As electoral map gurus put forth their latest projections, here is one tidbit to consider: the major party nominee from the most populous home state has won nearly twice as many presidential elections in U.S. history (32) as the nominee with the smaller home state population (17). (On four occasions the two major nominees came from the same state (1904, 1920, 1940, 1944), and in three elections the winner ran unopposed (1789, 1792, 1820)). Barack Obama's home state of Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the nation at 12.8 million residents whereas presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts is #14 at 6.5 million according to the 2010 Census. This "larger home state advantage" has been even more pronounced over the past 120 years with the nominee coming from the more populous home state winning 19 of 26 contests since 1892 (73 percent). Add to the fact that Romney will probably emerge as the underdog to even win the Bay State this November, and it is unlikely the former governor will be chanting "home sweet home" as he watches the Massachusetts returns on Election Night.
The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.
Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).
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