"This will be the first test of support for same-sex marriage since President Obama's highly publicized endorsement, which seems to have helped move public opinion sharply in favor," says John McGlennon, a political scientist at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. "But the results in the states which have voted in the past have been uniformly negative."
Health care. In 2010, Arizona and Oklahoma voters amended their constitutions, declaring that no individual or business would be compelled to participate in Obama's Affordable Care Act. Voters in four more states – Alabama, Montana, Florida, and Wyoming – will consider similar measures this November.
"Election returns on these propositions will provide some insight into how the health-care reform plan is being viewed and what the political landscape looks like for further health-care reform," Mr. Matsusaka says.
In addition to the obvious political overtones, the measures also reflect economic uncertainty. "States are scared to death they can't afford it, on top of their burgeoning social security and Medicare entitlement cost loads already on their insolvent books," says Oliver McGee, a professor at Howard University in Washington.
The Supreme Court's ruling on the health-care law earlier this year established that states could opt out of the plan's expansion of Medicaid, but it affirmed the constitutionality of the law – leaving the states' measures in legal limbo.