News from the Votemaster
President Barack Obama was reelected President with a strong majority in the electoral college although not quite as big as in 2008. If he wins Florida, where he is currently leading, but where the final results are not in (because the vote counters got tired and went to bed instead of finishing the job last night), he will have won every state this year that he won in 2008 except Indiana and North Carolina. Those two are deep red states that Republicans nearly always win. They simply have reverted to the norm (although North Carolina was close: Romney's margin was only 3 points). Noteworthy is that Obama appears to have won all the swing states except North Carolina. If Florida stays blue, Obama will have 332 electoral votes (vs. 365 in 2008). If Florida becomes red in the end, Obama will still have hit 300 EVs, with a total of 303. Either way, a solid victory. None of the media are reporting anything about NE-02, which Obama won last time, so let us assume Romney won all five of Nebraska's electoral votes.
All the talk about one candidate winning the electoral college and the other winning the popular vote was off base. Obama won the popular vote handily, with a margin of about 2.5 million votes, although the exact total is not known yet. This represents a percentage of 50.1%, to Romney's 48.4%. If it holds, he will have won by 1.7%, slightly more than the average of the national polls was predicting. In 2008, Obama got 53% of the popular vote,so Obama's victory was smaller this time. That is not entirely surprising, since Obama had far more money than McCain did in 2008 but in 2012 the Romney campaign plus various billionaire-funded superPACs had more money than Obama. Money matters, but it is not everything.
Here are some of our takeways, in no particular order.
- It's not just the economy, stupid. It's the whole package
- Abandoning large constitutencies, like women, Latinos, and young voters is not a winning formula
- The partisan identification in 2008 was not a freak accident. There are more Democrats than Republicans
- The candidate matters: on paper Rick Perry and Mitt Romney were great, but the real men weren't
- Nominating a sneering plutocrat who likes firing people and writes off half the country is not a wise move
- If you can't release your tax returns because they are full of poison, don't run for President
- There aren't enough billionaires to buy the election
- Don't talk about gay marriage unless you are supporting it
- And above all, don't talk about rape except maybe if you are proposing to castrate rapists
Whenever a party loses an election big time, there is a lot of wailing and the pulling of hair. Although the popular vote was close, the Republicans lost nearly all the swing states, including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. They probably lost Florida, and almost lost North Carolina. It is true that some of the races were close, but in politics a win is a win and a loss is a loss. With the loss of Virginia and close call in North Carolina, the party's base has shrunk to the Deep South (except for Florida), and big, empty states in the Great Plains and Mountain West where the buffalo once roamed but the electoral votes never did and still don't.
As we mentioned many times this year, the traditionally blue states--the ones Democrats have won five times in a row--are worth 242 EVs. Obama won every one of them. None were even close. Not even Wisconsin, where Obama had a 7-point margin even with a Wisconsite on the opposing ticket. Romney made a last-ditch effort to win Pennsylvania, but came up short. The blue team won by 5 points. So next time around, we can talk about the 242 EVs that the Democrats have won six times in a row. Rick Santorum or Marco Rubio aren't going to make a dent here, probably not Paul Ryan, either. Chris Christie might.
But something new has been added to the mix. New Mexico is now dark blue, so make that 247. Obama also won Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire by margins of 6, 5, and 5 points, respectively. If they get added to the Democratic base, it becomes 263. If the Democrats have a floor of 263 EVs in 2016, the Republicans have to win all of Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. All of them. Moving farther to the right, as seems entirely possible, is probably not the ticket to win these big, diverse swing states.
Despite the fact that it is unmentionable, we are going to mention the 800-pound gorilla wandering around the polling place: race. There are certainly white voters in Virginia, North Carolina, and Northern Florida who didn't vote for Obama due to his color but are otherwise not fundamentally opposed to a Democrat. All of the 2016 likely Democratic nominees--Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and Martin O'Malley--are lilly white. Even senator-elect Elizabeth Warren (who will be under pressure from the left to audition for the role of Howard Dean), is 31/32 white. The racist voters might well vote for a Democrat in 2016, unless the nominee is a woman, which opens a different can of worms.
Demographically, the Republican Party's base is angry, old white men. That is no formula for future victories. Democrats did well with women, Latinos, and young people. Unless the Republicans stop trying to repeal both Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut, they are not going to improve their standing with women. If Obama makes a big effort at passing immigration reform and either gets it or has it go down on a party-line vote in the House, the Republicans can write off Latinos for a generation. As to young people, political identities are set early. Twenty somethings who have now voted for the Democrats twice aren't going to be easy to peal away unless the Republicans can pull an elephant out of the hat.
Republicans will begin the Great Scapegoat Hunt today. It is like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey except it uses an elephant instead of a donkey and a 6-inch nail instead of a pin, and you have to drive it all the way in. Actually, we did this yesterday though to beat the crowds. Here is the tea party version and here is what Karl Rove is thinking.
Yesterday, we predicted Obama would win 303 electoral votes. He won either 303 or 332, depending how Florida ultimately turns out. The map showed North Carolina as a tie (although the blog said Romney would carry it, which he narrowly did). Other than these two states, we called all the winners correctly, for a score of either 48 of 50, 49 of 50, or 48 of 49, depending on how you want to score (or not score) North Carolina. All the talk from the Republicans about how skewed the polls were turned out to be--in the now famous word of Joe Biden--malarkey. More about how individual pollsters did later this week.
It looks like we're too popular for our own good. Up until yesterday, this site had been getting about a quarter of a million visits a day and had been handling that easily with one server, which was running at about 5% of capacity. To prepare for election night, a second server was added and all seemed fine. To make a long story short, there were 2 million visits yesterday and the servers couldn't handle the load. They were pumping out 200 million bits/sec, but that wasn't enough capacity. It was also impossible to update the blog and map because it was impossible to log in. Eventually I started to do the updates on a different server, but the lines were so clogged that it was impossible to transfer the updated map and other files to the servers. The result was not a very good election night experience, with slow and erratic service. After the networks declared Obama the winner, people started going to bed and we were able to resume normal operation. Our apologies for the mess.
There is much more to say. But not today. Come back tomorrow for more thoughts.
03:30 A.M. EST
Time for a break and some sleep now. Back later in the day with a wrap-up.
03:20 A.M. EST
CNN has called the Nevada Senate race for Sen. Dean Heller (R=NV). The only open race now is North Dakota, where Heidi Heitkamp is a 3,000-vote lead.
02:50 A.M. EST
Women sweep up Hampshire. The voters of New Hampshire elected women to occupy the governor's mansion and to fill both House seats. Together with the the two women senators, Women have all the top jobs in New Hampshire.
Same-sex marriage was approved in Maine as well as Maryland and maybe in Washington state. An anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment lost in Minnesota.
02:35 A.M. EST
Mitch McConnell issued a very aggressive statement telling the President to come with a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff and then promising to look at it very critically. In other words, he promised more gridlock. Note: McConnell is up for reelection in 2014 and is afraid of being tea partied if he compromises,
Women did very well in the Senate. There will be new women senators in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. Women are departing in Maine and Texas though. Still it is a net gain. If Heidi Heitkamp or Shelley Berkley win, that will add to the number of women in the Senate.
02:30 A.M. EST
Voters in Colorado and Washington have approved legalizing marijuana for all uses, not just medical ones.
01:55 A.M. EST
Three Senate races are still open. In Montana, where Jon Tester has a 9-point lead but only 41% of the votes have been counted.. In North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp has a 3,000 vote lead with 91% of the votes counted. Finally, in Nevada, Dean Heller is ahead by 7,000 votes with 91% of the votes counted.
01:30 A.M. EST
Obama gave his victory speech. It was classic Obama and the audience went wild.
CNN has projected that Tammy Baldwin will win the Wisconsin Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). She will be the first openly gay senator. It will be interesting to see if any other senators come out of the closet net.
01:00 A.M. EST
Romney gave a concession speech. It was short and sweet, emphasizing how important it will be for Obama to reach across the aisle. Romney's toast now. The rest of the day Republicans will be blaming him personally what they see as a national disaster worse than Hurricane Sandy.
The story is not over yet in the Senate. Four states still hang in the balance:
- Wisconsin - Tammy Baldwin (D) vs. Tommy Thompson (R)
- Montana - Jon Tester (D) vs. Denny Rehberg (R)
- Nevada - Shelley Berkley (D) vs. Dean Heller (R)
- North Dakota - Heidi Heitkamp (D) vs. Rick Berg (R)
00:48 A.M. EST
Some results about ballot initiatives on marijuana.
- Arkansas - No on legalizing medical marijuana
- Massachusetts - Yes on legalizing medical marijuana
- Colorado - Yes on legalizing marijuana
- Oregon - No on legalizing marijuana
Additionally, Maryland, voted to legalize sam-sex marriage.
Here is the current state of the Senate races.
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Ind||I %||Pct reporting|
|Arizona||Richard Carmona||45%||Jeff Flake||51%||60% reporting|
|California||Dianne Feinstein*||57%||Elizabeth Emken||43%||28% reporting|
|Connecticut||Chris Murphy||53%||Linda McMahon||45%||60% reporting|
|Delaware||Tom Carper*||66%||Kevin Wade||29%||96% reporting|
|Florida||Bill Nelson*||55%||Connie McGillicuddy||42%||89% reporting|
|Hawaii||Maizie Hirono||Linda Lingle||No results yet|
|Indiana||Joe Donnelly||40%||Richard Mourdock||44%||91% reporting|
|Maine||Cynthia Dill||14%||Charlie Summers||29%||Angus King||54%||49% reporting|
|Maryland||Ben Cardin*||54%||Dan Bongino||28%||82% reporting|
|Massachusetts||Elizabeth Warren||53%||Scott Brown*||47%||85% reporting|
|Michigan||Debbie Stabenow*||57%||Pete Hoekstra||40%||55% reporting|
|Minnesota||Amy Klobuchar*||64%||Kurt Bills||32%||57% reporting|
|Mississippi||Albert Gore||40%||Roger Wicker*||57%||76% reporting|
|Missouri||Claire McCaskill*||54%||Todd Akin||40%||90% reporting|
|Montana||Jon Tester*||51%||Denny Rehberg||44%||19% reporting|
|Nebraska||Bob Kerrey||41%||Deb Fischer||59%||85% reporting|
|Nevada||Shelley Berkley||46%||Dean Heller*||46%||78% reporting|
|New Jersey||Bob Menendez*||59%||Joseph Kyrillos||39%||83% reporting|
|New Mexico||Martin Heinrich||51%||Heather Wilson||45%||74% reporting|
|New York||Kirsten Gillibrand*||71%||Wendy Long||28%||63% reporting|
|North Dakota||Heidi Heitkamp||51%||Rick Berg||49%||89% reporting|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||50%||Josh Mandel||46%||81% reporting|
|Pennsylvania||Bob Casey*||54%||Tom Smith||44%||88% reporting|
|Rhode Island||Sheldon Whitehouse*||65%||Barry Hinckley||35%||82% reporting|
|Tennessee||Mark Clayton||65%||Bob Corker*||30%||87% reporting|
|Texas||Paul Sadler||40%||Ted Cruz||57%||88% reporting|
|Utah||Scott Howell||31%||Orrin Hatch*||65%||55% reporting|
|Vermont||Bernie Sanders*||71%||John MacGovern||25%||78% reporting|
|Virginia||Tim Kaine||52%||George Allen||48%||88% reporting|
|Washington||Maria Cantwell*||59%||Michael Baumgartner||41%||55% reporting|
|West Virginia||Joe Manchin*||61%||John Raese||36%||88% reporting|
|Wisconsin||Tammy Baldwin||51%||Tommy Thompson||47%||71% reporting|
|Wyoming||Tim Chesnut||22%||John Barrasso*||76%||89% reporting|
00:00 A.M. EST
Now that everyone is in bed, the servers are back up. At this moment, Colorado, Virgina, and Florida are still undecided, but Obama is leading in all of them. If he wins them all, then the electoral map is the same as 2008 except with Indiana and North Carolina. I'll start looking at the Senate next.
11:17 P.M. EST
CNN has called Ohio for Obama and with that the election. So Obama has been reelected, the Democrats will keep the Senate and the Republicans will keep the House. A year and $6 billion later and we are back where we started.
The next issue is dealing with the fiscal cliff. If the Republicans continue to obstruct, we have a problem. A newly reelected President won't easily let the opposition dictate terms.
10:16 P.M. EST
Claire McCaskill won MO. The Democrats will definitely keep the Senate. With both Mourdock and Akin losing, the tea party will have some explaining to do.
9:47 P.M. EST
CNN projects wins for Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Joe Donnelly (IN). No way GOP can win Senate now.
9:20 P.M. EST
Servers are hopeless.
9:15 P.M. EST
CNN projects Republicans to keep the House.
8:18 PM EST
The servers are totally overloaded. This may not work. I'm trying but not hopeful.Email a link to a friend or share:
Nov06 Here Are the Final National Polls
Nov06 The Race to 270
Nov06 Democrats Poised to Hold the Senate
Nov06 Legal Challenges Are Ongoing
Nov06 Poll Closing Times
Nov06 How the Right Will Rationalize a Romney Loss
Nov06 How the Left Will Rationalize an Obama Loss
Nov06 Why Did Obama Actually Win
Nov06 Why Did Romney Actually Win
Nov06 Could There Be Faithless Electors?
Nov06 Women Could Clean Up in New Hampshire
Nov06 Marriage Equality on the Ballot in Four States
Nov05 Please Take This Short Poll
Nov05 Obama Continues to Surge in the National Polls
Nov05 Dutch Newspaper Reports Romney Avoided $100 Million in Taxes
Nov05 Analysis of Key Races in All 50 States
Nov05 Florida Election in the Courts Already
Nov05 Voting Equipment Still Not Verifiable
Nov05 Could Unreadable Signatures Be the Hanging Chads of 2012?
Nov05 Positive Campaign Ads Have Essentially Vanished
Nov05 Russia Lambasts the U.S. for Undemocratic Elections
Nov05 Neither Presidential Candidate Seems to Have Senatorial Coattails
Nov05 New Jersey to Allow Ballots to be Sent in By Email
Nov04 Obama Appears to Have Momentum
Nov04 Thanks to the Supreme Court, Early Voting Is Still Taking Place in Ohio
Nov04 Will the Aftermath of the Storm Affect the Election?
Nov04 Obama's Gamble on Demographics
Nov04 Maybe Pot Smokers Will Determine the Next President
Nov04 What Do People Want from the Next President?
Nov04 Conservatives Are Seeing the Beginning of the End for Romney
Nov04 Close Elections Are Nothing New
Nov03 Employment Up But Unemployment Also Up
Nov03 Ethnic Mix of the Electorate May Determine the Winner
Nov03 Early Results from Ohio on Election Day May Be Misleading
Nov03 Republicans Are Praying for Rain on Election Day
Nov03 Outside Groups Spent Half a Billion Dollars in October
Nov03 Probe into Voter Registration Fraud in Virginia Widens
Nov03 Betting Site Has Romney as the Favorite--in 2016
Nov03 Are Pollsters Asking the Wrong Question?
Nov02 Both Candidates Back on the Campaign Trail
Nov02 October Unemployment Numbers Will Be Out at 8:30 A.M. EDT Today
Nov02 Forget the Middle Class, It's Elite vs. Elite
Nov02 Romney Ad in Florida Ties Obama to Latin American Dictators
Nov02 Bipartisanship Flourishes--with a Couple of Footnotes
Nov02 Tuesday Will Be National Lawyer Day
Nov02 It's Dirty Tricks Time
Nov02 Get-Out-the-Vote Effort Backfires
Nov01 New Batch of Polls Welcome News for Obama
Nov01 Poll: Obama Doing a Good Job Dealing with the Storm