Presidential Election 2012 – Study Up Before Voting | Resources & Information
University of Denver (CO)
Education is important, but never more so than when it comes to voting in national, state and local elections.
Although trying to digest so much contradictory information can feel overwhelming at times, it is important to sort through and evaluate what is true and what is false, if you want your vote to mean something.
Most politicians and partisans seem to want to confuse us, overwhelm us, and scare us. Their speeches and commercials often lie about their opponents, bend the truth on the issues, and inflate their own accomplishments.
These politicians and partisans believe most voters will consume what they are fed, instead of doing their own research and fact-checking.
Prove them wrong.
Where do you start?
Hofstra University (NY)
You want to begin by making sure that you understand the issues at stake; that you track the candidates’ positions on the issues; that you evaluate how well the candidates keep their campaign promises; and that you fully read and understand the candidates’ position papers and plans on the different issues.
As the nerd that I am, I have gathered and read a great many resources to help me do just that. Below, I have listed twenty-five of these great online resources that I have found useful and trustworthy.
If you just don’t have the time for all of these great in-depth resources, however, I’ll highlight a few that you should definitely check out before election day. These resources offer a non-partisan overview of the candidates and the issues:
- C-SPAN – Presidential Candidates: An overview of the presidential candidates.
- C-SPAN – Candidates on the Issues: An overview of the candidates’ positions on a wide-ranging list of issues.
- PBS Frontline – The Choice 2012: A more personal and intimate look into the character of each of the top two candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
And, if you missed them, watch the debates – I have included here the full videos of each of the three Presidential Debates – but remember to do your own fact-checking or check out PolitiFact‘s fact-checking of each of the debates:
- Fact-Checking the First Presidential Debate
- Fact-Checking the Second Presidential Debate
- Fact-Checking the Third Presidential Debate
In fact, if you do nothing else before you vote, simply checking out those three links to PolitiFact’s fact-checking of the debates will help you learn a great deal about the issues, the candidates, and their character.
The Job Plans
If you have the time to do a little heavy reading, check out the candidates’ websites where you can find many of their more detailed position papers, although by “more detailed” I don’t mean “detailed,” but it’s better than sound-bites.
Lynn University (FLA)
However, if your time is limited and since the economy is the number one issue on everyone’s mind, jobs specifically, I would at least begin with the job plans that each of the candidates has finally put forward:
President Obama has eight points to his plan: Building an Economy from the Middle Class Out; Reviving American Manufacturing; Energy Made in America; Growing Small Businesses; Improve Education for Middle-Class Jobs; A Tax Plan That Cuts the Deficit and Creates Jobs; Putting YOU in Charge of Your Health Care; and Protecting Retirement Security.
Governor Romney has five points to his plan: Energy Independence; The Skills to Succeed; Trade that Works for America; Cut the Deficit; and Champion Small Business.
Both candidates mention wanting to improve access to quality education and skills in relation to jobs and they both want to make the United States energy independent. (Well, at least everyone agrees on something.)
The devil’s in the details, however, so you should read their ‘full’ plans, not just their summary pages.
Truth or Tales
Written by Fred Neil | Sung by Harry Nilsson
There is a song with the line: “Everybody’s talking at me. I don’t hear a word they’re saying,” and that is pretty much how it begins to feel by this point in the election season.
The debates have concluded. The candidates have been campaigning for more than a year. The rallies, the speeches, the commercials, and the television talking heads ramp up even more in the homestretch.
Between now and election day, November 6th, things will continue to go into overdrive and the campaigns and the candidates will get more desperate to swing voters this or that way, often playing loose with the facts.
With all that incessant talking at us, it is all the more important that we figure out what is true and what is nothing more than tall tales.
A great resource in that effort, that I check out regularly, is PolitiFact. They do a fair and phenomenal job in tracking who is telling the truth and who is a “liar, liar pants on fire.”
- Truth-o-Meter: Latest Statements from the 2012 U.S. President’s Race
- The Obameter: Tracking Obama’s 2008 Campaign Promises
- GOP Pledge-O-Meter: Tracking the promises of the GOP Leadership in Congress
After you have educated yourself on the issues, read the candidates positions and plans, and sifted through the truth and the lies, there is one thing left to do:
Make sure you get out and vote on Tuesday, November 6th!
Martie Hevia (c) 2012 – All Rights Reserved
Election 2012 – Voter Education Resources
- Barack Obama – Campaign 2012 | http://www.barackobama.com/
- Barack Obama – Jobs Plan | https://secure.assets.bostatic.com/pdfs/Jobs_Plan_Booklet.pdf
- Mitt Romney – Campaign 2012 | http://www.mittromney.com/
- Mitt Romney – Jobs Plan | http://www.mittromney.com/jobsplan
- PolitiFact – 2012 Presidential Election Truth-o-Meter | http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/elections/2012/us-president/
- PolitiFact – Obameter (Tracking Obama’s 2008 Campaign Promises – Kept or Broken) | http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/browse/
- PolitiFact – GOP Pledge-o-Meter (Tracking the promises of the GOP Leadership in Congress) | http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/gop-pledge-o-meter/browse/
- Politico – Election 2012 | http://www.politico.com/2012-election/
- C-SPAN – Campaign 2012 | http://www.c-span.org/Campaign2012/
- C-SPAN – Candidates on the Issues | http://campaign2012.c-span.org/issues
- C-SPAN – Electoral College Map (Through the Decades) | http://campaign2012.c-span.org/electoral-college-map
- RealClearPolitics – Election 2012 | http://www.realclearpolitics.com/elections/
- The Wall Street Journal – Election 2012 | http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-politics-campaign.html
- The Wall Street Journal – Interactive Economic/Electoral Map 2012 | http://projects.wsj.com/campaign2012/maps/?mod=wsj_elections_2012_nav#r=pres&v=states
- The New York Times – Election 2012 | http://www.nytimes.com/pages/politics/index.html
- The New York Times – Electoral Map 2012 | http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/electoral-map
- PBS FrontLine – The Choice 2012 | http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/choice-2012/
- The Washington Post – 2012 Presidential Campaign Finance Explorer | http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/campaign-finance/
- The Washington Post – TV Ads in the 2012 Presidential Campaign | http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/track-presidential-campaign-ads-2012/watch-campaign-ads/
- Federal Election Commission – 2012 Presidential Campaign Finance | http://www.fec.gov/disclosurep/pnational.do
- Gallup Polls – Election 2012 | http://www.gallup.com/poll/election.aspx
- Polling Report – Election 2012 | http://www.pollingreport.com/2012.htm
- OpenSecrets – 2012 Presidential Race Campaign Donors | http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/index.php
- The Voice of 2012 (YouTube) | http://www.youtube.com/user/2012TheVoiceOf
- U.S. Election Assistance Commission – A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections | http://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/a_voters_guide_to_federal_elections.aspx
Martie Hevia (c) 2012 – All Rights Reserved