Find out about the parties, political movements and their platforms. Check these websites for an overview of information: Democratic Party, Republican Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Reform Party, Democratic Socialists of America and the Tea Party Movement.
Some websites and blogs will attempt to help you sort out the issues. For a sampling, check CQ Politics (maps, ratings, columns, blogs, videos), Politico.com (providing news and opinion on the 2010 elections), C-Span.org (cable TV supported live Congressional coverage and information), CNN Election Center Basics (Cable News Network election center information), CNN Politics – politicalticker (CNN latest posts and up-to-date midterm elections news), Smart Voter (unbiased election information from the League of Women Voters), Dave Leip’s election atlas (election information begun in the 1990s), and LegiStorm (blog and website reporting salary, trip, financial disclosure, foreign gifts and earmark information about senators and congressmen).
Campaign finance and election issues can be checked at websites like the Federal Election Commission (FEC) (administering and enforcing federal campaign finance laws), the Campaign finance reports and data (from the FEC) and American National Election Studies (ANES) (producing data about voting, public opinion and political participation for social scientists and students).
If you need help separating fact from fiction you can check PolitiFact Truth-o-meter (St. Petersburg Times helps you find the truth in politics), FactCheck.org (from the Annenberg Public Policy Center; aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics), and OpenSecrets.org (research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy).
If your focus is the tri-state area, look at: The Larry Kane Report, pa2010.com, Delaware County Daily Times – Campaign10, Pennsylvania Department of State – Elections Information, Philadelphia Decision2010, de2010.com and New Jersey Division of Elections.
Read about some gender issues in elections in popular books, such as Notes From the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win by Anne E. Kornblut, Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics edited by Susan J. Carroll and Richard L. Fox, and Gender and American Politics: Women, Men, and the Political Process edited by Sue Tolleson-Rinehart and Jyl J. Josephson.
If you’re interested in polls, trends and blogs, try these: course guide to polling, 270towin and the 2010 interactive House and Senate maps, election forecasts at FivethirtyEight, the politics and government blog of the New York Times, the liberal dailykos.com, the conservative redstate.com, United States Elections Project, Christian Science Monitor, Election 2010 and The Green Papers: Midterm 2010 Election.
If you’re following newspapers online, check the Washington Post, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor. Some newspaper databases are: ProQuest Newspapers (which includes coverage of 27 newspapers including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, plus other important U.S., international and minority interest papers), ABI/INFORM Global (includes major business tabloids, magazines, daily newspapers, wire services and area business publications) and the Philadelphia Inquirer (contains the complete text of articles covered beginning with 1981).
Some databases that can keep you informed and up-to-date include ProQuest Newspapers, Ethnic NewsWatch, Lexis Nexis Academic, ABI/INFORM Global, CQ’s Politics in America, CQ Press Voting and Elections Collection, CQ Weekly, America: History and Life, JSTOR, Historical New York Times and OmniFile Full Text Mega.
Some timely newspaper articles include “Key Senate Battles Tighten — Razor-Thin Margins in Several Races; Loyalists Seen Returning to Parties”, “The 19 Senate Races in Play”, “Control of the House in the Balance”, “House Majority Still Uncertain, Republicans Say”, “Which Election 2010 Race has Run the Most TV Ads? Not the One You’d Expect”, and “Election 2010’s Battle Over Campaign Dollars”.
Does history repeat itself? Start with these online resources: Roper Center – State Election Day Exit Polls 1978-2008, Roper Center – U.S. presidential elections, Pennsylvania Election Statistics: 1682-2006, U.S. Electoral College, U.S. Electoral College – Historic election results, Election law research, Looking at past numbers, Voting America – United States Politics, 1840-2008, The American Presidency Project, Election Information & Statistics – U.S. House, Election Years – Current Population Survey 2006 & 2008, Commission on Presidential Debates and US Presidential Election Maps: 1860-1996.
Don’t forget print and electronic reference sources such as: The Almanac of American Politics, State Legislative Elections: Voting Patterns and Demographics, Elections A to Z (articles included in online CQ Press Voting and Elections Collection), Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to U.S. Elections (articles included in online CQ Press Voting and Elections Collection), Guide to Political Campaigns in America (articles included in online CQ Press Voting and Elections Collection), Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections, The Encyclopedia of the Democratic Party, The Encyclopedia of the Republican Party, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, Encyclopedia of U.S. Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior, Parties and Policies: How the American Government Works, Politics in America, Vital Statistics on American Politics, America Votes, A Statistical History of the American Electorate, Election Resources – Law Library of Congress.
Finally, reapportionment and redistricting, the constitutionally-provided-for phenomena, occurs every ten years and is based on the latest Census. For background, see Reapportionment and Redistricting: History and Process. Check out “How to Tilt an Election Through Redistricting”.
Also contributing: Alexandra Edwards, Jacqueline Mirabile and Gerald Dierkes
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