In the final stretch of the 2012 election cycle, one certainty is continued uncertainty. At press time, polls show President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt. Romney deadlocked. And, surprisingly, many political pundits claim that undecided voters are really not so undecided.
The undecided voters who have not yet chosen a side are about three to four percent, which is well below the usual 10 percent. State polls show equally tight races with a majority of swing states going either way. Thus, political observers believe the election will hinge on voter turnout.
Here we're looking at the House and Senate races. Results in these chambers will likely play a larger role in determining the direction of tax reform and the impact on issues important to senior financial executives.
The U.S. Senate
Democrats currently hold the majority in the Senate with 51 seats; Republicans, having made significant gains in the 2010 midterm elections, hold 47 seats; and there are two Independent senators that caucus with the Democrats. Of the 100 Senate seats, 33 are up for re-election (21 Democrat, two Independent and 10 Republican).
To hold the majority, Republicans need to win four seats and take over the chamber, or they need to win three seats and the White House to make it a 50/50 split with Rep. Paul Ryan as vice president and thus the tie-breaker.
With a majority of the key Senate races close, there are a few certainties. Former Maine Gov. Angus King--taking the place of retiring GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe--is expected to win as an Independent and has stated he will caucus with the Democrats. Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska is widely expected to win her race against former Gov. and Sen. Bob Kerrey. This is important because the seat is currently held by Democrat Ben Nelson.
Republicans are leading in a number of seats currently held by Democrats, including in Wisconsin, North Dakota and Montana. If the GOP wins these seats--plus Nebraska--it will take control of the chamber. But, the Republicans do not have these races in the bag.
The most recent polling has Democrat Elizabeth Warren ahead of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts. If she wins, Republicans will need to pick up an additional seat. Republicans were counting on Missouri, but after his controversial remarks several weeks ago, Rep. Todd Akin all hut assured Democrat Claire McCaskill's reelection--though recent polls show that race tightening as well.
Another state that appears to be trending...