Nov. 04 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 353   McCain 174   Ties 11
Senate Dem 58   GOP 42  
House Dem 249   GOP 184   Ties 2

Senate map and races
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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (238)
weak Dem Weak Dem (40)
barely Dem Barely Dem (75)
tied Exactly tied (11)
barely GOP Barely GOP (42)
weak GOP Weak GOP (9)
strong GOP Strong GOP (123)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: CO FL GA MO NC NJ OH PA VA WA WV RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Beware of Turnout Reports Fear and Strength
Obama as the New Reagan The Ballot Initiatives
Will Texting Get Out the Vote? What To Watch For Tonight

News from the Votemaster

3:40 PM EST Update. Start of Live Blogging

I'm going to make an attempt to update the map etc in real time tonight. We just added more server capacity and assuming the data center (HostRocket) can handle the load, everything should be OK. Initial updates will be infrequent since there is not much hard data yet. Check back later.

One thing of interest is a series of polls SurveyUSA did in Nov. 2006 pitting candidates against each other, like Clinton-Giuliani, Clinton-Romney, etc. One of the maps they produced was Obama-McCain. It is instructive to see what the voters would have done in Nov. 2006 had they been given the Obama-McCain choice then. Here is the map. As Bob Dylan put it: "The times, they are a changin'."

Happy Election Day!

If you haven't already voted, this would be a good day to do it. Even if the presidential election is decided early and you live out West, be sure to vote because there are many key Senate races and House races up for grabs. In addition, members of the state legislatures will be elected and there are important ballot propositions in some states. For example, proposition 8 in California, which would ban same-sex marriage. Unlike previous days, this site will be updated multiple times today and I will attempt to do live blogging and update the maps in real time this evening. That failed in 2004 due to the load. We had 1.34 million visitors yesterday (and 19 million in October) but the servers seem to be up to the job this time. Three cheers for lighttpd.

Final Polling Map

So after 2 years, nearly a billion dollars raised and spent, dozens of debates, and many surprises, what does it look like? If you are a Democrat, it looks good; correspondingly, if you are a Republican, it looks gloomy. John McCain made a last-ditch effort to gain ground in Pennsylvania, but it appears to have failed. Obama will take all the states John Kerry won in 2004, worth 252 electoral votes. He also has led consistently in three Bush states: Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado, worth a total of 21 electoral votes. Together with the Kerry states, this gives Obama 273 EVs and the presidency, even if McCain runs the table on the other swing states. However, Obama is leading in Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, and essentially tied in Florida, North Carolina, and Missouri. It is likely that Obama will win the election with well over 300 electoral votes, possibly 350 of them.

The Senate Map doesn't look any cheerier for the Republicans. Democrats are very likely to pick up Senate seats in Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia, giving them 58 (counting independents Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders who caucus with the Democrats). They have a 50-50 shot at knocking off Norm Coleman in Minnesota, which would give them 59. They have a chance to win seats in Kentucky, Georgia, and Mississippi, but these appear to be longshots. Our best guess is that the Democrats will end up with 58-60 seats in the Senate (counting Lieberman and Sanders).

The House is going to be like the Senate: a Democratic landslide. There are too many races to list in detail here, but a Democratic pickup of 25-35 seats seems probable.

In governorland, the Democrats will probably hold Washington and Montana, maybe North Carolina, and pick up Missouri. Republicans will hold Indiana. The others weren't really contested.

Even Karl Rove is now predicting an Obama victory, 338 to 200 electoral votes. However, he is predicting McCain wins of 1% or less in Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, worth 37 EVs, which could conceivable flip to Obama.

Finally McCain Gets a Break

John McCain has had a run of bad luck this year ranging from little public interest in foreign policy to the Wall St. meltdown just before the election. Finally, he is getting the ultimate gift a Republican could ask for: rain on election day. The forecast is rain and storm in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Rain lowers turnout and low turnout always helps Republicans as the people most discouraged from standing in the rain for hours are low-income voters. Whether this will be enough to swing those states is another matter though. They could be close. But turnout is crucial to determining who wins.

The First Election Results Are in Already

The polls have already closed in Dixville Notch, NH because all 21 eligible voters have cast their ballots. This village of 75 people traditionally opens the polls at midnight on election day and closes them a few minutes later after the last voter has performed his or her civic duty. Barack Obama got 71% of the vote here today. Dixville Notch is not a good bellwether, however; it has voted solidly Republican for decades. The last Democrat to carry the Notch was Hubert Humphrey in 1968. It is probably not a good start for McCain to have early election day news dominated by a story about a solidly Republican rural village voting overwhelmingly for Obama.

What to Watch for Tonight

The table below gives a list of races to watch, including those for President, Senate, and House. Blank fields and missing states indicate the results are probably predictable right now. The times indicate when the polls close. An asterisk means that in parts of the state the polls close an hour earlier than the time given here. All times are Eastern Time, not local time. The House races listed are from CQ Politics, but see also our list of Hot House races. Names with question marks indicate the more probable winner. The House races are clickable for more detail.

NOTE: Poll Closing Times Are All EST -- NOT Local Time
State Close (EST) Pres Senate House
AL 8:00 P.M.     AL-02, AL-03, AL-05
AK 1:00 A.M.   Begich? AK-AL
AZ 9:00 P.M. McCain?   AZ-01, AZ-03, AZ-05, AZ-08
CA 11:00 P.M.     CA-03 CA-04 CA-11 CA-26 CA-46 CA-50
CO 9:00 P.M. Obama? Udall? CO-04
CT 8:00 P.M.     CT-02 CT-04 CT-05
FL 8:00* P.M. Obama?   FL-08 FL-13 FL-15 FL-16 FL-21 FL-22 FL-24 FL-25
GA 7:00 P.M. McCain? Chambliss? GA-08 GA-12
ID 11:00* P.M.     ID-01
IL 8:00 P.M.     IL-06 IL-08 IL-10 IL-11 IL-13 IL-14 IL-18
IN 7:00* P.M. McCain?   IN-03 IN-09
IA 10:00 P.M.     IA-04
KS 9:00 P.M.     KS-02 KS-03
LA 9:00 P.M.   Landrieu? LA-01 LA-04 LA-06
ME 8:00 P.M.   Collins? ME-01
MD 8:00 P.M.     MD-01
MI 9:00* P.M.     MI-07 MI-09
MN 9:00 P.M.   Franken? MN-01 MN-02 MN-03 MN-06
MS 8:00 P.M.   Wicker? MS-01
MO 8:00 P.M. ?   MO-06 MO-09
NV 10:00 P.M. Obama?   NV-02 NV-03
NH 8:00* P.M.   Shaheen? NH-01 NH-02
NJ 8:00 P.M.     NJ-03 NJ-05 NJ-07
NM 9:00 P.M.     NM-01 NM-02
NY 9:00 P.M.     NY-13 NY-19 NY-20 NY-24 NY-25 NY-26 NY-29
NC 7:30 P.M. ? Hagan? NC-08 NC-10
OH 7:30 P.M. Obama?   OH-01 OH-02 OH-14 OH-15 OH-16 OH-18
OR 11:00* P.M.   Merkley? OR-05
PA 8:00 P.M.     PA-03 PA-04 PA-06 PA-08 PA-10 PA-11 PA-15 PA-18
SC 7:00 P.M.     SC-01 SC-02
TX 9:00* P.M.     TX-07 TX-10 TX-22 TX-23
VA 7:00 P.M. Obama?   VA-02 VA-05 VA-10 VA-11
WA 11:00 P.M.     WA-08
WV 7:30 P.M.     WV-02
WI 9:00 P.M.     WI-08
WY 9:00 P.M.     WY-AL

Breakdowns Expected in Multiple Swing States

The National Journal has a good piece on likely voting problems today. Here are some of the highlights (lowlights?).

Colorado: Public-interest groups have sued the state because 35,000 voters have been illegally purged from the rolls. Also, the voting equipment was decertified and then immediately recertified. To top it off, the secretary of state has been barely doing his job since he is campaigning for Congress (and supervising his own election).

Florida: Many voters will be using the third type of voting machine in as many presidential elections, machines that lost 3500 votes in the August primary in a single county. Also, 12,000 voters have been purged from the roles because their voting data does not match other state data bases, often due to clerical errors.

Ohio: The (Democratic) secretary of state, Jennifer Brunner, has been involved in half a dozen lawsuits over 200,000 voters whose registration data do not match other state data bases (as in Florida). She has won most of them, including one in the Supreme Court, but these battles could lay the groundwork for GOP challenges if McCain loses the state.

Pennsylvania: Many voting machines here do not produce a paper trail so no recount is possible. Futhermore, the allocation of machine and poll workers is a contentious issue (putting few resources into poor areas creates long waits during which time some voters give up and go home). There were large numbers of flyers distributed in Philadelphia saying that Republicans should vote on Tuesday and Democrats on Wednesday to reduce the crowds. This could form the basis of a legal challenge in the unlikely event of a McCain win.

Virginia: The NAACP sued the state over the allocation of resources. State law requires one machine per 750 voters. Assuming it takes 5 minutes to vote, it would take the 750 voters 62.5 hours to vote, so some of them will still be voting on Friday. Problems are also expected with student voters.

Crosstabs on the Oct. 28th Poll Are Now Available

Several professional statisticians analyzed the Oct. 28 poll and produced crosstabs. Each one looked at things a bit differently and presented the data differently. While this wasn't a random sample (so it is completely useless for predicting who will win the election), the crosstabs contain a lot of detailed information not found elsewhere. For example, among the people surveyed here who consider abortion the most important issue, 46.6% support McCain and 46.5% support Obama. Thanks to all the statisticians: David Leahy (Cocoa Beach schools), Daniel Berebitsky (U. of Michigan), Jessi Schoner, Jason Holloway, Carolyn Broullon (Gazelle Global Research Services), and Alan Jordan.

Obama Goes into Election Day Ahead

Here is the final batch of national polls. With 13 polls reporting, Obama has a mean lead of 7.3%. If he indeed wins the popular vote by 7%, he will certainly win the majority of the swing states and be elected President. However, turnout, especially among blacks and younger voters will be crucial. If they fail to show up in the numbers predicted, McCain still has a small chance to win.

      - Battleground (Obama +6)
      - CBS News (Obama +9)
      - Diageo (Obama +5)
      - Fox News (Obama +7)
      - Gallup (Obama +11)
      - IBD (Obama +5)
      - Ipsos (Obama +7)
      - Marist (Obama +9)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +6)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +6)
      - WSJ/NBC News (Obama +8)
      - Washington Post/ABC News (Obama +9)
      - Zogby (Obama +7)

Today's Polls

We have 23 presidential polls today. In Colorado, Obama still leads 51% to 47% in this must-win state for McCain. Florida is up in the air, but Obama has a miniscule lead here. Missouri and North Carolina are pure tossups. Ohio seems to be leaning for Obama, with 3 of 4 polls showing him with a slight lead there. Pennsylvania is solid for Obama. McCain made a last-minute effort here, but it failed. Without Pennsylvania, McCain has to hold all the swing states, and some of those, especially Colorado and Virginia, look tough for him.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Colorado 51% 47% Nov 02 Nov 02 Rasmussen
Florida 47% 45% Oct 27 Nov 02 Quinnipiac U.
Florida 47% 48% Nov 01 Nov 02 Datamar
Florida 49% 50% Nov 02 Nov 02 Rasmussen
Florida 50% 47% Oct 31 Nov 03 SurveyUSA
Georgia 45% 52% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA
Georgia 47% 48% Nov 02 Nov 02 Insider Advantage
Missouri 48% 48% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA
Missouri 49% 49% Nov 02 Nov 02 Rasmussen
North Carolina 48% 49% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA
North Carolina 49% 48% Oct 31 Nov 03 ARG
North Carolina 49% 50% Nov 02 Nov 02 Rasmussen
New Jersey 57% 42% Nov 02 Nov 02 Rasmussen
Ohio 48% 46% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA
Ohio 49% 49% Nov 02 Nov 02 Rasmussen
Ohio 50% 43% Oct 27 Nov 02 Quinnipiac U.
Ohio 52% 46% Oct 29 Nov 02 U. of Cincinnati
Pennsylvania 52% 42% Oct 27 Nov 02 Quinnipiac U.
Pennsylvania 52% 43% Oct 31 Nov 03 SurveyUSA
Virginia 51% 47% Nov 02 Nov 02 Rasmussen
Virginia 51% 47% Oct 31 Nov 03 ARG
Washington 56% 40% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA
West Virginia 42% 53% Oct 31 Nov 03 ARG

We also have four Senate polls. Kay Hagan (D) seems likely to knock off Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) in North Carolina, something few people would have predicted a year ago. In Georgia, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) looks a bit ahead of Jim Martin (D). However, he is under 50% and if he fails to get half the total votes, there will be a runoff on Dec. 4. If the Democrats get 59 seats in the Senate, then this seat will determine whether they have that magic 60 to invoke cloture (although in truth, cloture votes are rarely strictly along party lines). Still, Chambliss is extremely conservative and can be counted on to oppose everything the Democrats do, so this seat is important. If it does go to a runoff, every politician in the country will make an appearance in Georgia during November. And you thought the election was over today?

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Georgia Jim Martin 43% Saxby Chambliss* 48% Nov 02 Nov 02 Insider Advantage
Georgia Jim Martin 44% Saxby Chambliss* 48% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA
North Carolina Kay Hagan 45% Elizabeth Dole* 46% Oct 29 Oct 30 Mason-Dixon
North Carolina Kay Hagan 50% Elizabeth Dole* 43% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA

We also have two House polls today.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski* 45% Louis Barletta 51% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA
VA-05 Tom Perriello 47% Virgil Goode* 50% Oct 30 Nov 02 SurveyUSA

Some Acknowledgements

A number of people have provided invaluable help through the campaign season. Dirk Evertse, Tiffany Fackler-Watson, Lucia Lodolina, Breandan Knowlton, and Colleen Shannon have diligently and accurately collected the data every day. Without their help, I couldn't have done it. John Sinteur (who runs a great blog The Daily Irrelevant) helped with managing the servers and keeping everything going. Eric Paulson of wrote the software that automated the map generation. "Grumpy" wrote the rest of the graphics software and provided valuable advice on site design. Thanks to all of them and also to the other people who helped in the past, some of whom are listed on the Welcome page.

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-- The Votemaster