Votes on immigration, union rights and President Obama's health care law could hold hints of the American public's mindset, four years into an economic downturn and one year from the presidential election.
Tuesday's elections also include governors' races in Mississippi and Kentucky that will point to political prospects for 2012, when an additional 10 governorships will be contested. In both states, the governors' offices are expected to stay in the hands of incumbent parties, perhaps indicating that voters aren't ready to abandon their loyalties.
But regardless of the ballot questions and key political races, most experts agree the most important factor in 2012 remains the stubbornly weak economy.
"If the economy were to turn around in the next year, that's going to matter a lot more than what happens in ballot issues," said political analyst Justin Buchler...