaign managers, political scientists, journalists, and others have been studying campaign maps for decades; especially Electoral College maps for presidential elections going back to the 1960s.

Battleground states are more likely than not to be states that have a history of voting democratic or republican.  Battleground states can also be determined by the margins of victory by various statewide elected officials (governors, etc.) in recent elections.  For example, if republican candidates have won recent elections in a state by what are considered wide margins the state is not likely to be considered a battleground state by the democratic party (they will basically write it off).  Once the battleground states are identified the process shifts toward identifying swing voters in battleground states that can make all the difference in a close election.  Hispanics, women, younger voters are likely voting blocks that will be targeted by candidates in the 2012 election.  What do you think about candidates for the Presidency targeting some states and ignoring others?  Should all fifty states receive their fair share of attention?  Is this even possible given the costs associated with national elections?

–DENNIS FALCON