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Elementary electoral


This election has seen a TV ad-war like never before with 915, 000 ads being aired by the rival camps between June 1 and Oct 21. That's 44% more than '08.


Popularly called Obamacare.


Where voters are evenly split and both parties are slugging it out. Traditional battleground states include Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


An increase in a presidential candidate's popularity, as indicated by public-opinion polls.


A person who collects (" bundles" ) contributions to a candidate from a network of contacts. Individual donation limit is $2, 500.


A 2010 SC ruling that removed restrictions on corporate spending in political campaigns, as long as it is not coordinated with a candidate. As a result huge funds are flowing into campaigns, making this the most expensive election ever.


No, not the country in Africa. Chad is a tiny bit of paper that is punched from a ballot using a punch-type mechanical voting machine. See Hanging Chad for why this is important


One of the two major US political parties. Its unofficial symbol is the donkey, adopted by the first Democratic US President, Andrew Jackson, in 1828.


By law, votes are cast on "the Tuesday following the first Monday of Nov of the election year", that is, Nov 6 this year.


People don't vote for the candidates directly, they elect a body of 538 electors, called the Electoral College, which in turn formally elects the president & vice president.


Describes the impact of $7 trillion worth of spending cuts and tax increases that are slated to become effective on midnight 31 Dec 2012, which will lead to another recession, many fear.


Changing physical boundaries of a voting district to make it easier for one political party to win future elections. The term was coined in 1812 when a county in Massachusetts was changed into a salamander-like shape by Gov. Elbridge Gerry


Is a chad that did not
completely detach from
the ballot. This leads to uncertainty about voter's intention. In 2000, this became crucial in the Bush vs Gore fight when, in Florida, several votes were found with hanging, swinging and dimpled chads.


Elections are also on for all 435 House seats, and 33 of the 100-seat Senate. Currently, Republicans hold a majority in the House and Democrats, a 51-47 majority in Senate.


breed of dogs, one of
which called Seamus
was strapped by Romney to his car roof while driving 1000 km on a vacation, back in 1983. This attracted huge negative media comment, with NYT columnist Gail Collins mentioning it over 72 times.


Hardly figured in the campaign. No mention in third Obama-Romney debate on foreign policy, sparking angry Tweets. Passing mention in second debate when Obama criticized Romney for supporting tax breaks that would create jobs in countries like India.


The most common name among the 44 US Presidents till now. There have been six James'es - Madison, Monroe, Polk, Buchanan, Garfield and Carter. Next is "John" and "William", each with 4, then "George", with 3, and finally 2 of "Andrew" and "Franklin".


Charles and David Koch, owners of the second largest privately held company in US. They have donated over $196 million to conservative causes and are backing Romney through the super-PAC Americans for Prosperity.


Belief in a small government, and fierce support for fiscal conservative ideas and individual liberty. Usually they vote Republican but may disagree on social issues like same-sex marriages.


Paid representatives of interest groups, usually corporations, who try to persuade members of the govt (like members of Congress) to enact legislation that would benefit their group.


Healthcare programmes;big issue in elections. Medicaid is for some low-income people like the old, the blind and the disabled, single-parent families and the children of disabled or unemployed parents. Medicare is a health insurance programme for the elderly and the disabled.


Political advertisements that attack a candidate's opponent, often trying to destroy the opponent's character. This election has seen massive tide of negative ads.


Is a room in the West Wing of the White House where the President does his work. It was built in the 1930s.


Is a movement against economic inequality. It started as Occupy Wall Street in September 2011 and spread around the world, drawing upon huge public anger at the economic downturn in US and elsewhere.


Political Action Committee raises money for candidates or parties from donations by individuals, but not businesses or labor unions. It has to reveal sources. A super PAC may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, has to act independently of candidates.


And other hip-hop artists like Busta Rhymes and Bun B are backing Obama. "Hahahahahaha haha! Obama is clowning this dude" Q-Tip tweeted during the 3rd Obama-Romney debate.

The other major US political party also known as the GOP (Grand Old Party). Unofficial symbol - elephant. Founded as an anti-slavery party in the mid 1800s. The first Republican US President was Abraham Lincoln.


Where voters have vacillated between Republicans and Democrats in the last 3 or 4 presidential elections.


A candidate's routine speech. The phrase stems from the days when candidates would make speeches standing on tree stumps.


populist ultraconservative movement that arose in opposition to Obama in 2009. Has gained clout in the GOP. Named for colonial-era protests in which freedom fighters dumped British tea into the sea to protest against a tea tax.


A candidate who is neither Republican nor Democrat. No third-party candidate has ever won the presidency. In 2012, Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party) are some of the third party candidates.


Is the Washington based United States Election Assistance Commission, an independent federal agency which gives guidelines on voting systems, certifies voting machines, administers federal election funds given to States, etc.


About 25% of the 181 million voters will use paperless voting machines spread over 11 states. Both voting machines and a paper trail will be used for about 8% of voters. So, 67% voters will use paper ballots. In 32 states, paper ballots will be counted using optical scanners.


The global hub of finance and banking. Big banks are blamed by many for the crash of 2008 and the slowdown since then, causing continuing joblessness in US. Jobs are one of the biggest issues in this election.


Mashed up clips from the presidential debates and the music talent search show X-factor, it shows Obama and Romney being grilled by X-factor judges.


The colour of Big
Bird, an 8-foot
canary in the children's TV show Sesame Street. In the first presidential debate, Romney referred to Big Bird and said that he would cut spending on such programmes, causing a huge outcry. Obama took out satirical ads showing Big Bird as a "menace to our economy".


A quick, witty retort. Romney: Number of ships in our Navy is down! Obama: So are horses and bayonets!

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