US Elections 2012
In an unexpectedly close competition for the White House we take to Ohio and Washington DC in the week before the polls guided by former correspondents from the New York Times and Washington Post.
Dates: 31 Oct – Nov 7, 2012
Single Supplement: £400.00
In a tight electoral race we spend the last week before polling day in Ohio and Washington DC. Ohio has carried every president to Washington since Kennedy. It is also seen as a microcosm of American politics; the big issues of the campaign, jobs, union rights, taxation, healthcare and even gay marriage are all centre stage. We meet with local communities and leaders accompanied by the best analysts in the state. In DC we speak to leading Democrats and Republicans as well as some of the country’s leading political scientists in the last few days before the vote. The tour is being led by former correspondents from the New York Times and Dayton Daily News.
Places on this tour are limited. The tour starts in Columbus, Ohio and ends in Washington DC. Please note that Political Tours is a land only tour operator. We do not sell flights. We are advising the following flight for the Dayton – Washington DC leg of the tour: United Airlines UA5688 DAY-IAD 10.14 a.m. Sunday 4 Nov.
Day One – Weds. Oct. 31 Tour Start in Columbus, Ohio Meeting in hotel before dinner and introduction to the tour with Political Tours staff and expert guides. Dinner talk; where Ohio fits in on the US electoral map.
Day Two – Thurs. Nov. 1 Unions and Getting Out the Black Vote President Obama faces two challenges as he tries to rally the Democratic vote; how to rally both organised labor and the black vote. Columbus is a key battleground for both issues. The Ohio AFL-CIO, headquartered in the city, is pulling out all stops to defeat a “right to work” ballot initiative that would weaken unions. And Mayor Coleman, a Democrat in a state whose governor, legislature and Congressional delegation are solidly Republican, will be working hard to encourage black people to come out and vote. We speak with AFL-CIO, employers, and follow the Democrats on their vote-drive.
The Rural and Republican Vote The two and a half-hour drive north to Cleveland is past small towns and through rolling, typically American Midwest farmland. Like much of America’s Breadbasket it has been hit hard by the drought. Ohio farmers, like those in wide swaths of rural America, tend to vote Republican and are socially conservative, so supporters of a ballot initiative to overturn Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage may not have much luck in farm country. Republicans need a large turn-out here to help secure the state. Ohio Farmers for Romney launched its drive in late July. We visit a farming community and a farm to hear their take on the polls.
Day Three – Fri. Nov. 2 Cleveland, A Democratic Heartland The Lake Erie port is a city of contrasts: decades ago, it was racked by racial tension and occasional violence. But in 1967, Cleveland became the first major American city to elect a black mayor, Carl Stokes. Once heavily polluted it now has a strong environmental movement. The city is also home to the state’s largest newspaper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Democrats count on a big turnout in Cleveland. The afternoon in Cleveland is spent looking at the city’s revival – a challenge many former industrial cities in America have faced as Asia booms. Over dinner we get local Democratic perspectives on the state’s vote.
Day Four Sat. Nov. 3 Dayton, The American Bellwether Dayton has a reputation for being representative of the entire United States from a polltaker’s perspective. In other words, it has been considered a bellwether within the larger bellwether of Ohio. We visit the city with a pollster to see how they extrapolate the national picture from a city of just 140,000 people. US foreign and defense policy can also be felt here. The city is home to a large US air force base and a factory that refurbishes Abrams Tanks.
Day Five Sun Nov. 4, Mid-Morning flight to Washington DC. With two days to go before the vote a leading poll analyst takes us through predictions for Tuesday over lunch. We also take time to assess Obama’s first term with a prominent Democrat. Could he have done better? We also step back a little and look at how divided US politics has become – how did this evolve? A senior Republican politician gives his insight. Dinner and overnight in Washington.
Day Six Mon Nov. 5 – Visit to the bureau of one of the country’s leading newspapers in DC. Editors give their assessment of the election campaign. A constitutional expert briefs us on the electoral college – what could happen if the vote was as tight as it was in 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost the electoral college? We also look at how the campaign was financed with the Centre for Public Integrity. Rival Democrats and Republicans give their assessments a day before the poll. Free time to explore Washington in the afternoon.
Day Seven Tues Nov 6 – Polling Day We visit two DC suburbs. Washington remains a city of stark contrasts with wealthy and poor suburbs – we look at the get out to vote campaigns in both areas. Later we join a national TV studio as they assess the exit polls. We also look at how the polling companies assess the vote and race between the networks to declare the winner – how do they do it?
Day Eight Weds. Nov. 7 The Day After We look at the results as they come in with a former New York Times polling expert. There are options to join Democratic or Republican groups as the results come in over night. At brunch on Wednesday morning we review the election campaign with several commentators and look at the election’s decisive moments. Tour Ends