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The 2012 American elections promise to be highly competitive. President Obama's electoral reversals in the 2010 midterms suggest he will face a strong challenge in 2012. The usually close partisan balance makes the elections an unusual opportunity for each of the two major parties, yet widespread dissatisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans opens the possibility of a major independent candidacy for the presidency. This book will assemble leading political scientists to explain the 2012 election results and their implications for America's future. In addition to assessing election results, the book will examine the consequences of the large ambitions of the Obama presidency and the political and policy risks entailed in the pursuit of those ambitions. It will also explore Congressional elections and policymaking since 2008 and how they affected election results in 2012. The book promises a more coherent focus than that evident in similar edited works, achieved through a limited number of chapters and clear definition of chapter content.