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Nonpartisan Presidential and Senate Candidate Guides

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Are you looking for nonpartisan guides to the presidential election and selected Senate and House races, ones that simply contrast candidate stands? The Campus Election Engagement Project, a nonpartisan effort to get students involved in the election, has produced guides for the presidential race, the key Senate races, and selected House races that institutions like colleges and other nonprofits can circulate to give their communities accurate information in a way that they can't with a more partisan guide.

Here's our Presidential Guide below. We've also created comparable guides to key Senate and House races:

Senate races: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania,Virginia and Wisconsin. House races: New York's 18th, 24th and 27th districts, Ohio's 16th, Colorado's 6th, Nevada's 3rd, Florida's 18th, Michigan's 1st and 11th, North Carolina's 7th and Pennsylvania's 12th. Again, click here to download any of these specific guides.

Campus Election Engagement Project
2012 Presidential Election Voter Guide:
The Candidates on the Issues

Budget, Spending and Taxes:

• Is balancing the budget an administrative priority?
Obama: Yes, but not a high priority.
Romney: Yes, a very high priority.
• In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.
• In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Obama: Yes -- raise taxes on income above $250,000 by allowing Bush tax cuts on that bracket to expire.
Romney: No -- keep all Bush-era tax cuts.
• In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing Medicaid spending?
Obama: No.
Romney: Yes.
• In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing Medicare spending?
Obama: No.
Romney: Yes.

Campaign Finance:

• Do you support the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?
Obama: No.
Romney: Yes.
• Do you support the DISCLOSE Act, which would require key funders of political ads to put their names on those ads?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No clear position, but most fellow Republicans oppose the bill.

Economy:

• Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.
• Do you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: Yes.
• Do you support spending on infrastructure projects for the purposes of job creation?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: Yes, but less so than the president.
• Do you support the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act, which established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.

Education:

• Do you support increased federal aid to college students to help with the cost of their education?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.
• Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
Obama: Yes -- states need firm standards.
Romney: No -- cut back federal involvement in education.

Environment and Energy:

• Do you believe human activity is a major driving force in climate change?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: Position has varied -- but recently no.
• Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.
• Do you favor government support for alternative energy?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.
• Do you generally support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
Obama: No.
Romney: Yes.

Foreign Policy:

• Do you support the United States' combat operations in Afghanistan?
Obama: Yes, with a timetable to withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.
Romney: Yes, aiming to withdraw by the end of 2014 but with no deadline.
• Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: Yes.

Guns:

• Do you generally support restrictions on the sale and possession of guns?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.

Health Care:

• Do you support the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.
• Should individuals be required to purchase health insurance, with assistance from government subsidies for small businesses and low-income individuals, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No.
• Should insurance companies be required to cover patients with pre-existing conditions, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: Only if they've maintained continuous coverage.

Immigration:

• Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
Obama: No.
Romney: Yes.
• Do you support the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to stay in this country if they've graduated high school, have a clean legal record and attend college or serve in the military?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No

Social Issues:

• Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Obama: Pro-choice.
Romney: Pro-life.
• Do you support same-sex marriage?
Obama: Yes.
Romney: No -- also no to civil unions.

Social Security:

• Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Obama: No -- this option seems too vulnerable to market volatility.
Romney: Yes -- this would let retirees benefit more from strong markets.

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a non-partisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and staff get their students engaged in the election, which was founded by Paul Loeb. Candidate positions are drawn primarily from the Project Vote Smart, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization providing factual, unbiased information on candidates, officials, issues, and legislation, with positions inferred from candidate stands and more detailed information available on the candidates' Issue Position pages. See also the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School's FactCheck.org, which lets you search the truth of candidate stands.

For a comprehensive guide to all races including state initiatives and local Congressional and legislative races, see Vote411.org, created by the League of Women Voters. You enter your address, or the address of your school, and click "Get Personalized Information on Candidates and Issues," and it will give you information provided by the respective campaigns on their stands, taking you first through national races, then statewide races, then local ones. You do have to scroll down to the bottom where it offers a comparison, because checking the box by a candidate won't automatically bring up their stands.

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