- swing state(n.): states in which there are many undecided voters, making it difficult for experts to predict whether a state will vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate. For the 2012 election (according to the Washington Post), Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Iowa are swing states.
- absentee ballot(n.): a mail-in ballot used by Americans living or working abroad including U.S. military personnel.
- incumbent (n.): the candidate running who is currently holding office. In this election, Obama is the incumbent.
- dark horse(n.): a term used in gambling to describe a competitor or candidate that suprisingly upsets the expected outcome. We also use the term´underdog', which expresses the idea of a disadvantaged player.
- GOP(n.): this acronym stands for Grand Old Party, or the Republican Party. Curiously enough, it was founded by anti-slavery activists in the mid-1800.
- partisan(adj.): this term simply means committed, belonging to or favoring one party or another.
- landslide(n.): overwhelming victory, winning by a landslide means winning by a wide margin.
- platform(n.): this is used to describe the policies, objectives and beliefs that define the campaign of a candidate. For example, Obama's platform includes universal healthcare, Romney's, lower taxes.
- straight vs. split ticket(n., adv.): A straight ticket is voting strictly based on party affiliation--voting for either all Democrat, Republican or Independent runners--while a split ticket is a ballot with candidates from more than one party. For example, voting for Romney and a Democratic senator would be a split ticket.
- exit poll: An exit poll is conducted right after voters have submitted their ballots.