Monday, November 03, 2008
the big day
So here we are, folks: the end of the line. Currently poll aggregates for all states and all races can be found at pollster.com, and TPM has a list of poll closing times and an interactive, constantly updated electoral map.
Nate Silver has a great rundown in Newsweek of the order of poll closings and what to watch for. Here's a brief synopsis:
6pm: polls close in Kentucky. KY is going for McCain, but there's a humdinger of a Senate race between Bruce Lunsford and current Senate Minority Leader and architect of Republican obstruction Mitch McConnell. Current polling has McConnell up by 3, but if Lunsford pulls the upset, the door is open for Democrats take a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate.
7pm: Virginia, Georgia, New Hampshire, Indiana. Indiana technically closes at 6, but there's a handful of heavy-Obama counties in Central Time. If Virginia (currently at +5.5 Obama) goes for Obama, he only has to hold PA to take the presidency, and if it goes early, McCain's chances become extremely remote. Obama should be helped in a reverse-coattails fashion by Mark Warner's impending 30 point demolition of the hapless Jim Gilmore in the VA senate. If Indiana (at +.5 McCain) goes for Obama, we're looking at a landslide. If Georgia falls to Obama (+3 McCain), he may get 270 electoral votes before the polls close on the West Coast. Georgia holds the second toss-up Senate contest with uber-slimeball Saxby Chambliss (currently up 4), again opening up the possibility of 60 seats if he goes down to Democrat Jim Martin. A more likely Dem Senate pickup can be found in NH, where former Dem governor Jean Shaheen is on pace to smoke John Sununu.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, however, is at +15. He's going to win re-election in a walk.
7:30: Ohio and North Carolina. These are both must-wins for McCain; there is no hope for John McCain without these two electoral vote-rich states. Obama's up 4 in Ohio, and a late McCain surge has left NC in a tie. Also look for Kay Hagan (up by 4) to give NC Senator Liddy Dole the ol' heave ho.
8pm: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Missouri. If Obama has taken any of the previous battlegrounds and holds Pennsylvania (where he's up 7), he's going to win. Barack is up 16 in Michigan and down 1.5 in Missouri.
9pm: Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota. These are a likely Obama sweep, and if Obama has won Pennsylvania, Colorado (at +7 Obama) will be enough to put him over the top even without the early battlegrounds. Also watch for Al Franken to take down Senator Norm Coleman in MN, and a pair of Udalls to take Republican-held open seats in New Mexico and Colorado. Fun fact: if Obama were somehow to sweep the battlegrounds to this point, the 9pm states will give him 277 votes and the presidency.
10pm: Nevada, Iowa, Montana. Obama should be a lock for Iowa (+13 Obama), is ahead in Nevada (+7 Obama), and has a shot in Montana (+2 McCain). Silver calls Nevada Obama's "ace in the hole," as it, combined with Virginia and Colorado, would make up the difference in the unlikely loss of Pennsylvania.
11pm: California, Oregon, Washington. My expectation is that these will be called very soon after the polls close and that California will do the honors of giving Obama his 270th vote. Cally voters have a much closer vote to take care of in Proposition 8 which, if ratified, will ban same sex marriages in the state. They're currently legal in California by judicial decision, but the vote is dead even at the moment. Both Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger have come out against Prop 8, and Samuel L. Jackson and Ellen Degeneres have cut pretty outstanding ads against it.
Meanwhile, just up I-5, Jeff Merkley is likely to cast Senator Gordon Smith from his perch. If Smith's the 8th senator of the night to fall, expect the Democrats to get their 60 seats.
1am: Alaska. Ted Stevens, former President Pro Tempore of the Senate and recently convicted felon, is going down in flames. Expect Begich to win by more than 10, putting an ignominious end to the career of the man who has represented Alaska since it was a territory.
UPDATE: I forgot to add a note about Prop 8 and the Oregon Senate race in the 11pm slot. Added in bold.