US Election: From felons to law suits - 12 interesting things you might not know about the US election

President Barack Obama takes the stage at a rally for the Hillary Clinton campaign at the University

President Barack Obama takes the stage at a rally for the Hillary Clinton campaign at the University of Central Florida (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) - Credit: AP

I went back to school for lectures from politics professor Paul Beck and law professor Daniel Tokaji at Columbus University in Ohio. Here are 10 things I learnt.

<t> Ninety per cent of Americans have already made up their minds about who they will back. They start with their party and view the world through the eyes of their partisan attachments. So much so that even after Democratic President Barack Obama released his birth certificate, some Republicans still didn't believe he was born in the USA.

<t> Undecideds are people who play little attention to politics. They are moved by headlines and events captured by headlines. The people who know the least are going to be the ones who decide this election.


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<t> Only 29pc of Americans felt satisfied with the USA at the end of 2015. Much lower than at other times in history.

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<t> Whoever wins will not be very popular. Both candidates' favourability ratings are 'significantly under water'. Donald Trump has 61pc unfavourable ratings to a 37pc favourable ratings. Hillary Clinton's unfavourable rating is 55pc and favourable rating is 43pc.

<t> In a close battle, the legalities of voting will be really important. In North Carolina the U.S. Court of Appeals stopped a law imposing ID, limiting the means of voting, finding that it was intended to discriminate based on race. It was judged to be surgically targeted to stop more pro-Democrat African Americans voters from being able to take part because they are less likely to have identification such as driving licences.

<t> The amount of money being spent in this election is eye-watering. The amount raised by candidates so far in the 2016 election is $1.3 billion, with an extra $594 million of soft money i.e money not going to directly to candidates but to linked organisations.

<t> More and more people are voting early in elections – it has increased three-fold since the 1990s, but it is not believed to have changed the decisions of voters. They tend to be the more committed and partisan.

<t> In Florida there are one million overwhelmingly African American people who cannot vote because of rules around being convicted of a felony.

<t> Candidates are not entitled to party political broadcasts. This means they have to buy television ads, which are very expensive. You can't turn on TV in the USA at the moment without seeing a campaign ad.

<t> Responses to polls are very low in volume. It is difficult to estimate who will vote as people lie as they want to seem like good citizens.

<t> Millenials - the under 35s - could decide the election. While they were enthusiastic about Barack Obama, they are less enthusiastic about Clinton and there are fears that could hit turnout in that age group.

<t> A bitter battle is brewing in the Republican Party. The outcome of this election will shape the future of the party. Some Republicans don't want him to win as it would see their party transformed.

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