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The fact of the matter is, every state listed above all went for Obama in 2008. No state that was carried by John McCain is thought to be at risk for the Republicans. So the battleground will be in these seven states.

 

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Third parties. As is usually the case, the candidates representing minor parties are not expected to get any significant vote. The Libertarian Party, for example, is usually on the ballot in more states than any other third party. But the most votes a Libertarian presidential candidate ever received was the 921,299 (1.1 percent) won by Ed Clark in 1980. Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, is this year's Libertarian Party candidate. He's on the ballot in 48 states. He is followed by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, on the ballot in 38 states. Virgil Goode Jr., the former Democratic-turned-Independent-turned-Republican congressman from Virginia, is on 25 state ballots as the Constitution Party candidate. Of course, the one state to watch for any meaningful Goode vote is his home state of Virginia, where Obama and Romney are basically tied. He doesn't have to get much of a vote to make a difference. Remember 2000? Green Party nominee Ralph Nader only received 1.7 percent of the vote in Florida, one of his weakest showings of any state he appeared on the ballot that year. But that 1.7 percent translated into some 97,000 votes, which many Democrats insist cost Al Gore the state — and the presidency.

Among the other third party candidates this year include the actress Roseanne Barr, in five states as the Peace & Freedom Party nominee, and the Socialist Workers Party's James Harris, in six states.

Senate. Democrats, including two independents who vote with them, have a 53-47 majority. Of the 33 seats up for grabs tomorrow, 23 are held by the Democrats. Republicans need to have a net pickup of three seats, if Romney is elected, to win a Senate majority, four if Obama wins. The GOP is hoping to make gains in states being vacated by retiring Democrats, such as Wisconsin (where Herb Kohl is leaving), North Dakota (Kent Conrad), Nebraska (Ben Nelson) and Virginia (Jim Webb). But they are also hurt by Olympia Snowe's retirement in Maine and Dick Lugar's primary defeat in Indiana. Other Republican-held seats to watch are in Massachusetts, Arizona and Nevada. Democrats are worried about Sen. Jon Tester in Montana.


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