The first returns of the 2012 presidential election are in... sort of*.
Guam returned its presidential tally Tuesday afternoon, its citizens participating in a non-binding straw poll for president.
Barack Obama--23,067 (72.39 percent) Mitt Romney--8,443 (26.49 percent) Gary Johnson--357 (1.12 percent)
Obama's tally, according to Ballot Access News, is an increase over his 62 percent of Guam's vote four years ago against John McCain.
Guam, the tiny island, more than 6,000 miles west from California in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is a territory of the United States. Its residents are U.S. citizens, but do not have congressional representatives, nor do their votes count in the presidential election.
R. Todd Thompson, of the NPR member station KPRG in Guam, told Miami TV station WLRN that Guam has a history of picking election winners.
Since 1984, Guam has been conducting a non-binding presidential 'straw poll' on the same date as the presidential election. And each time since 1984, the Guam Straw Poll has correctly predicted who will be the next president.
Because Guam votes so early and has a perfect track record in picking the winner, Guam is the new bellwether in presidential politics. Traditionally, those seeking an early indication of things to come on Election Day have looked to Dixville Notch, and a couple other tiny New Hampshire towns which vote just past midnight on Election Day and then proceed to count a handful of ballots. However, these early returns have had little predictive value historically.
Guam, on the other hand, has predicted the presidential winner every time. In fact, the only time Guam arguably got it wrong it still predicted the ultimate winner. In 2000, Guam narrowly favored Bush over Gore. Of course, Bush lost the popular vote nationwide in 2000, but he still managed to become president.
*While residents of Dixville-Notch, New Hampshire are the first to cast votes, traditionally, opening their polls at midnight on election day, Guam is the first full territory to complete all voting and return results.