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Event Summary

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney make their final pushes to win the 2012 presidential election, on Thursday, AEI’s Election Watch team gathered to discuss and debate not only the presidential contest, but also the state of the Senate, House of Representatives, and gubernatorial races.

Michael Barone noted that there was a “sea change” in Romney’s favor after the first presidential debate, and the two candidates are now statistically tied in many national and swing state polls. The electorate is currently more fluid than it was in 2008, said Barone, so there are still many opportunities for either candidate to sway the election.

Henry Olsen’s presentation focused on the crucial state of Ohio, emphasizing that it is virtually impossible for Romney to win the presidency without taking Ohio. Olsen examined the 2012 candidate and surrogate visits to Ohio over the past few weeks, determining that while Democrats have been engaging in an early-voting strategy focused on boosting turnout, they are now turning their attention to areas with high percentages of undecided voters.

Norm Ornstein concluded by touching upon the down-ballot races, asserting that although the odds of the GOP taking back the Senate are fairly slim, it is still more likely than a Democratic takeover of the House.
–Jennifer Marsico

Event Description

After months of campaigning, conventions, and debates, Election Day is fast approaching. Many voters have already cast their ballots, and in national and swing state polls, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are statistically tied.

What states and groups are the AEI experts watching at this late stage of the campaign? What are they expecting in Senate and House races, and on key referenda and initiatives? Join the AEI Election Watch team for comprehensive coverage of the 2012 campaign’s final days. Attendees will receive the latest issue of AEI’s Political Report, which examines past voting patterns in presidential contests, the preferences of late deciders, and views about voter identification laws. Another handout will provide the latest ratings of Senate and gubernatorial contests according to Washington’s top political prognosticators.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AEI’s Election Watch series is Washington’s longest-running election program for a reason: serious historical insights and current commentary that can’t be beat.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


8:45 AM
Registration and Breakfast

9:00 AM
Michael Barone, AEI
Henry Olsen, AEI
Norman J. Ornstein, AEI

Karlyn Bowman, AEI

10:00 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Jennifer Marsico at [email protected], 202.862.5899.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.

Speaker Biographies

Michael Barone, a political analyst and journalist and a resident fellow at AEI, studies politics, American government, and campaigns and elections. The principal co-author of the biennial “Almanac of American Politics” (National Journal Group), he has written many books on American politics and history. Barone is also a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.

Karlyn Bowman is a senior fellow at AEI. She researches and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, the environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, the North American Free Trade Agreement and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women’s attitudes. In addition, Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics resulting from key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for

Henry Olsen, a lawyer by training, is the director of AEI’s National Research Initiative. In that capacity, he identifies leading academics and public intellectuals who work in an aspect of domestic public policy and recruits them to visit or write for AEI. Olsen studies and writes about the policy and political implications of long-term trends in social, economic, and political thought.

Norman J. Ornstein is a long-time observer of the US Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call called “Congress Inside Out,” and is an election evening analyst for CBS News. He also served as co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and served as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law known as McCain-Feingold, which reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include “The Permanent Campaign and Its Future” (AEI Press, 2000), “The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track” (with Thomas Mann, Oxford University Press, 2006) and, most recently, The New York Times bestseller “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism” (with Thomas Mann, Basic Books, May 2012).

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