What Election Day 2011 could tell us about 2012
November 8th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
11 years ago

What Election Day 2011 could tell us about 2012

Washington (CNN) - Some statewide and local elections on Tuesday could serve as a barometer for next year's battle for the White House.

While overshadowed Monday by the verdict that Dr. Conrad Murray was responsible for Michael Jackson's death as well as another shoe dropping in the controversy surrounding GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain over allegations of sexual harassment, Election Day 2011 does has some compelling storylines that serve as an appetizer for next year's contests.

BATTLE FOR OHIO: Two ballot initiatives in the Buckeye State could provide clues for how the fight for the crucial battleground state may play out in next year's race for the White House. Tons of outside money is being spent on the Issue 2 ballot referendum, which focuses on the anti-collective bargaining measure that Republican Gov. John Kasich signed into law earlier this year. Democrats and organized labor are urging a "no" vote on Issue 2.

According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, Ohio voters said they think the law should be overturned by a 52-37% margin.

The new national health care reform measure, passed last year by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, is the center of attention of Issue 3, the other major referendum on the ballot. If passed, it would exempt Ohio residents from the compulsory health care mandate, which is extremely unpopular with many Republicans. Since the health care act is a federal law, this state referendum is more a protest vote than anything else, but since it's vaguely written, its implications are unknown.

BATTLE FOR TWO MORE BATTLEGROUNDS: In Virginia, Republicans are trying to win control of the state Senate. If they succeed, they would control both the state Senate, House and the top three statewide positions (governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general) in an important swing state. In another much-watched battleground state, a special election in Iowa will decide which party controls the state Senate.

Both Maine and Mississippi are the arenas for fights over voters' rights and could serve as a gauge for similar referendums next year. Question 1 in Maine would repeal the same-day registration law that was passed earlier this year. Mississippi's Initiative 27 would make photo IDs mandatory at polling places. If passed, Mississippi would become the 15th state to require photo IDs to vote. Such laws have become popular with Republicans, who say that they are trying to reduce voter fraud. Democrats argue that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout, especially among people who tend to vote for Democrats.

Mississippi voters will cast ballots on a "personhood" amendment. The controversial measure, if passed, would define "life" as beginning at the moment of conception and it would make all abortions illegal, including the termination of pregnancies caused by rape, incest or those which prove to be a grave threat to the life of the mother. While the initiative appears to have lots of support, it is opposed by some National Right to Life groups, and the Catholic Church in Mississippi says the amendment is too extreme.

Watch David Mattingly's report here.

GUBERNATORIAL CONTESTS: There doesn't appear to be a lot of suspense when it comes to the two states voting for governor. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky appears to be cruising towards re-election. In Mississippi, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is considered the favorite over Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, the Democratic nominee whowould be the state's first black governor. Bryant is expect to succeed Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a fellow Republican who is term-limited.

MAYORAL CONTESTS: The major cities holding elections are: Baltimore, Charlotte, Houston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Francisco

RECALL ELECTION: Arizona state Sen. Russell Peace is facing a recall election. Since he's the chief architect of Arizona's controversial immigration law, this contest is getting a lot of attention nationwide.

Watch Thelma Gutierrez's report here.

Also see:

Poll: 39% think Cain accusations are true

Poll: Cain, Romney and 'undecided' tied atop GOP poll

Poll: More than half of GOP primary voters not concerned about Cain allegations

CNN Poll of Polls: President's approval rating remains in the mid-forties

Filed under: Elections
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Keith in Austin

    Overall, todays Statewide elections will show the mood of our Country regarding out-of-control spending,illegal immigration and abortion rights. Issues that Democrats and Republicans have debated gor eons. Todays votes will be a vivid referendum on Liberalism vs. Conservatism in America and will be a political harbinger of things to come.

    November 8, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. GI Joe

    I'm not sure what the 2011 election will say, but I do know the 2010 election told us we have a LOT of idiots in this country that fell for the slogan Jobs Jobs Jobs, just to be hit with legislators giving us abortion laws, abortion laws, abortion laws, name a post office, validate In God We Trust (all that in betwen their many many many vacations).

    November 8, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    The Mississippi measure defining life as the moment of conception raises new questions about what would define child abuse. It all points to how dangerous and unwise it is to legislate morality in what is supposed to be democratic republic that supports freedom of religion. What if a pregnant mother --

    - is a smoker? Or is an avid exercise enthusiast?
    - drinks a glass of beer or wine on occasion? Or is alcoholic?
    - stays up late one night one a date with the father?
    - likes to eat pork? Or likes fried foods? Is a vegetarian? Or simply likes sweets?
    - Or a person who has simply been overweight throughout their life?

    The scenarios are endless and under the measure all of the above could be interpreted as child abuse or endangering the welfare of a child.

    November 8, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  4. Phil in KC

    I'd like to know more about the Iowa election. And the outcome of the AZ election will be interesting.
    The Mississippi vote, however, concerns me. The thought that there are that many people who are so far to the right is downright scary. When the Catholic church calls an anti-abortion bill extreme, you know they're out there. Quick – put a fence around the state to contain the inmates at the asylum.

    November 8, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Maybe, maybe not.

    The more important issue, is whether Americans should abandon ship, if we don't get change in 2012. Four more years of Obama spending will bankrupt the country. Probably would see a huge exodus of Americans leaving the US, if Obama is re-elected.

    November 8, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. FM

    As goes Ohio, so the nation. I can't wait to hear the results from the Buckeye State. Very much excited!

    November 8, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. Sandy

    Personhood amendment? What is wrong with these people. People who vote for this nonsense are either stupid or uninformed.

    November 8, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Larry L

    I believe the Party that best protects and improves Medicare and Social Security will prevail in 2012. If the Republicans continue to listen to Tea party extremists they will go down the toilet.

    November 8, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |