NEWS: 2012 Election Day ... in slices

Yahoo News

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A voter signs in to cast a ballot at the old Brown School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in rural Wellsville, Kan. After …

And we're off.

In a way, the millions of Americans who will cast their ballot at their neighborhood polling stations on Election Day can either be seen as staunch traditionalists or procrastinators. Early and absentee ballot voting have hit record highs in California, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and many other states. (Oregon and Washington of course have long led that trend, since all ballots are mail-in.)

Still, there's a weary exhilaration that a long, turbulent election slog will soon be over. Let's tune in and see what political issues people throughout the United States are searching for on Yahoo! on Election Day. (Check back in: We will be updating throughout the day, with the most recent at top. All times noted are the area's local time.)

Related: Yahoo! Election Control Room

Related: Election Day, in pictures

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Confetti obscures the stage as U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates after winning the U.S. presidential election …

Searches on Yahoo!, from across the nation, after Obama's second term is confirmed

  1. 2012 Election Results
  2. 2012 Electoral Map, Election Map
  3. Who Won the Popular Vote, Presidential Popular Vote 2012 Results, Popular Vote Totals 2012
  4. California Propositions
  5. Obama Acceptance Speech, Obama's Victory Speech
  6. Colorado Marijuana Legalization 2012
  7. Michele Bachmann
  8. California Proposition Results
  9. Jesse Jackson Jr.
  10. Mitt Romney Concession Speech

Political figures rising in national searches: 8:15 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. (local times)

Before networks called the election for Mitt Romney, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight blog had been the man of the hour, leading searches on Yahoo! for newsmakers, media hosts, and politicians. Now all lookups are on Mitt Romney, followed by Silver, Chris Murphy, Tammy Duckworth, Karl Rove, Roseanne Barr, Wolf Blitzer, George Stephanopoulos, Jimmy Carter, Tammy Baldwin.

Searches on Yahoo! across the nation: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (local times)
Political-related searches

  1. Presidential polls
  2. Ohio Exit Polls 2012
  3. Electoral Votes 2012
  4. Presidential Election Results
  5. Who's Winning the Election
  6. Poll Results
  7. MSNBC Election Polls
  8. Online Voting Presidential Election
  9. Washington State Election Result
  10. 2008 Election Results
Other political-related searches: "ohio results," "nate silver," "voter turnout 2012," "florida election results," "george bush votes for obama" (a hoax).

Boston: 6 p.m.
Another two hours to go, and the expensively cutthroat Senate race between challenger Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Scott Brown will be finished one way or another. Bostonians are reviewing "massachusetts senate race polls 2012," but final numbers are still far from decided. Understandably, more immediate numbers that can be grasped are "cost of presidential election" (nearly $2 billion, which probably wasn't the kind of economic stimulus people were asking for). As though this election weren't enough, people here are looking at "18th party congress," which actually comprises China's new rulers.

Louisville, Ky.: 4 p.m.
The two states that ban booze on Election Day also close up election shop first. None too soon for the Bluegrass State, where residents in Louisville are still (and perhaps forlornly) searching "kentucky election day alcohol sales" and "election day beer sales" on Yahoo!. With two hours to go, people are asking "when will polls start reporting" and looking at "early voting analysis." But, some are still mulling over "romney or obama better president," "mitt romney's stand on issues," "where to vote in kentucky," and "election voting booths." While the state may have been lukewarm toward the president, lookups such as "romney profiteering" and "obama romney jokes" aren't exactly encouraging. Local issues include "kentucky constitution amendment 2012" and "kentucky hunting and fishing amendment," in which voters decide whether hunting rights should be part of their state constitution. But, just 'cuz they have to stay dry doesn't mean they can't enjoy themselves: Searches are gearing up for "election party recipes."

Denver: 2:45 p.m.
People here may be calculating "why popular vote doesn't matter," but they do know every vote counts for local contests such as the "colorado judges election 2012" as well as for "colorado 2012 ballot measures." The searches on Yahoo! are still going strong for polling locations ("ballot drop off denver") and evaluating the latest results ("obama chances of winning"), but it's tempting just to peek over at what Ohio is doing ("who is leading ohio"), because no president has ever lost the Buckeye State. Like in so many other areas, Denver residents plan to celebrate the end of a contentious season ("election day party recipes" and "free presidential election games). 

Searches across the nation: 1-4 p.m.
Bubbling to the top of national searches:

  1. Electoral Votes 2012
  2. 2012 Election Results
  3. Exit Poll Ohio
  4. Presidential Election Results
  5. Early Voting Results 2012
  6. Florida Amendments 2012 Ballot
  7. Who's Winning the Election
  8. Latest 2012 Election Predictions
  9. Election Coverage
  10. Ballot for 2012 Elections
  11. Sample Ballot 2012
  12. Dixville Notch
  13. Electoral College Map
  14. Vote Online for President
  15. Provisional Ballots
  16. California Proposition
  17. Election Day 2012
  18. Election Map
  19. Where Do I Vote
  20. Early Election Returns

Chicago: 2:45 p.m.
Lots for the Windy City to ruminate, in local races ("judy biggert 2012 election," "illinois judges election," "leslie coolidge for congress") and big amendments ("illinois constitution amendment"). Although Obama is a native son of sorts, some are critically examining Romney's merits — and his assets ("mitt romney medicare reform," "mitt romney house pictures"). As for Obama, searches are for the convention center party that may see an appearance by the president ("mccormick place election night," "obama mccormick place," "mccormick place election night") . One politician people are watching, however, isn't up for re-election at all—but fighting for something bigger. Sen. Mark Kirk won the seat once occupied by Obama, but then suffered a massive stroke nine months ago. He made his first public appearance this month, climbing 37 flights of stairs for charity and making robo-calls.


Salt Lake City: 2:30 p.m.
Utah folks pay homage to "president george bush sr," perhaps because his former official and former Utah governor Leavitt is heading Romney's transitional team. (People are also paying homage to "bigfoot in provo canyon," but that's another story.) As another Postum break approaches, people here are checking "election coverage 2012 live," "wall street election predictions" and "real time election updates." Endorsement are getting the once-over, from "celebrities who endorse obama" to "who is endorsing mitt romney." More logistical issues are capturing attention on Yahoo! Search as well, especially those pesky "voting machine problems 2012." Residents are evaluating the "utah senate race" as well as contests in other states, including "bob kerrey senate 2012." As for the big presidential race, online sentiment is split between "obama is going to win" and "obama will lose election."

New Orleans: 3 p.m.
Is it really time for "election night desserts"? Whoever and whatever go down on election night, this town will have its comfort foods. But before dessert is homework, and some are going back not just to the past election ("2008 presidential election predictions"), but to the flapper era ("1920 presidential election" and "1924 presidential election").  Not that they're stuck in the past here: They've been checking their online voter portal, "geaux vote louisiana ballots." Residents also are making sure they know their civic rights ("voter intimidation laws") and know how to grouse ("election hotline"). Now, as for the issues themselves, they're pretty straightforward: figure out "election day amendments," consult "times picayune election recommendations" and determine once and for all, "democratic or republican." That's it.

San Francisco Bay Area: 10:45 a.m.
Leave it to the Bay Area to check public radio and television for guidelines ("kqed election recommendations"). The propositions are a main focus, and it's neck and neck as voters drill down on Yahoo! Search "who is against prop 37" and "who supports prop 37," the initiative that would require labels on "raw or processed foods" made from plants or animals with "genetic materials changed in specific ways." Proposition 30, which seeks sales and income tax increases for education, has drawn attention to its backer ("citizens for california reform"). For races, one upstart is challenging Congressman Pete Stark's 40-year reign ("eric swalwell for congress"), as well as the "california senate race." Those who've done their homework early are seeking instructions on how to "drop off ballots," others searching "when is us election day" may be a little behind the ball. Being Californians, a query like "is denzel washington a republican" is a very natural one to pose.

Cleveland: 10:30 a.m.
Really, searches for the president's dog ("bo the dog obama")? Ok, who can resist a Portuguese water dog. Residents are also getting down to the facts on national issues ("facts about the presidential candidates," "facts on barack obama") now that they've had all the party planning covered ("barack obama rally," "election night food ideas"). Presidential endorsements being weighed come from mayors to musicians ("bloomberg endorsement," "bob dylan obama landslide"), questions are being asked ("obama bankrupt coal," "mitt romney address," "uaw charges romney," "mitt romney election day campaigning," "mitt romney lynchburg va," "mitt romney paid no taxes," "will romney win michigan"), and there is some attention being paid to the Roseanne Barr-Cindy Sheehan ticket ("green party president 2012"). There's also focus on local concerns ("cuyahoga county election issues," "election issues in ohio," "lake county ohio election issues," "lorain county election issues")

Miami-Fort Lauderdale: 1:30 pm.
Sure, Miami residents are looking for their polling locations ("where to vote boca raton," "miami dade voting locations," "broward county voting locations"), but they're also preoccupied with the spiritual beliefs of the Republican vice-presidential candidate ("paul ryan judeo-christian," "ryan christian values").  Not surprisingly, Florida residents monitor how their elections are run ("supervisor of elections miami dade," "miami dade county elections department," "florida division of election"). Consideration is paid towards local contests ("florida senate race 2012 poll"), but the bigger focus is on the national race (" presidential election issues 2012," "obama accomplishments 2012," "why not vote for romney," "prediction election map"). Here, people consult the wisdom of innocents ("2012 kindergarten presidential election"). And some are looking into the future ("john boehner president").

Nashville: 1 p.m.
A downer of a search from Music City: "why your vote doesn't matter." Still, that's not dissuading others from checking for "nashville voting locations" and figuring out the "2012 state electoral vote." Among local contests, one candidate for a congressional race, "scott desjarlais," is under scrutiny: His divorce trial transcripts were released to the public, but not in time for Election Day. Late queries are comparing the candidates side by side, as they examine "romney vs. obama differences" and "team obama vs. team romney." Residents have specific queries about the president, including "deficit when obama took office," "what are obama's political views" and "obama on libya." Questions about the opposition are more general ("2012 republican platform"), and a few are harking back to other presidential election scenarios that might be repeated ("gore bush popular vote"). And while San Diego, below, was looking for a prayer, Nashville was evaluating "presidential election superstitions."

Phoenix: 12:45 p.m.
Consideration is being paid to "2012 arizona candidates" on Yahoo! Search, among them "john pelander arizona supreme court," "jonathan paton for congress," "vernon parker for congress," and "martha mcsally for congress." Some are bullish on Romney ("mitt romney next president," "george will predicts romney win," "paul ryan election night"), while others are reviewing the enthusiasm for the current Oval Office occupant ("barack obama rally"). As for curiosity about other states, Phoenix folks seem especially interested in the cannabis movement ("will washington legalize marijuana" and "will colorado legalize marijuana"). Despite the majority of searches checking for polling locations, there are some who ask "when is the 2012 election." Perhaps it's a philosophical question.

Raleigh: 12:45 p.m.
The Triangle believes in doing math, as residents calculate "gas prices during obama presidency." Queries still show some are still researching the candidates ("short biography on barack obama," "libertarian candidate 2012 president," "governor gary johnson," "mitt romney welfare," "mitt romney federal charges," "obama's view on healthcare" and "choices for president 2012"). Local issues includes a look at "david s robinson judge," "nc republican judges," and "candidates for nc governor 2012." There's also interest in the process itself in North Carolina and elsewhere, as people check into "wait times at polling locations." And there are priorities, of course, like "free food election day 2012."


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The City of Detroit has begun the tedious process of drawing up specific voting districts.

Detroit: Noon
First, let's get this nonpolitical question out of the way: For those searching "brad pitt dead," the actor is alive and well. Now that we've fact-checked that one, residents are reviewing the "detroit news endorsements" to help them guide their decisions. Of interest are the "6 michigan ballot proposals 2012," especially the "michigan 2012 proposal 5" that would require a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber of the Michigan Legislature to pass any tax increases. Among the local politicians popping in on Yahoo! Search in Detroit are "kevin howley oakland county executive" and "pete hoekstra for senate" but the presidential candidates are dominating Yahoo! search here. Some queries might be coming from the schoolkids ("is mitt romney a republican," "what party is barack obama"). Contradictions are in play ("obama loses reelection," "obama ahead in early voting"), as is ambiguity ("mitt romney blind trust").

Columbus, Ohio: Noon
What's it like to be the focus of a nation? Well, the good people of Columbus are living up to their civic duties — searches on Yahoo! have been heavily political all day ("fairfield county ohio elections," "perry county ohio election candidates," "current standings on the election," "ohio election 2012 results"). Nagging questions that even the advent of Election Day has not resolved remain, such as "is obama republican" and getting their colors straight ("republican red democrat blue"). One thing about Ohio — citizens here are willing to hear other people's testimonials ("chris rock on president obama," "barack obama bruce springsteen," "rudy giuliani on obama," "jay-z and obama"). They're also considering last campaign pitches, even at this late date ("obama rally columbus ohio," "mitt romney last speech").

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Atlanta: Noon
Politics is a spectator sport here in A-Town, as people search on Yahoo! "where to watch elections." Already they've been evaluating polls across the nation ("current swing state polls," "polls 2012 florida," "live presidential poll results"), but not without a little skepticism ("how accurate are presidential polls"). They want names ("who are electoral college members") and they never forget — well, at least they want to remember ("1980 presidential electoral college vote"). The presidential contest is the main focus ("obama voting is the best revenge," "obama threatens western values," "barack obama accomplishments as president," "protesters at obama rally," "biography mitt romney," "mitt romney michigan"). And as if the elections weren't strange and contentious enough, some are wondering about the "ufo sighting 2012." 

Philadelphia: 11:30 a.m.
The day's almost half over, but we all have a long way to go. Lunchtime might be a good time to check out the "philadelphia polling locations," "voting locations in my area" and "voting poll hours in pennsylvania." Philadelphians have been tracking those "election day 2012 updates" and seeking "early election results in pennsylvania," and there is lingering uncertainty in the "pennsylvania voter id law." The impatience is clear ("when is the election decided"), but others are still doing their due diligence ("is romney for gay marriage," "clinton in blue bell," "where is mitt romney," "why obama should be president," "who thinks romney will win"). And because you never know with this guy: "where is donald trump."

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San Diego: 7:30 a.m.
Connecticut's not the only place thinking of "presidential election party ideas." Some are tuning into "roger hedgecock election"; the former San Diego mayor is also a conservative talk show host in the area. People here are checking up on the many initiatives ("polls on prop 30," "california ballot initiatives," "election day propositions," "california prop b," "california republican propositions 2012"). A few are checking their political history ("popular vote for 2008," "election polls 2010," "john adams by david mccullogh") and more recent developments ("states that allow gay marriage). And no harm in looking for "a prayer for election day 2012."

Houston: 9:30 a.m.
Location, location, location: "harris county poll locations," "voting locations fort bend," and "voting locations montgomery county." Houston knows how to take advantage of the day, as queries pop up for "election day special sales."  Local interest percolates over the story of a "shell station with obama hanging," which actually isn't related to the election: The rumor was that an effigy of Obama was hanging at a Shell gas station, but according to KHOU, the picture is actually of one of many hanging mannequins at a trailer called Mobile Gallows. For the past three years, a North Carolina man has been trying to get attention for an alleged failure to investigate murder and corruption in his county. He added Obama when a federal investigation didn't launch. (The man has posted this on YouTube.)

Oklahoma City: 9 a.m.
Here comes judgment day, as voters ponder the "oklahoma judges election 2012," plus a little catch-up on "who is running for congress." In general, residents are cramming the "oklahoma ballot questions 2012," with regional focus ("tulsa county election ballot," "lincoln county oklahoma election," "rogers county election board," "creek county election board"). Teachers are doing their own homework to impart civic learnings ("presidential election lesson plans"). The more philosophical ask, "why is election in november." On the national front, searches on Yahoo! include "what happens if obama loses," "photos of presidential candidates," "electoral vote versus popular vote," "jeff boss for president," "2012 presidential candidates views," "will obama win ohio," "why obama will lose," "barack obama shirts," "george will predicts romney landslide," and "define democrat." A little late for some to ask "when is presidential election day." Not too soon to ask "what time is election over."

Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina: 10 a.m.
Some are wondering "can you still vote early," although the point may be moot. The query on Yahoo! Search, "will colorado legalize marijuana," is another burning question. Civic lessons abound, as people figure out "limited ballot voting," "understanding presidential election," "example of voting ballot," and "when will votes be tallied." Other searches range from general ("how is the election going") to predictions ("fox news predicts obama win," "obama predicted to win"). Indeed, some are looking far ahead to "when is election day 2013." Other political searches: "election day facts," "romney vetoes governor," "debra goldman state auditor," "dan forest for lt governor," "pat mccrory for governor." And then there is the peek at other states' strange customs — "no alcohol on election day," "alcohol on election day" (Kentucky and South Carolina ban them) — and rumors of "election day riots"  (unrelated to the alcohol. Maybe).

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Under the lights of a generator, poll workers and voting machines voters wait outside of a tent serving as a polling …

New York City: 7 a.m.
New Yorkers are still focused on getting around ("mta updates subway," "nj transit fairs"), getting gassed up ("open gas stations long island"), looking for help ("federal disaster assistance," "fema food assistance"), and helping in the aftermath of the superstorm ("volunteer sandy"). They are also determinedly making their way to "voting locations nyc" (also "suffolk county voting locations," "nassau county ny voting locations") and perhaps re-evaluating candidates in light of the natural disaster ("romney hurricane sandy"). One of the stories they're monitoring: "naacp at polling polls" — the group is monitoring voter fraud in various states.

Hartford-New Haven: 7 a.m.
Storm damage also preoccupies the minds of Connecticut residents, but they are heavily focused on political news. People are checking out logistics in their own backyard ("ct sample ballot 2012," "ct senate candidates"), next door ("new hampshire presidential election results"), beyond ("illinois senate election 2012," "puerto rico election results"), and way beyond ("ukrainian election results"). Other research: "when was romney governor," "obama and romney issues," "barack obama jokes," "romney has no chance," "gary johnson vice president," "retired generals for romney," "john henry decker congress," "andrew roraback congress," "ohio romney polls," "2012 election candidate views," "2012 house of representative predictions," "what does congress do."

And the area of Hartford-New Haven know how to make a party out of politics: Lookups are trending for "election food," "election day food ideas," "katy perry election outfit," "betting election," and "presidential election game."

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