News from the Votemaster
Live Blogging of the Election Tonight
Starting around 6 P.M. EST or so, the main page and Senate pages will switch to blank maps that will be updated throughout the evening as election results come in. But be aware that very early reports can be confusing. If Austin happens to report first, Texas might be dark blue for a little while. If problems in New York City due to the storm delay reporting until after upstate districts report, New York might be dark red for a while. But it will be interesting to see the colors spread out from east to west as the results come in. Come back tonight.
Here Are the Final National Polls
"The time has come," the walrus said ... After an endless series of Republican primaries, three presidential debates, two conventions, and one hurricane, it has all come down to today. Here are the final national polls.
The bottom line is that the popular vote is close, with Obama perhaps having a lead of around 0.8%, well within the margin of error. If all goes well, we will know who won the presidency and which party controls the Senate and House tonight. But there are no guarantees. Recounts, delayed absentee ballots, fights over provisional ballots, or Anthony Kennedy taking his time to decide who to appoint as President could all push the results far into the future. One thing is for sure, though: the electors meet on Dec. 17 to cast their votes. The worst-case scenario is that multiple slates of electors show up in their respective state capitals that day and want to vote. There are no provisional ballots for electors, so any messes had better be sorted out by then.
One recent development that might toss the election into the courts is a decision by Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted, to require voters, rather than poll workers, to record the form of identification used on provisional ballots. Many voters won't understand this and will do it wrong, in which case their votes won't count.
A sign of the closeness of the race comes from the first actual election returns, as usual, from Dixville Notch, NH. Traditionally all the voters assemble at the polling station at midnight on the start of election day and vote. The votes are then reported at 12:01 A.M. The village has correctly predicted the past three presidential elections. This morning the results were announced. It was a tie, 5 votes for Obama and 5 votes for Romney. An inauspicious omen.
The Race to 270
The electoral college map shows Obama set to win 303 electoral votes. North Carolina is a tie on the basis of two PPP polls. However, a poll from SurveyUSA showing Romney ahead by 5 points fell just outside the 1-week window and thus doesn't count. Even though PPP is located in North Carolina and presumably knows the territory well, my personal guess is that Romney will take North Carolina and the final score will be Obama 303 to Romney 235. That leaves Obama some margin for error. He could lose Virginia and be at 290. He could lose Virginia and Ohio and be at 272 and still win if he hangs onto Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire. For Romney, it is looking tougher. He has to win Florida, which most pollsters say he will (and this is not even taking the chaos there into account) as well as Virginia and Ohio and one more state. It's possible, but it is a tall order.
What does everyone else say about the race? Intrade.com puts the chances of an Obama victory at 70%. Nate Silver at the New York Times has a 92% chance of an Obama victory, with his expected electoral college score at 315 EVs. Mark Blumenthal at Huffington Post gives Obama at least 271 EVs, with six states as tossups.
What do conservatives think? The Denver Post has collected maps from eight conservative map makers. Here are the electoral vote scores they are predicting.
Comments about alternative universes will be held until tomorrow. However, Election Projection, a very conservative, but data-driven, site, has Obama at 303, just as we do.
Democrats Poised to Hold the Senate
Our Senate map shows the Democrats with 51 seats, the Republicans with 45, and 4 ties. One of the ties is Maine. No one doubts that Angus King will win, but the only issue is whether he is a secret Democrat or a secret Republican. Most people think he will caucus with the Democrats, giving them 52 seats. North Dakota is tied, but it is such a red state that even with Heidi Heitkamp running a very strong campaign, she is probably going to go down. The other two ties, Montana and Wisconsin, are really too close to call. Our best guess is that the Democrats will get 52-54 seats in the new Senate. If the Democrats get 52 seats and Paul Ryan is elected Vice President, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock are not going to be real popular in the Republican Party tomorrow, since they will have cost the Republicans the majority. But maybe Tammy Baldwin will win in Wisconsin and save them from being tarred and feathered. Here are the current poll averages for the competitive states. The map gives the polling data on all states.
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Ind||I %|
|Arizona||Richard Carmona||46%||Jeff Flake||51%|
|Connecticut||Chris Murphy||52%||Linda McMahon||44%|
|Florida||Bill Nelson*||51%||Connie McGillicuddy||42%|
|Indiana||Joe Donnelly||46%||Richard Mourdock||41%|
|Maine||Cynthia Dill||12%||Charlie Summers||35%||Angus King||50%|
|Massachusetts||Elizabeth Warren||50%||Scott Brown*||46%|
|Missouri||Claire McCaskill*||50%||Todd Akin||46%|
|Montana||Jon Tester*||48%||Denny Rehberg||48%|
|Nebraska||Bob Kerrey||47%||Deb Fischer||50%|
|Nevada||Shelley Berkley||46%||Dean Heller*||48%|
|North Dakota||Heidi Heitkamp||48%||Rick Berg||48%|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||49%||Josh Mandel||44%|
|Pennsylvania||Bob Casey*||49%||Tom Smith||44%|
|Virginia||Tim Kaine||49%||George Allen||45%|
|Wisconsin||Tammy Baldwin||47%||Tommy Thompson||47%|
We haven't tracked the House because so few races have been polled. In previous cycles, we made a model based on the voting history of each district, but since most of the districts are new now, there is no history. Most pundits expect the Democrats to pick up seats in the House, but not enough to hand the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi.
Legal Challenges Are Ongoing
A federal lawsuit filed in Ohio yesterday challenges the legality of unverified software that was installed in Ohio's voting machines just before the election. There are strict certification procedures for voting machine software, but Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted, said they weren't necessary in this case because the software patches are merely experimental. This is a legal loophole that might save Husted, who claims that the patch merely reformats the output, making the results easier to tabulate. Democrats simply don't believe him. Given that today is election day, it is not clear what a ruling, even this afternoon, would do. Of course, if the judge rules that the software is illegal and Romney wins the election with Ohio being an essential state, there is no telling what could happen.
In Florida, a lawsuit over long lines and election chaos was settled out of court yesterday. The problems were caused by the state legislature reducing voting days and hours, which led to crowds that several counties in South Florida could not handle. The settlement says that voters will be allowed to turn in absentee ballots today.
Poll Closing Times
Here are the poll closing times, more or less. A few states span multiple time zones. In most cases, the polls remain open an hour longer in the western portion of the state. Sometimes the networks will call the state when polls are closed in the eastern part of the state. If you want the exact story on poll closing times, look here. The swing states are in boldface.
|Closing time (EST)||EVs||States|
|7:00 P.M.||60||GA IN KY SC VT VA|
|7:30 P.M.||38||NC OH WV|
|8:00 P.M.||172||AL CT DC DE FL IL ME MD MA MS MO NH NJ OK PA RI TN|
|9:00 P.M.||153||AZ CO KS LA MI MN ND NE NM NY SD TX WI WY|
|10:00 P.M.||21||IA MT NV UT|
|11:00 P.M.||85||CA HI ID OR WA|
How the Right Will Rationalize a Romney Loss
If we have a winner tonight--a big if--there will be a lot of postmortems tomorrow. But why wait? The reasons for each side winning or losing are well known now. All we don't know is which set of arguments hold.
If Romney loses, a full-blown civil war will break out in the Republican Party. The North will be played by Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Karl Rove, and the rest of the establishment. If Obama takes Virginia, they will be in a state of advanced panic because the GOP's base is the South, and if Virginia secedes from the South and becomes a warmer version of Maryland, the road ahead looks grim. The rebels will be played by the tea party, whose motto is: "To hell with winning, purity comes first." The pros will realize that having boatloads of money isn't enough. You need a good candidate and they didn't have one. The tea party types are going to be saying things like this:
- Romney was not a real conservative, but he was the only one left standing after the others crashed and burned
- The liberal media (= NYT) were in the tank for Obama and refused to talk about Libya all day and night
- The pollsters conspired to have skewed polls that discouraged all the faint-hearted Republicans from voting
- It's all the fault of Hurricane Sandy because it cost Romney three days of campaigning
- Well, its the fault of Sandy plus that traitor Chris Christie, who is only looking out for his own fat ass
- The voters are too stupid to realize that when Obamacare kicks in, America will instantly become Cuba
How the Left Will Rationalize an Obama Loss
Left-wing commentators and Websites like Daily Kos will be full of explanations of what happened, should Obama lose. These will include:
- He was scared of the Republicans carping so he made the stimulus too small to do the job
- He didn't call the Republicans' bluff ever, for example, on raising the debt limit
- Fox News and all of talk radio acted as an extension of the Republican National Committee
- Obama was asleep at the switch during the first debate
Why Did Obama Actually Win
Obama didn't build it entirely on his own. Romney blew it in many ways. Some factors are as follows.
- Seventy percent of incumbent Presidents since WWII were reelected. The power of incumbency is enormous
- If Obama wins Ohio, his decision to bail out GM and Chrysler may have given him a second term
- Obama is a guy you could drink a beer with. Romney is aloof and looks like the guy who fired you
- Not having to fight a primary, Obama spent the year on his ground game and built a huge network of field offices
- The decision not to deport young Latinos, combined with the GOP hostility to immigrants, handed him the Latino vote
- His decision to spend a fortune in the Spring and Summer to define Romney as a heartless plutocrat worked
- Romney was a deeply flawed candidate with a tin ear for politics. A better candidate could have won
- Romney's campaign was poorly run, unfocused, disorganized, and without clear lines of authority
- Despite Romney's CEO experience, Stuart Stevens actually ran the campaign and made blunder after blunder
- Romney ran to the right of Rick Perry, saying he wasn't tough enough on illegal immigrants. That blew the Latino vote.
- The GOP's trivializing rape and opposing abortion and contraception was not a winner with women
- Romney's decision not to fight in the Summer but to hoard his pennies for a Fall offensive was foolish
- When the media asked about his taxes, plans and vision, Romney refused and then complained about the resulting coverage.
Why Did Romney Actually Win
- The economy was in bad shape and running a businessman, even a deeply flawed one, was a smart move
- The Citizens United decision allowed billionaires to give hundreds of millions of dollars to the Republicans
- Obama was asleep at the switch during the first debate and Romney made a strong impression
- Young voters were drunk on impossibly high expectations after 2008 and Obama didn't even try to achieve them
- Obama did a horrible job of explaining the benefits of the ACA to the voters. In fact, he barely tried
Could There Be Faithless Electors?
Presidential electors are supposed to vote for the person who got the most votes in their state (or for three electors in Nebraska and two in Maine, their district). But an electoral vote for someone else counts, even though it may violate state law. If the electoral vote is close, there will be intense lobbying of the electors to switch sides. Electors have received death threats in the past. No doubt some have been offered bribes as well. There is also a small possibility that some Romney electors will vote for Ron Paul.
Women Could Clean Up in New Hampshire
If the Democrats do well in New Hampshire tomorrow, the state could have a female governor, along with women in both Senate seats and both House seats. Nothing like this has ever happened before. The two women in the Senate are for sure, as neither Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) nor Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is up for reelection. State senator Maggie Hassan has a wide lead over her Republican opponent for the governor's mansion. Ann Kuster is leading Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) in NH-02 and Carol Shea-Porter is tied with Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) in NH-01.
Marriage Equality on the Ballot in Four States
So far, same-sex marriage has been approved by the courts and by state legislatures, but never by the voters. Tomorrow might change that. Referendums on the subject, in one form or another, are on the ballot in Maryland and Maine, where they have a good chance of passing. It is also on the ballot in Washington state. In Minnesota, a ballot measure would enshrine the current state law banning same-sex marriage in the state constitution. Polls show that it is close.Email a link to a friend or share:
Previous HeadlinesNov05 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
Nov01 Can Romney Expand the Map?
Nov01 Jobs Report Will be Issued Friday at 8:30 A.M.
Nov01 Will the Loser Blame It on Sandy?
Nov01 Native Americans Sue Montana over Voting Rights
Nov01 Same-Sex Marriage Initiative Tied in Maryland
Nov01 Dick Morris Predicts a Romney Landslide and Republican Senate
Oct31 Now Comes the Hard Part for the Campaigns
Oct31 Effects of the Storm on Voting
Oct31 Voter-Fraud Vigilantes Could Affect Voting
Oct31 Hurricane Damage Will Affect Polling All Week
Oct31 Could the Popular and Electoral Vote Be Different?
Oct31 Chrysler CEO Rebuts Romney on Jeeps
Oct31 More Republicans Than Democrats Have Voted in Colorado