Which is better for the country: a close election or a clear mandate?
October 25th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Which is better for the country: a close election or a clear mandate?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With 12 days to go and polls tightening nationwide and in several key states, it looks like the 2012 presidential election just might be another nail biter.

That wasn't the case last time around.

In 2008, Barack Obama mopped the floor with John McCain, winning both the Electoral College and the popular vote by wide margins.

But the two presidential contests before that were close ones.

In the 2004 race between incumbent George W. Bush and John Kerry it all came down to the state of Ohio. That could very well be the case a week from Tuesday.

If Kerry had won Ohio, he would have been president.

Going back to 2000, it was even closer. So close it took 36 days and the Supreme Court to decide the winner.

The High Court effectively handed that election to George W. Bush over Al Gore after ordering the re-counting of ballots in Florida stopped.

The five-week drama of counting ballots, hanging chads and legal appeals took a toll on the country.

Fast forward to 2012 and what is by all accounts a tight race. Very tight. Not that long ago, President Obama was favored to win.

But after a monumentally bad first debate for the president and a strong month for Mitt Romney, the challenger now has the wind at his back.

When even The New York Times is out with a piece this week about how Romney has the momentum heading into the home stretch, it's an indication that we might be headed for another election all-nighter and then some.

Here’s my question to you: Which is better for the country: a close election or a clear mandate?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • United States
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Linda, St. Louis

    Which is better for the country? Obama/Biden 2012! Mitt Romney 47%, 1040!

    October 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  2. Shakeh

    My boy came from school yesterday. They had learned about "pros and cons". He says it made him thinking about PROgress vs. CONgress! I thought it was funny and worth sharing. This election will soon be over – thank God, but when the time comes to vote for the real change, let's not forget the people who the real free loaders are – not the 47%.

    October 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  3. Kevin SD CA

    Which is better for the country: a close election or a clear mandate? A clear mandate would be better for Romney, Ryan and the Country.
    The way Obama has treated the private sector; he and his communist associates need to be grabbed by the pants and thrown out on their butts and stripped of all their protections and benefits, and put on Obama care!

    October 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  4. Gretchen

    This is not the greatest of questions, Jack. It doesn't matter what's better for the country, because we won't have a clear mandate. I just hope the margins of victory in the swing states are high enough so the inevitable voter suppression and dirty tricks aren't what decide this race. We also don't want this election decided in the courts. No one wants another Bush v Gore.

    October 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  5. Greg Cox of Bremerton, WA

    It doesn't matter as long as Obama/Biden lose the electon.

    October 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Bob in Ohio

    Either one just shows the power the money from the uncontrolled "Super-Pacs" has. Millions and millions spent just to sway a handful of undecided voters in a few key states. The Supreme Court decided this election when it deemed corporations people.

    October 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  7. Terry in Virginia

    Unfortunately, both parties have a history of declaring a mandate even if the prevailing party wins by less than 100 votes. Here's the only mandate in this election: JOBS. So far, both parties have given lip service about that mandate to the voters for the last 2 elections. If the GOP and Dems continue playing games, we may well end up in a civil war, one in which both parties are ousted from power by The People. I'd prefer that be done with ballots not bullets. So, whoever wins in this election, they must work together for the better of all Americans, not just for their parties and special interest groups. PLEASE!

    October 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  8. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, Virginia

    A mandate, especially if it leaves egg on the faces of the media who tried to make it look like a close race and if it means the President has coattails in Congress to pass an agenda that moves us forward on tax reform (especially if it means only the wealthy need file taxes).

    October 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  9. Harold

    A close election doesn't interest me at all. America needs a clear mandate to move this country forward. Obama has failed on virtually every economic issue. Romney has the clear vision to begin the healing and work across the aisle. Imagine the mess that Obama will inherit that he created. Wise men and women want leadership, not rhetoric.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  10. maoriora

    A mandate would be best , but we're not going to get that.

    In days gone by, when a disaster occurred Wall Street wasn't held accountable. The chief, or a virgin was thrown into a volcano. It is to our credit that we are re-electing the president and that kim kardashian isn't running for her life.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  11. David of Alexandria VA

    This depends entirely on the character of the person who wins. I believe that there are about 15% hard right and 15% hard left people in the country. If someone gets a 51-49 victory and still tries to govern from their exteeme indeological minority, they do a disservice to the vast majortiy of the country who either did not support or did not fully support their election. Ironically, if you got a 75-25 split, the electee needs to respectful and not summarily dismissive of the 25%. We vote for leadership, not absolute authority.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  12. Mel - Houston

    On the surface it would seem that a close election would be better for the country. This would be true if both sides didn't engage in the practice of misinformation and the distrotion of the truth. If both parties would instead engage in a detailed discussion of current events maybe the general public would be more interested in politics. The stereotypical opinion of the general population believes that all politicians lie, so; why should I bother getting all excited about what they say. So, the answer to your question is neither would be better. Straight talk is the answer, that is why Ronald Reagan was known as the Great Communicator. Actually, he was just a good actor. He could tell you a lie and you would beleive it to be the truth.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  13. Doug Ericson

    To get a clear mandate you would have to have the same party, have a 2/3 majority in the House and Senate, and win the White House too. It would also help to have the Supreme Court in the majority party's pocket too. In that way the ruling party would not be able to hide behind the other dog, and would have to take responsiblilty for their actions. What do I mean by the other dog? Buy two puppies at once and you will see what I mean. In any case, I am with those that think we are in big trouble either way. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  14. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    A so-called "clear mandate" doesn't mean squat to Congress, they do whatever lines their pockets and enlarges their family fortune. A close race is no better, because it emboldens the wackos and nut jobs by creating the illusion that they are relavent. Politics in America has become a lose – lose situation for the average citizen.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  15. calaurore9

    The only hope for a break in the stalemate is a mandate.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    October 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  16. RickFromDetroit

    In a country as divided as the U.S. is, a close election would mean that 1/2 of the country does not agree with the other half. A clear mandate would only change these opinions slightly, possibly 55% to 45% at the most. This would mean that there is not going to be any "clear winners."

    We are a society of the haves & have nots, and we constantly move from one extreme to the other, the "left" or the "right." If we were a society that cared about, and provided for everyone, we would have a government that only targeted the middle, and then we could enjoy a "clear mandate," since everyone would benefit.

    Greed appears to be the major issue in our political system!

    October 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  17. jk in MN

    I'm not sure it matters either way; the GOP representatives seem to feel they HAVE to follow their leaders in lockstep whether it's good for the country or not; it seems almost fascist to me in how it's run in some ways. If things don't go their way, they look for ways to sabotage any progress lest the opposition party actually get anything improved. If the American public actually would take a good hard look at what the Congress has not accomplished and compare it to slow economic growth, it's pretty easy to see that most of the blame sits there. It's the sad state of our 2 party system today. It frankly scares me.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  18. Rich Texas

    In America a mandate means very little. You can issue all the mandates that you want but if the congress does not subscribe to those mandates there is little you can do about it. For example the congress has had a mandate for the last 4 years to pass a budget. They have yet to do that and the presidents term is up in 2 weeks. You see how well that mandate worked?

    October 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  19. Ed from California

    A Democratically controlled House and Senate is the key. Jack, Pres. Obama is in, and probably by a huge margin. I can't see the vast majority of this union voting for Willard. We need the democrats to get tough on outsourcing, get these jobs back here to the U.S. Once we get that in gear, let the rich have their tax breaks, or pay no tax at all, if that what floats their boat. We just need America building things again. Paying taxes to allow the rich to have their free ride as always.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  20. John from Alabama

    Jack: A clear mandate is better, but a win with 3% or more votes than the other guy is good. Remember, President George W. Bush won with just over 2% of the vote. President Bush used the term "political capital". We need a winner, and not a stalemate. Since 270 is a win in the electoral college. This is what a mandate will look like this election. We need a grand bargain in Congress not a 6 to 10 week battle after election day on November 6th. Compromise is not an ugly word, and moving for the people is great.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  21. Paul Austin Texas

    Close or a hudge blowout it should be the straight popular vote. The electoral college sytem should be discontinued by now I think the general public can be trusted to pick who they want without the electoral vote. Each vote should matter and if it is close then it shows the true feeling in the country.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  22. KB and JB - central Florida

    If it's close with Romney ahead, Obama will continue the driveby Chicago Politics to try to take it back. If it is close with Obama a little ahead, it will be just as bad or worse – we've seen how the current administration can be when "angry"...the old "my way or the highway" format.
    Needs (for the sake of our country) to be a clear mandate for the logical, reasonable, choice with the best chance of saving the U.S. from the further downhill slide of the past 4 yrs. R & R. !! Even though we are realistic enough to know, even if 'Romney by a landslide', a recount would probably be 'demanded'....
    and the thing about possibility of tie/split ticket final vote :(R/Pres., Biden/VP) – well....that ... I can only leave that to the imagination.
    and this thing from current admin. about "NOW I have a plan" and passing out that pile of blue folders – "now" he has a plan? supposedly "then" he had a plan...and see how that's worked out for us. (U.S.)
    the delay, deny, distort, distract tactics – the coverups - a clear mandate would be excellent way to put a stop to all that or the next four will be more of the same..

    October 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  23. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    As divided as the county is, nobody expects a clear mandate. I feel some people have fears of another "Florida" incident where the outcome of the election never seemed quite fair or right. I often wonder how different this country and the Middle East would be if Al Gore was elected President instead of Bush being "appointed." Alas, we will never know.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  24. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    A clear mandate is absolutely necessary if we are going to start to place the interest of the country before party and before no new tax pledges. It's going to take a mandate to neturalize Senators from making it priority to defeat the President before he has had an opportunity to implement a single policy. The voters need to send a clear signal that the partisanship has to go and it's time to get the peoples work done without hesitation or reservation.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  25. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Maybe a clear mandate would be better in the light of all the shenanigans going on in our not so democratic elections such as unlimited amounts of money, and voter suppression. I feel a sense of foreboding for our nation, and an uneasiness as Election Day nears. One wonders if Obama lost in this close election how people may react in light of voter suppression that that is keeping new and previous voters out of the electoral process. Yeah Jack, a mandate may negate a festering problem that could get nasty.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  26. wahela

    I would like a Clear mandate for President Obama. The only way we can force the GOP to quit obstructing and come to the table is if they know what the American people want. We need to bring back the moderate Republicans so we can get some compromising done. i am so tired of the obstructing and filibustering in Congress.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  27. Burt in AZ

    I think a clear mandate for Obama would send a message to the just say no Congress to start cooperate with the President and get things done.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  28. Coming in sense

    Remember Florida Jack, there goes your answer.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  29. bob z.

    with the way our country is divided i just want a honest and truthful one

    October 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm |

    tampa, fl voting out every incumbent would be a nice mandate from the voters.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  31. Loren, Chicago

    A close election or a clear mandate for President Obama is not better for the country. We have gotten a slight reveal of the promised change and it is too close to the failed policies of European socialists and one need only look at Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Great Britain and other countries to see that the Socialist vision does not lead to a sustainable economy. Let's not waste our time going farther down a failed path.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  32. George in PA

    Doesn't matter in the least. The legislature has ignored the public's wishes for so long now, they won't be affected one way or the other. What's best for the country is term limits and balanced budgets but we won't get either one in this election.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  33. annie, atlanta

    The clear mandate indicates yo-yo voting. Close elections appear to be based more on emotions. I'd like option 3 please, us inteligently choosing the guy who clearly is more representative of the majority of us. But that rarely comes to pass, especially when one side ramps up the hate your brother and thy neighbor machine.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  34. Susan

    Jack, you used to ask intelligent questions, but lately they've been pretty stupid.
    Obviously, the answer is a clear mandate. That way the winner can keep the losing party in check.
    If there is a close election, both parties will spend the next 4 years whining about the outcome, & will use that as an excuse to not do anything for the country.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  35. Andre R. Newcomb

    Neither. Good leadership with an eye to the future and remembering the past about how even someone born in a stable . . .

    October 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  36. Ed from MD

    If by "country" you mean the status quo then a close race is better. For example, if Coke and Pepsi were running for president a close race crowds out RC cola, without the close race the door is open for change.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  37. David, Tampa

    It really doesn't matter Jack. Whichever party wins, even by the narrowest of margins, will declare they have a mandate to do the next round of stupid is as stupid does. I don't trust any of these people anymore. They may have somebody's best interests at heart but it damn sure isn't mine. In the Democrats scheme of things I am but a means to an end, in the Republican scheme of things I rank just below Romney's dog tied to the roof of the family car. The party that gets its mandate will lead us over the cliff.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  38. Tyler G.

    While I am uncertain what you mean, exactly, I think a clear mandate is more important. If I understand your question.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  39. Richard Texas

    A presidential mandate is basically a myth. It simply does not exist. First off in a close election there may be many reasons why a candidate won over the other, It does not mean that one candidates ideas were brilliant or even good. What it means is that the other guys weren't especially brilliant or good. It could also be opting for the lesser of two evils or the devil you know vs the devil you don't know. Flipping a coin would yield just as good a result.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  40. BrainTurnedOff

    A clear mandate is what it is – a clear mandate. If it is a fair election the majority has spoken and the looser shall remain silent. No more bickering!. Am I dreaming?

    October 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  41. Andrew (Ohio)

    Jack this is an easy one for me. A clear mandate is the obvious choice in this question. I say this because close elections can end up like the Gore/Bush election and in reality a replay of that can possibly tear our country apart both in the goverment and outside the goverment. With a clear mandate there seem to be less tension due to the fact that mandate of this kind is a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative. This seems to be more civil and logical as well.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  42. harold

    a clear idea of what Romney plans to do I still haven't been able to figure that out & I'm a politcal news junkie .

    October 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  43. bonnie from NJ

    I would say a clear mandate, but only if my candidate wins!!! Otherwise, I want it very very close. I really hope the polls are wrong and Obama does win with a clear mandate to show the superconservatives that we do want compromise, jobs, no wars, and especially no more superconservative supreme court judges.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  44. Jay


    What would be best for our country at this time in history would be a clear and total mandate from the people for NEITHER of these two. We are already lost, we just don't know it yet. Ron Paul in ANY year!

    October 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  45. Don (Ottawa)

    Without a doubt a clear mandate is better than a close election. I want to know where we are headed and who is best to take us there. In this day and age of redistricting, electronic voting machines, voter suspression and other questionable schemes, the winner of a close election will always be suspect.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  46. Gary H. Boyd

    A mandate without question Jack since it would bring with it a Congress that is more unified and put an end to the partisan nonsense that has polarized Washington for the past two years. Without a clear majority in both houses of Congress, regardless of party, there can be no way to realistically address the fiscal cliff, deficit spending and the economy. Were Romney to win by a mandate, he would, no doubt, carry many Republicans with him into the Halls of Congress. If Obama wins, it will be by a very narrow margin and the Congress will remain divided.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    October 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  47. Mr. D

    The best thing for this country is getting past this election and accomplishing things that will get us moving again. Enough of this incoherent babbling!

    October 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  48. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    This election is between those who need to make a killing and those who need to earn a living. A clear mandate for one political philosophy over the other is not going to allow everyone to make a killing but might allow everyone to earn a living. A close election will keep us about where we are – fiercely partisan and resenting the divide.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  49. Charley

    Mitt Rommey scares me, to me he represents inflation / Kaos / greed / an strives to put women in their place attitude. I don't know anyone who's personal budget can operate in a trickle down direction.... Charley from Dahlonega Ga

    October 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  50. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    It won't matter, Jack. The fiscal cliff we are approaching will force the two parties to work together. It's a good opportunity for compromise on tax reform, long-term debt reduction, and – if they are smart – more stimulus in the short term. This is assuming there is a modicum of sanity left in Washington – a long shot, I'll grant you.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  51. Mike J.

    A clear mandate goofy. But when, where, and how are we going to find one.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  52. John from Santa Maria, CA

    A mandate might be possible through the electoral college, but in the actual vote count the country appears evenly divided. If there is a true mandate it will in the result of the house and senate races.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  53. BERT K. LA, CA

    Hi Jack, popularity is not an indicator for success as a President. Character is the best indicator of the kind of Commander in Chief a person will be. Consider the examples of “Honest Abe” and “Ike.” President Obama showed good character with the order for Operation Neptune Spear. Rather than take out bin Laden with a missile, he put his second term on the line to gain a treasure of al-Quada documents for his country. Romney wants to bag Big Bird? No matter how close in popularity, Obama is better for the country.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  54. Richard Texas

    Jack people tend to vote the way their parents voted before them. It does not mater who the candidate is. What maters in the party he/she belongs to and if you vote democrat your going to vote democrat and if you vote republican your going to vote republican no mater who they throw in the affray or under the bus to represent your preference of party. A mandate does not mean it was a good choice.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  55. Stan in Ohio

    Close,but because third party candidates got 10% of the total vote. That just might send a message to both parties.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  56. Brad, Portland, OR

    A clear mandate is better.

    But this will be a close election. The nation is too divided for anything else.

    I just hope that Congress will work with whoever the President is. It's ridiculous how obstructionist the Republican Congress has been, at the expense of the country.

    Republicans even turned a routine debt ceiling limit bill into a blackmail situation that resulted in the US losing its AAA credit rating. *And*, ultimately, they created the fiscal cliff that's coming up on Jan. 1.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  57. Pensacola Pete

    Obviously doesn't matter – Obama had a clear mandate in 2008 and all that did was make the Repubs so mad that they refused to work with him or the Dems on ANYTHING for the following four years.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  58. Thom Richer

    A clear mandate by far. I believe Obama/Biden have such a mandate versus the Romney/Ryan naive view that everything will be fine simply by electing them because they "...want" it. It seems that they really do not have a grasp on what it takes to be president and vice president in times such as these. They just don't seem to have what it takes or understand fully that the world is not going to cater to their every whim just because they are not Obama and Biden. I don't think they understand that the messes we are in economically, militarily, educationally, religiously, immigration wise, socially and employment wise are not solely because of Obama and Biden being in office for four years. This is scary in itself and even more scary that they have convinced so many that this is why we are in such chaos. Get rid of Obama and everything will be better automatically because Romney will be in office and that's all that is needed. No plan. No mandate. After the last debate, between Romney and Obama, Romney was more than clear that what Obama has done is what he and his party would have done and offered no alternative solutions should he actually be elected. I really do not believe he knows what he will do if elected. Other than his and Ryan's personal agenda, likened to Bush and Cheney, they have no direction for the country per se. Obama has done as much or more than anyone who would have sat in the White House these past few years and Romney knows it.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    October 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  59. gregory

    A close election give the canidates heartburn and the voter heartache, A landslide does the opposite.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  60. survalerie johnson

    Don't care.If romney get elected, more job pay cut and cheap labor.that what romney and his 1% plan for all of us in united states.That what he can't talk about.CHEAP LABOR

    October 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  61. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    What is better for the country is the defeat of Neanderthals like Romney and Ryan. The election of them would drive the country so far into the dark ages we would be envious of progressive countries Afghanistan. It's a shame that half of the coutry would prefer that scenario.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  62. J Moon

    A direct mandate would mean we are all of the same mind and would give total support to the elected, that could be good. I am absolutely surprise that Mitt Romney has done as great as he has considering that 90% or so of the media including ABC,NBC,CNN,MSNBC,CBS and so on are so unabashily totally biased. THe ten's of millions of dollars of free promotion for Obama and the same ten's of millions of dollars of negative press against Romney by the media. If the press and TV had allowed a level playing field by not being bias Romney would likely be 20 points ahead of Obama.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  63. Phyllis G Williams

    Which is better for the country: a close election or a clear mandate?

    Isn't it natural that those whose party is in front will say "Clear Mandate"
    and those whose party is behind will say "Close Election"?

    October 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  64. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    I would prefer a clear mandate, but that would be like asking Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to actually start telling the truth to the American people about why they make better White House material than Obama and Biden., or asking Donald Trump to open his tax returns for the past 20 years, for public scrutiny.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  65. Mycroft Lake Travis Texas

    The best for the country, Jack , Would be an Obama mandate victory and the GOP losing every race. It would send a strong message to the GOP to stop using Carl Roves manure slinging tactics. Carl could still spend his days making as much manure as he wishes, but GOP candidates won't be standing in line waiting for their portion of his next batch of fudge. That in itself would be a big improvement for the GOP. I remember with shocking amazement how Carl Rove brought to us the last 'privy son'(George W. Bush and Dick Cheney) and the results of that batch. The worst of all Presidents and Vice Presidents, torturers and War Criminals. We can only hope the voting machines aren't rigged this time and the Supreme Court doesn't ever select a President again , that is precisely why a mandate for Obama would be optimum for our country. I will take any Obama victory or start applying for consideration for a Canadian Citizenship immediately. I know what kind of disaster a Romney/Ryan term would be, it be like watching the Bush Administration plunge the USA into the abyss all over again. I wasn't fooled the first time and I won't be fooled this time. In close, I warn all USA citizens of Carl Roves fudge, just as long as he remains on his throne, the commode.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  66. doreen

    I want the President to win by a huge margin and Democrats to maintain Senate control and to take over the House control. This is the kind of mandate we need.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  67. Sean in Roseville California

    A clear mandate. Romney has a 5 point plan that he's spoken about for some time, while president Obama comes out with a picture book this week, calling it a "5 point plan", also. Does the president have a plan? If he does, i haven't heard it yet. All i've heard from the president lately, is Big Bird, Binders, Bayonets and Romnesia. How is this presenting a clear plan to get Americans working again? The president says to go to his website to read about his plan. Why not personally lay it out like Romney has regarding his plan? It's not hard to do. Attacking Romney only goes so far before people see through it and realize that there is no plan. A picture book two weeks before an election isn't a plan, it's an act of desperation.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  68. Bob Kansas City, Mo.

    Uh., neither a nail biter or runaway victory means much any more to the "little people".....whoever wins ultimately will do the bidding of the big campaign donors....they aren't giving away millions for nothing, period.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  69. Terri from Blountville, Tn

    With the problems with the Replican voter registrations, the registrations thrown in the garbage, the voter purge, the stories about the voting machines in Ohio and the accusations tossed at the Democrats about fraud, does anyone honestly believe there will not be some conspiracies pushed regardless of outcome? The current President has so many conspiracies floating about him now, should he win there will be some new government intervention conspiracy. If the Governor wins, there will be conspiracy theories thanks to the various reasons I listed. There will always be conspiracy theorists.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  70. Jerry Moon

    A clear mandate would be better. If the media (press, and TV) would not have been so bias, Romney would be 20 points ahead of Obama.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  71. Brian S.

    A clear mandate. No matter who is elected that person will most likely face a divided congress and a political atmosphere filled with partisan tension. If they hope to get anything done, a mandate will be necessary. If they lack a mandate, they will also lack the power and support they will need to enact their agenda. It's a sad commentary on our society when we have to say that a large mandate is needed just to accomplish basic goals of governance, but I truly fear that a close election might to more to entrench partisanship, rather than rectifying it.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  72. Karl in Flint, MI

    I think a clear mandate is best, particularly this election. It will tell the Neocon wing-nuts that their party is over and it's time to get serious about America or it will tell the sane people in this country, it's time to find a different place to live because the USA is has become wing nut heaven.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  73. Adam

    Your own poll said Obama won the last two debates. How exactly does Romney have the sails, when Obama Sunk him in the last TWO debates? Come on Jack, The media wants a close race, not the people, please don't be so "Fair" to Republicans, that you Downplay Democrats. Obama 2 Romney 1!

    October 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  74. Brian S.

    A clear mandate. No matter who is elected that person will most likely face a divided congress and a political atmosphere filled with partisan tension. If they hope to get anything done, a mandate will be necessary. If they lack a mandate, they will also lack the power and support they will need to enact their agenda. It's a sad commentary on our society when we have to say that a large mandate is needed just to accomplish basic goals of governance, but I truly fear that a close election might do more to entrench partisanship, rather than rectifying it.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  75. Elizabeth Lopez

    A clear mandate is better for the country because then Congress HAS to get along with the person elected our President. If Congress doesn't listen to the citizens' mandates this time, we'll throw the Republican bums out and sentence them to Bully School 101.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  76. David Doherty

    I think Jack the country can handle a close election, what they can't handle is if Eddie Munster and his father get in office. That would be the worst thing that could happen to this country/world. Remember the Mayan prophecy of 12/26/12,
    why push our luck?
    Dave from NH.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  77. Jennifer in Winnipeg

    Either way, Jack, it's not going to stop the 'in fighting'. Kinda reminds me of playing "Red Rover" in the school yard when I was but a girl.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  78. Dan Louisville, KY

    A clear mandate is far better. It may help pursuade Congress to accept Presidential leadership. We've seen a bitterly divided nation and closely divided government since 2000 at least (Clinton impeachment nonsense was earlier than that) which has produced national drift and stagnation ever since. I do remember one exception in that time. Despite the controversy of the 2000 election, on September 12, 2001 (after 9/11) citizen Al Gore publicly stated George W Bush is MY President, and I stand with my President. Compare that to the fake GOP hysteria over the Bengazi attack. What weasels!!!

    October 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  79. Gail, Plano TX.

    The election of 2000 was fixed. The election of 2004 manipulated to Bush's advantage. 2 men went to prison for tampering with tfe vote. This time around, the GOP has inserted voter suppression into the mix. And they get away with it! Why is CNN so afraid of the GOP? I have also observed that your pundits come from tfe GOP pool. It would be great to have a mandate again, but alas,, tfe GOP police will not permit it!
    They will be crying in their beer cine November 6.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  80. Stephen Blank,DDS

    If President Obama wins, it will be a mandate to the republican obsrtuctionist to co-operate or be voted out. Enough is enough. Congress has done more to hurt the American economy than the terrorists did.
    If Romney wins, we will go back to the 1940's and he will have both sides of every issue covered with his Romnesia. Women will earn less, minimum wage will be tossed out, so working people will have to double down to stay above water. The saving grace is his promise to get rid of inheritance tax! That will fix everything. We can all sit back and wait for trickle down to start. He will create 12 million jobs and that will fix the economy. When he fixes the economy, 12 million people will get jobs. That is the plan!

    October 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  81. Ed Crocheron, Venice, FL

    I don't think it really matters. All I can say with near certainty is that if Obama wins, the hatred that the republican party operatives have so carefully cultivated during this campaign will most likely intensify as he continues into his 2nd term. The folks on that side of the aisle have become disgraceful in their tactics. I've never seen a democratic hate sign produced for any election, yet the streets are littered with them attacking democratic candidates this year.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  82. Reggie53

    This 2012 presidential race will not be a close one. Romney/Ryan will come out the decisive winners and we will see a better and prosperous America in the next 4 years.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  83. Morris

    I like you Jack, for no reason at all. But I digress; A close election is better, it produces a polarized nation which is more democratic, even if not as productive.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  84. Paul in NC

    A clear mandate is always preferable but if it takes a close election to keep Willard out of the Oval Office and send the Koch brothers hand puppet back to Wisconsin then that is the better option for our nation. At any level keeping radical right wing extremists out of government is the better choice, no matter how close the election.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  85. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    A clear mandate hands down. I'm fed up with the divisive partisanship and would welcome a true majority across the board. All the BS reaching across the aisle posturing that is supposed to make a politician look and sound as if they are working hard for reform would be eliminated and something might actuality get done. I want to see the real progress of infrastructure being rebuilt not graphic displays of a trans vaginal ultrasound. I want to hear about success on the economic front not talk about legitimate rape. The extremists on the right have bogged this country down in the morass of their own discontent and have displayed all the characteristics of spoiled rotten children with colic. They've coordinated their efforts while holding a bible in one hand while the other hand grips the country by the throat. Who amongst us is not fed up?

    October 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  86. Deb from Skippack, PA

    A clear mandate would be 100% better, due to the fact that the republican governors in many states would not be fair if it came down to a recount. Scott in Florida and Corbett in Pennsylvania have both tried very hard to suppress the vote. I feel that this election has been a reflection of how money can control everything, and I am praying it doesn't dictate the election results. Because at that point we are then republican ran and paid for. What happened to the voice of regular people like me. Yes, they can create jobs if you can live off of minimum wage.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  87. Think for yourself in Ok

    Mandate. But if the left looses, everyone had better hide. Get your food bought now, get ready, because they will cause chaos if Romney wins.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  88. Sean in Roseville California

    Just wanted to correct my previous comment. I've heard a lot about Big Bird and Romnesia from the president. The binders and bayonets part, i heard talked about in the news media, not by the president.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  89. Bob Reed

    Regardless of who wins, it is imperative that our government begins to function again. There are so many problems that need attention and certainly if we start spending some money here in the U.S. instead of overseas on dealing with our deteriorating infrastructure, that will provide jobs and help to improve the economy.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  90. Charles - San Antonio

    The best outcome is a valid winner. Efforts to suppress the vote need to be stopped. I cannot believe that in this country at this time, we are actually seeing efforts by the republicans to steal the election through voter suppression. This is an insult to our democracy, an insult to all americans that have given thier lifes to allow us to vote, and should have real painful penalties. Until that time comes and the voter suppression stops, everyone eligiable to vote should do so with extreme diligence. And if you believe me, do not vote for amy republicans. Send them a message that this is not acceptable, not now, not here, not ever..

    October 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  91. Jake, West Palm Beach

    Mandate is better for breaking gridlock, f you call receiving 15% of eligible voters a mandate, But a landslide is irrelevant unless the voters give the President they elect a majority of the House and a filibuster proof Senate with those who share the President's legislative values – Bluedog democrats and RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) – don't count.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  92. Jim Charlotte NC

    Doesn't matter, we are a divided nation with too much hate for one another to ever heal.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  93. Mark Rattner

    The 2010 mid-term election was a clear mandate but the liberals still don't get it. Most Americans are fed up with the excessive government spending. Hopefully this election is a fiscal conservative landslide and the liberals understand it this time. In my opinion, a clear mandate is a better answer.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  94. Daniel

    Keep in mind that most polls are missing cell-phone only homes (those who do not have land-lines). Most of these people are younger, and often better educated, than average. How will they vote?

    October 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  95. Erik

    It doesn't matter if the vote is close or a mandate as long as one of the candidates wins both the popular and electoral vote. A split shows a flaw in the system.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  96. JJC

    Even though the President won handily in his first election it did not stop the vitriol. Sadly, with how divided this country has become, I don't think it will matter how close the election is or isn't. For the sake of the country I at least hope we do not have the situation where one candidate wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote. Even worse would be a tie which would have to be broken by the house of representitives.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  97. nick

    It's a mandate. Ryan will not be able to carry his own state of Wisconsin as Obama wll add Ohio and Iowa of the swing states to give him the minimum of 271 electorla votes to win.
    Romney can have all the rest (Florida, N. Carolina,Virginia,Nevada,N Hamsire and Colordo) and still lose.
    All this will happen unles there;s some shenanigans with Taggs voting machines.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  98. Ollie

    Recent history says it doesn't matter. President Obama came in on a Mandate election and was treated by the congress as if his win was a sort of 'sloppy seconds'. It was clear the country was/is seeking change, but it is also clear just how hard it is to do, to break the inertia of DC. Dubya came out on top of a couple squeekers and claimed a voter mandate and the proceeded to gut the economy.

    I think Clear Winners are better – the close calls leave too much bitterness . . . except, of course, 4 years ago.
    The bitter enmity started right away with 'worst president ever' even before he took the oath, and vows to tank the whole legislative process to keep President Obama from any sort of success.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  99. Bill, Bloomington Il

    A close election is not good for the country Jack. All the close elections we have had lately develope into big problems..

    October 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  100. Bill in VA

    In theory a clear mandate sounds better. But what is a clear mandate? Suppose a president from one party gets elected with 55+ percent of the vote, arguably a mandate. Yet those same voters give control of both houses of Coongress to the other party. Is that a mandate, and if so whose?

    October 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  101. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    I think a clear mandate would be the best, my opinion is the Democrats will win and a clear mandate may let the old fat evangelical republicans know that they are no longer in power and that the majority of the american people don't need them to tell us how to live our lives which is what they would like to do. Example is the idiot Mourdock that is running for the Senate in Indiana, he is a sorry excuse for a human being, hopefully when he loses his race he can tell himself that God want him to lose, that should make him feel a damn sight better.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  102. Mark.....in Houston


    Close or mandate, it shouldn't matter.

    However, we have a voter base divided sadly by prejudice, hate and anger which may soon start resulting in violent protest, no matter the margin of victory. It's become so bad I doubt the average voter could give you six fact based reasons to vote for their candidate of choice. A vote based on fact and knowledge is becoming something of the past. God help us if the electoral college count ends in a tie.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  103. Irish Seanachie from Maine

    Is this even relevant, in Maine we have a Governor that thinks he has a mandate and his election percentage was around 35 % . It use to be if a President received a large percentage Congress would tend to work with them. Our Congress is dis-functional so the width of the election victory by either candidate is mute. What we need is federal term limits on Congress, experience has gotten us nowhere we need new fresh ideas. If they knew that they would be in the job market after they had to leave office they actually might try to solve some of the problems they will be facing as we do every day. Slainte!

    October 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  104. Greg in St. Paul, MN

    Considering the behavior of the GOP since their hard right TP turn, the best case scenario for America's future is a Democrat mandate. The folks who parrot the "Dems had control for two years" posts conveniently neglect to mention the fact that Ted Kennedy's health issues made the supposed two year filibuster-proof mandate short lived.

    I would love to hear the media act all surprised election night and talk about the "complete rejection of the far right agenda" but given the intelligence of the average voter, I don't have much faith in this happening any time soon.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  105. Bruce in VA

    Oh for Pete's sake. The Supreme Court did not hand the election over to Bush. They said that you cannot keep counting and recounting votes in selected districts, over and over, using different criteria on how to deign intent, until you get the result you want.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  106. Dan from New York

    Our country is too divided to have any clear mandate. Neither side is ever going to accept defeat or any kind of majority decision won by the other side. There are going to be conformity problems and issues ahead. I believe there is even potential for factional succession. That's okay with me. If my side loses, I'm putting the dog on the roof and moving to Canada!

    October 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  107. zack newton

    Clear mandate let one side do what they want if it works great if not byebye oroville ca

    October 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  108. Mary

    It does not matter. A win is a win. Bush did not deserve to win after all these lies about the war that we did not need to fight and have so many of our young men and Iragis loose their lives. He won and we had to put up with him for another 4 years that contributed to an economic mess. Now Obama is being blamed for why he could not move mountains and get the economy back on track.......
    Romney will send us all to China and stay behind with his 1% ers. What a scary thing.........

    October 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  109. Jake, West Palm Beach

    Mandate is better for breaking gridlock, if you call receiving 15% of eligible voters a mandate, But a landslide is irrelevant unless the voters give the President they elect a majority of the House and a filibuster proof Senate with those who share the President's legislative values – Bluedog Democrats and RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) – shouldn’t count.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  110. Gigi Oregon

    A clear mandate is the answer with honesty in this election but alas...the Supreme Court sold out "we the people to Capitalism and the Elite." IF the race ends in President Obama winning we will see "America begin to build back what has been lost since Nixon was President". President Clinton 8 years, started a turn around and then all " Hell" broke loose. It's time clean up the mess made by the folly of the Bush wars. And give back the United States of America to "We the People" and not for "we the people" to become the pawns of the Elite Capitalist...

    October 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  111. Jane in CA

    I would prefer a mandate. At least in the popular vote, which may or may not actually be reflected in the electoral college totals. A strong popular and electoral margin would give the incoming president some justification for following through on his campaign promises and policy proposals, and give him extra leverage if the congress is divided, or majority opposition.
    Worst case would be a close vote, decided by lawsuits with a majority electoral and minority popular vote. I do expect a lot of lawsuits from disenfranchised citizens, illegal requirements at polling stations, and deliberate misinformation about dates and polling places by the clerks "responsible" for running local elections. And I do wish the next administrations justice department would look at the disenfranchisement of voters as a civil rights issue. Or at least have the Feds set the voting requirements for federal elections.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  112. Brad in Denver

    The idea that to be elected for Republicans is to stay right wing in the primaries then run to the center in the election is apparently true. Disappointing that American's can be so easily duped.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  113. Think for yourself in Ok

    Hoping that Romney wins in a landslide like Reagan, but that might be tooooooo much to ask. There are 47% of people who derive their income from the government.
    What happens when those on the dole outnumber those who aren't? I hope I am not around when that happens. Like Stalin, will the Progressive Marxist Socialist murder 1/4 of the population? Obama's friend Bill Ayers thinks they should.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  114. Ron, denver

    Jack, there is no close race. It is only the main stream media hyping up Mtyh Robme and Eddie Munster. Obama/Biden is the mandate and if America really choses Myth Robme and Eddie Munster that is exactly what the country will deserve. Right back to where we were under Bush/Cheney and disgruntled voters who believe not only is congress broken but so is our voting system OBAMA is my President here in COLORADO!!! Quit hyping up Myth Robme and Eddit Munster like they have any real credible ideas for America. They only favor the rich and the tea baggers. America be careful what u wish for. If Rombe wins, the taliban may be coming to a neighborhood near you........

    October 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  115. jfcritic

    I disagree about this election is going to be a nail biter, but it is going to be fun to watch the tally. Obama is going to win both the electorial college and the popular vote. The truely telling picture of America's voice will be the popular vote and by how much Obama wins by.

    The word 'Rape' will be the october surprise. What is sad, is the uncoordinated response by the GOP for damage control. They have taken a platform stance, turned it into a controversy, and now they are their own worst enemy clearly having lost control.

    One last thing, the undecided voters would have alredy choosen Romney if he really was that credible as an alternate choice. These undecided voters are really unsatisfied Obama voters looking for serious change. In the end, they will vote again for Obama.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  116. randy

    A third party and publicly financed elections.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  117. Jeff in Minnesota

    In a perfect world, a clear mandate would be great. But reality says that is not likely to happen. That said, in today's highly fragmented and minority opinion driven world, is there really such a thing as a "clear mandate" any more?

    October 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  118. DAT

    In 2004 Bush won by 1% and claimed he had a "mandate." So apparently whatever the outcome, the winner will be able to call it a "mandate."

    October 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  119. Peter Breet

    GRIDLOCK is best for America. Both Komrade Obama and Komrade ORomeny are fascists basically following the Marxist playbook. The more gridlock the better to prevent the govt from redistributing even more of my income to the looters.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  120. High Way

    A win is a win Jack, no matter how you slice or dice it. Remember when Bush won Florida in 2000 by a handful of votes?

    October 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  121. Peter

    Obama is still favored to win. At the end of the day his % of winning traditionally democratic states remains greater than Romney. Whether you view that from the actual % coming difference today, or historically, Romney has a tough road. Ohio is a must and he is currently down by around 6% and that is likely to climb before the election. The best and most accurate predictor out there is Nate Silver and pundits on both sides have a difficult time refuting his track record. Right now, he has Obama with at 71% chance of winning and based on latest polls, Romney's momentum has subsided (effectively running flat). Perhaps he will be wrong for the first time in a long time, but the fact he would be wrong with such a lopsided disparity seems improbable...not impossible, but improbable.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  122. Larry in Houston

    only 12 days to go – Which is better for the country: a close election or a clear mandate ? Definitely Not a Mandate –
    (unless you want the supreme court to decide it) ( and we've been down that road once already)
    This is my opinion and My Prediction regarding this presidential election cycle – Romney will end up defeating obama, on election day. I've predicted this for a yr. and a half. Obama will have it, as far as the POLLS go, all the way up to election day, Jack. Remeber when Carter was up all the way to election day ? and some say it was neck & neck the day of the election. Well, Guess what Jack ? – – – makes a person wonder , doesn't it ? I mean, here's the deal : You've got a "moderate" running against a "left of left" – – LOL – – But During the primaries, Romney was a true blue republican, so he could secure the nomination, okay, I get that, no problem. SO, After the primaries, his messages and speeches are more towards the "middle" – I guess you can say : "middle right" – THEN, as it gets closer to the Debates, as a matter of fact, during the debates, Romney's message IS : "middle / but leans left" LOL – – ( I really love this) NOW, during the last debate, he's in pretty much Agreement with the guy that is "left of left", on foreign policy – LOL – So Now, He's staying "center, (but Leans Left) BUT, That depends on who's listening to him, or whatever the crowd he is in front of. I mean, that Romney really tickles me. I mean, this guy is all over the map. He's saying what the crowd wants to hear, and to be perfectly honest, I don't blame him, after all, he's been running for the highest office of the land, for 400K per yr. ( for 6 yrs) for a guy that is a Billionaire, and will never have to work a day in his life anymore, if he wants. Truth be known, he's got enough money to take care of his kids, their friends, his in-laws / outlaws / And their friends / and anyone that I have not mentioned (of his friends) for the rest of their lives.
    SO, IF he gets elected, The question IS This : Will he Change Again, come January, when his regime takes over ? I'm talking about the affordable health care act / roe v. wade / womens rights / abortion / equal pay / and the list goes on . Will he decide at the Last Minute to Really Just "tweak it" (health care) or is he Just saying he will get rid of it the first day in office, Just to get the republican Vote ? Or will he go thru it, and decide to keep parts of it ?

    This is the problem I see with Romney – He isn't consistent, and never has been.

    I Voted early & voted a straight ticket – To be perfectly honest, it doesn't matter to me one way or another, who's going to be our next Commander in chief – I'm 57 years old, and have already paid my dues. The days of changing diapers / sending kids to school / college / and huge grocery bills are the thing of the past. I hope we get somebody in there, who actually cares about the middle class working people.

    May the Best Man Win – 2012

    October 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  123. John from Texas

    A clear mandate should provide the push needed to get the clowns in Washington (my apologies to any actual clowns that aren’t in politics) to work together for the country, not work against the other party at all costs. Especially if those costs are paid for by the hard working citizens (especially those that would be hard working if congress would’ve worked together to solve the economic problems and not simply tried to make it look like the other side is incompetent). I fear that a close election will simply give them the OK to continue to stall, dodge, or pass the buck around instead of actually fixing anything.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  124. Jim (retired AF colonel)

    Close or a wipeout, what's best for the country is an Obama win.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  125. Wes Campbell

    We need an Obama mandate only because it may finally convince the Republican party that right wing extremism isn't what the majority of Americans want. The GOP needs a kick in the pants to start fielding candidates worth a darn. That Mitt is the cream of the Republican crop is inexplicable and an embarrassment. The Republican party needs to stop being dominated by the Tea Party and Christian zealots and start listening to science (see global warming, evolution and the physiology of pregnancy). The biggest booms of the last half century were overseen by two-term Presidents of both parties so party ideology really doesn't matter. Obama didn't ruin our economy. Wall Street greed did. Our society is all about "me" with absolutely no "we" and when this country was most prosperous we had a healthy dose of both. Being an American used to mean something more than just looking out for yourself.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  126. R for reverse, D for driving this country forward to better times

    A win to Obama = clear mandate

    October 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  127. Name*john Velichko

    John Velichko. Boardman Ohio
    A close race is never good in this country because of the cheating that go's on with voting equipment. Even though no one admits to it we know it goes on. Close races can be decided by just a little cheating. Four years ago Ohio was very suspect to it. With Romney owning controlling interest in the company that supplies Ohio with voting machines I have to wonder.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  128. dsangiovanni

    What I know is who is better for the country : OBAMA.

    If Kerry had won Ohio, he would have been president. Yeah and we've had a different economic situation, and less death.
    We all know what happened with the Supreme Court and Justices appointed by Bush father.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  129. Ken in Chicago

    Canidates who win with what they call mandates tend to forget they are supposed to represent the interests of all the voters, even those who did not vote for them. And trying to lead to you mandate leads to trouble. For example Obama won with 52.9% of the vote in 2008 and he called that a mandate. Using that he tried to push through his agenda and views without taking others into account. And all he did was insult the 47.1% who did not vote for him, he polarized the country even more than before, and his actions created the Tea party backlash which took the House in 2010 from the Democrats and paralyzed the government.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  130. Valerie in Raleigh

    A defining mandate would be good but hightly unlikely. The country is just too divided. If the President wins and the Tea Party trouble-makers are voted out of the House of Rep., I feel the country could and would move forward. The Tea Party group have behaved shamefully and even the Republican Speaker of the House has not been able to pass any worthwhile legislation because of this group. It is my sincere hope that The Tea Party is over!

    October 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  131. Terrance

    It doesn't matter which outcome we're left with. If Congress continues to care about party over the people, a mandate is irrelevant. The only way a mandate will work is if a serious shift occurs in Congress. Otherwise, a close election will ensure gridlock until midterm elections and, by then, the next election cycle will have ensued and progress will come after politics once again.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  132. Tom

    Which ever one puts th emost capable and experienced person in the White House. We have data on the current guy to assess performance. The data is bad.... Very bad.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  133. redmal

    While it would be a mandate if Obama wins as he has been consistent in his policies and positions (i.e., raising taxes on the rich and caring for the safety net, increasing education etc), it can't be a clear mandate if Romney/Ryan win. Romeny has lied so much, people don't know what or who they are voting for. Are people voting for a conservative mandate or the liberal Romney mandate. Without a canidate being honest and consistent with his policy and position, there can be no mandate. For exampole, if Romeny wins Is this a mandate for overturning Roe v Wade, which the right wants, or not, because people are voting thinking Romeny will not do it.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  134. Steve

    Don't really care if the vote comes down to one vote. As long as it is my vote and that is against Obama !

    October 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  135. Renee, Illinois

    Depends on who wins. I recently took an online quiz that said I line up most with Jill Stein, the green candidate. Never heard of her. So now I'm debating whether to vote for her or Obama. I'm in Illinois, which is going blue anyway; it's not like my vote will swing the election. The only thing I'm certain of – if Romney wins, the 1% wins – and the rest of us lose. Kind of makes me look forward to the possibility of the Mayan armageddon.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  136. IVote

    Romney does not have the wind at his back Jack. Look at the latest polls. Votes for Obama are increasing, votes for Romney are stalled or declining.

    Once you stall, the wind is it is no longer at your back, and that eeeeven if you are still in lead. Just saying, important distinction.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  137. Cee. La.

    Obama had a clear mandate last time and all we got.....was the most obnoxious bunch of sore losers in history, so much so they decided from day one to oppose, obstruct, and otherwise.......block any and all meaning full legislation, that came from the mandated president...

    October 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  138. Brent in NC

    Unfortunately, Jack, it doesn't really matter. It would matter if we could vote for the best qualified candidates instead of those that suck the least. At this point, our government has become nothing more than a corrupt business that's "too big to fail", and has very little to offer the "customers" it exists to serve.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  139. bob

    Neither. We need Americans to step up – to become educated, to care about basic morality, and to value something other than their own immediate self interests. By educated, I mean having even a cursory understanding of science and technology. Neither presidential candidate has even rudimentary knowledge in these areas or any discernable quantitative skills, and that's tragic. MBA and JD degrees are essentially a type of welfare program for ambitious but stupid people. Moral people would never condone or try to cover up mass murder, such as the unnecessary military adventure in Iraq. Those who think kook religion and political ideology are a substitute for education – and these are mostly republicans – will either wake up of this country will completely fail, because other countries in the world do care about education and their people are not complacent dopes. These things matter – and illusory mandates do not.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  140. Adam

    What is best is for as many people as possible to vote for Romney (in other words, a clear mandate). Because that would mean as many people as possible had their heads screwed on straight.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  141. Lloyd Creech, an old Canadian

    a close election or a clear mandate doesn't matter, except for the fact of voter suppression by the Republicans.
    It is hard to believe that the election is so close. Do Americans really want to go back on the road to a Depression that was started by Bush/Cheney? Do they really want to continue the obstructionist policies of the Republican congress?
    Do they really want to have women relying on someone in a dark alley performing an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy? Do they really want to go back to segregation as the Republicans seem to want?

    October 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  142. Susan-NJ

    Every time we have a clear mandate nothing happens-Hillary Clinton could not get a reform medical package thru because she insulted everyone on the opposite side of the table thinking they did not matter. Close call means they work better together.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  143. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    A complete surprise would be even better. That's why I voted early for Gary Johnson. A vote for either Obama or Romney is a vote for Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan. I want somebody that thinks for themselves. A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for just that. Gary Johnson.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  144. Jim Shaw

    In 2010 the Republicans said they received a mandate from the people. They were asked to create jobs. To date, they have passed bills that do nothing for actual job creation.

    October 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm |