After a long campaign season of caucuses and primaries, attack ads, and Super PACs, many have noticed significant changes. This year, we've seen many more debates, an explosion in the use of digital media, and a decline of retail politics. Is this a troubling trend or the new reality for choosing a President?
Historically, young people have been much less likely to vote than older Americans.
That trend has started to change in the past few presidential election cycles, especially in 2008, when a census report found that 49 percent of those ages 18 to 24 who were eligible to vote participated in the presidential election.
One of the defining elements of the 2012 presidential campaign is money. Not that the candidates themselves have raised all that much; except for President Obama, they haven't. But two dozen wealthy Americans have put in at least $1 million each.
Mostly, they're a mix of Wall Street financiers and entrepreneurs. One of the biggest donors is Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate who is worth about $25 billion.
Redistricting is forcing a handful of congressional incumbents of the same party to run against each other in primaries. On March 6, Rep. Marcy Kaptur defeated fellow liberal Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio.
And next Tuesday, two conservative Republicans square off in Illinois.
The scene is the newly drawn 16th Congressional District, which covers mostly rural territory in the northern part of the state, curving around the suburbs and exurbs of Chicago, from the Wisconsin border north of Rockford to the Indiana border east of Kankakee.
There were a lot of good stories from the 2008 presidential election, including Hillary Clinton's serious run for the Democratic nomination, not to mention the election of the first African-American president. The whole story was covered in the bestselling — and controversial — book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, Game Change.
It's Super Tuesday for the Republican presidential contenders, and 10 states are holding primaries and caucuses.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hopes he can firm up his front-runner status — a status that, an NPR analysis shows, has so far involved his campaign and a pro-Romney superPAC burying the opposition with negative messages.
With 10 states holding Republican primaries or caucuses on March 6 — Super Tuesday — a lot of money is being spent on TV ads. The superPACs supporting the remaining GOP candidates have doled out some $12 million for ads in those states.
Leading the way is Restore Our Future, the superPAC that backs former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. According to Federal Election Commission numbers, Restore Our Future has spent $6.9 million on the Super Tuesday states.