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.
A total of eight candidates will be on the ballot in New Jersey's gubernatorial election Tuesday. That is the lowest number since 1989, when voters got to choose from six candidates in the ballot access-friendly Garden State. There were 19 gubernatorial hopefuls in 1993, 10 in 1997, nine in 2001, 10 in 2005, and a dozen in 2009. Since 1901, an average of eight candidates have appeared on New Jersey's gubernatorial ballot. As a result, candidates have won with a plurality of the vote eight times during this 110+-year period: in 1907, 1913, 1919, 1934, 1981, 1993, 1997, and 2009. In addition to major party nominees Chris Christie and Barbara Buono, the other six candidates running for governor in 2013 are Kenneth Kaplan (Libertarian), Steven Welzer (Green), William Araujo (Peace and Freedom), Jeff Boss (NSA Did 911), Diane Sare (Glass-Steagall Now), and Hank Schroeder (independent).
What do Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have in common? All five women ran failed gubernatorial general election campaigns prior to winning U.S. Senate seats. Feinstein lost her gubernatorial bid in 1990 with Collins losing in 1994, Heitkamp in 2000, Hirono in 2002, and McCaskill in 2004. Heitkamp had the longest gap - getting elected to the nation's upper legislative chamber a dozen years later in 2012 with Feinstein (1992), Collins (1996), and McCaskill (2006) each waiting just two years before claiming a Senate seat and Hirono (2002) waiting ten.
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