After Big Bird, Binders and Bayonets, the People Speak

Programming note: Join me on NBC Connecticut for analysis of the big races: Today, 11 am; today 5:30 pm; and through the night for election results; and Weds., 6:30 am to look at the new political landscape

You can follow The Hanging Shad on twitter @TheHangingShad. I’ll be tweeting through out the night.


It’s finally here. After the now-nauseating amount of TV and radio ads and countless mailers, the people now get to speak. The Barak Obama v. Mitt Romney contest for the presidency could very well turn out to be historic. In some aspects it already is—record amount of spending, third party Super PACS, and charges and counter-charges. Here’s how The Shad sees it:

The presidential race could go one of two ways. It could end up like 2000 when it was decided in the courts. In the end, Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush won the Electoral College after the controversial decision about Florida made by the US Supreme Court. It’s an ominous sign that both campaigns have dispatched lawyers to battleground states. Could Ohio with its 18 electoral votes be this year’s Florida? (Florida is a hot mess when it comes to something that every other state seems able to do—let people vote in an orderly way and then count the votes. People trying to cast an early vote Monday stood in line for up to four hours, some chanting “Let us vote!” That’s disgraceful in 2012.)

It could also go something like 2004 when President Bush and John Kerry were neck and neck in the polls going in but voters decided to stick with the incumbent. Real Clear Politics, a highly respected website, does a “Super Poll”—it takes an average of all the major polls. It has Obama at 48.8 percent and Romney at 48.1 percent. According the polls, this thing is a tie going in. Romney looks strong in the popular vote but Obama has a clearer path in the Electoral College.

The US Senate race in Connecticut concludes after a nasty, personal and nationally watched campaign. Republican Linda McMahon has spent upwards of $50 million dollars of her own money, outspending Democrat Chris Murphy five to one. But it’s Murphy who has the Big Mo. Murphy was down in the Quinnipiac Poll early in the race after a barrage of McMahon negative ads right after the primary. He started to pull away after crushing McMahon in three debates. McMahon did herself no favors by flip-flopping on key issues such as social security, emergency contraception for rape victims, gay marriage and others. She also may have hurt herself with her base by running ads and sending out mailers saying, “Vote for Barack Obama and Linda McMahon.” It resulted in Republican State Party headquarters being flooded with calls from honked-off Republicans.

Murphy wins this one, I think from five to eight points. But it hinges on whether the cities turnout for Murphy and whether McMahon can use her impressive ground game to upset the congressman.

Connecticut’s fifth district congressional race has been ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the fifth most expensive in the country. Both Democrat Elizabeth Esty and Republican Andrew Roraback have benefited from outside Super PACs. Things appear tight but the read here is that the people of the fifth district will send Roraback to Washington. Roraback is loved in his state Senate district and has served 18 years in the legislature. Esty lost her reelection bid for the state House—she served only two years. She beat state Speaker of the House Chris Donovan in the primary but there may have been anti-Donovan votes as opposed to support for Esty.

This race could be decided by turnout in Meriden and New Britain—that would be good news for Esty.

In any event, it’s a great day in this country. I know I do this for a living but Election Day should remind us all how lucky we are to be able to choose our leaders. Voting is a patriotic duty.

“Look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust.”—Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803

Your thoughts?

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