Latest polls show sportsmen can be the deciding factor

Sportsmen and women are gearing up for a big presidential election this fall as the Republican primary battles wind down and Mitt Romney shifts his focus to taking on President Obama.  Sportsmen will play a significant role in deciding who the next president is, as well as who will control Congress.   In addition to being politically important, many of these states are also some of the biggest sportsmen’s states in the nation, meaning hunters, anglers and trappers will have a direct influence on the outcomes of these elections.

2012 Presidential Race:

Polling over the past week shows a tight race in many of the key battleground states that will decide who will get to call the White House home next January.  (For poll results, click on the link)

Colorado:  Tie

Obama 47% – Romney 47%

Florida:  Romney +1

Obama 43% – Romney 44%

Missouri: Romney +3

Obama 45% – Romney 48%

North Carolina:  Obama +4

Obama 47% – Romney 43%

Each of these races (with the exception of North Carolina) is within the margin of error for the poll meaning the races are a statistical tie.

U.S. Senate Races:

In addition to deciding the fate of the presidential election, this fall many experts believe that control of the U.S. Senate could swap hands.  Currently, Senate Democrats have control of the chamber with 56 members (and two independents that typically vote with the Democrats) vs. the Republican’s 42 seats.  Right now, many prognosticators have the race evenly split with both parties projecting to have 45 safe seats.

That leaves 10 races that will likely decide which party controls the gavel.

Those states include: Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Here is where things stand with the latest polling:

Maine: King +34*

Former Gov. Angus King (I) 56% – ME Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) 22% – Former ME Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D) 12%

Massachusetts: Deadheat

Elizabeth Warren (D) 45% – Senator Scott Brown (R) 45%

Montana:  Rehberg +10

Congressman Denny Rehberg (R) 53% – Senator Jon Tester (D) 43%

Nevada:  Heller +11

Senator Dean Heller (R) 51% – Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D) 40%

New Mexico: Heinrich +5

Congressman Martin Heinrich (D) 48% – Former Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) 43%

Ohio:  Brown +3

Senator Sherrod Brown (D) 44% – Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) 41%

Virginia: Deadheat 

Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) 46% – Former Senator George Allen (R) 46%

Wisconsin: Thompson +4

Former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) 48% – Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D) 44%

(Note: Florida and Missouri’s Senate primaries have not yet taken place to determine who the Republican challenger will be in each case.)

*An interesting scenario could play out if Independent Angus King of Maine wins his race.   His choice of which party he will vote and caucus with (“caucus” means who he’ll meet/strategize with) could determine which party controls the chamber.  Right now, there are two Senate Independents – Joe Lieberman of CT and Bernard Sanders of VT – who both caucus with the Democrats.   If the toss up states break evenly for Republicans and Democrats, King could find himself as the ultimate swing vote and power player.

The Bottom Line:

It’s easy to read too much into one poll as a clear indication of what’s to come.  Instead, a poll should be viewed as a snapshot of the moment it was taken.  Regardless, it is clear sportsmen will have the opportunity to drastically change the political landscape this fall.

Sportsmen are a significant voting bloc that could easily determine many of these elections.  But in order to have our voice heard, we must get out and vote.  We must reach out to the candidate’s and let them know what we expect of them.  It’s more than just an ardent support of the 2nd Amendment.    It’s about access to our public land for hunting – such as the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.  It’s about preventing radical animal rights extremists from dictating their views to rest of America.  It’s about Protecting What’s Right for future generations – and it starts in the voting booth this November.

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