Sunday, November 2, 2008

Get out the Giant Electronic Maps


In a little more than 48 hours we will start seeing election results. (Actually, Dixville Notch, New Hampshire will vote and announce its results by 12:15 am November 4, 2008.) By 9 pm Eastern Time, we should know with some certainty who will be the 44th President of the United States. I do not expect a long night except for those political junkies like Buzz and me who have bets on the exact electoral and popular vote totals. With the closing of some key East Coast polls by 8 pm, at the latest, we should see some revealing trends.



Here are the poll closure times. All times are Eastern Standard Time. In the case of states that span two time zones, we list the earliest closure time, but please note the following notations. * means the majority of the state polls close at the listed hour. ^ means the majority of polls close one hour later than the listed time.


6:00 pm

Indiana * Kentucky ^


7:00 pm

Florida * Georgia South Carolina Vermont Virginia


7:30 pm

Ohio West Virginia


8:00 pm

Alabama Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Illinois Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan * Mississippi Missouri New Hampshire New Jersey Oklahoma Pennsylvania South Dakota ^ Tennessee Texas *


8:30 pm

Arkansas North Carolina


9:00 pm

Arizona Colorado Kansas * Louisiana Minnesota Nebraska New Mexico New York Rhode Island Wisconsin Wyoming


10:00 pm

Iowa North Dakota Idaho * Montana Nevada Oregon Utah


11:00 pm

California Hawaii Washington


12:00 pm

Alaska *


Here’s what to look for. Indiana is one of the first polls to close. If Indiana goes for Obama, he will win the electoral vote. McCain will not win the election if he loses Indiana, not so much because of the electoral numbers from Indiana, but that an Obama win in Indiana means an Obama tidal wave. If Indiana falls to Obama, many more Bush 04 states will follow. Kentucky will go big for McCain, so we won’t learn much from that. If Obama won Kentucky, McCain might not win another state until Utah and Idaho.


The 7:00 pm hour brings in two bellwether states, Florida and Virginia. If Obama wins Virginia, McCain’s chances of pulling out a victory are very slim. If Obama wins Florida, McCain’s chances are like the old cliché “slim and none, and slim has left town. You may have noticed the asterisk next to Florida. The vast majority of Florida polls close at 7:00 pm EST, and we will be able to tell the Florida victor by Obama’s margin of victory in the Southeastern part of the state and the results from the Interstate 4 corridor.


7:30 brings Ohio. McCain cannot win the election without Ohio. Ohio should be close, but if Obama looks like he’s blowing out McCain in the Buckeye State, that would illustrate a nationwide landslide type electoral and popular vote victory for Obama.


Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania. McCain has put most, if not all, his eggs in the Pennsylvania basket. Polls appeared to have tightened in the Keystone state, but McCain has lead in a PA poll in over a month. If McCain manages to win in Pennsylvania, it may save him from a national embarrassment, but it won’t necessarily mean an electoral victory. It could also mean that electoral victory for Obama may be delayed a few hours. McCain has spent so much time, energy, and money in Pennsylvania that he has short changed other key battleground states.


In short, we will know relatively early in the evening whether this is gonna be an Obama blowout. Fivethirtyeight.com lists Obama’s chance of a landslide electoral college victory at 29.28 percent. McCain’s chances are 0.01 percent.

McCain has just not closed the gap. In the last three days, Obama’s RCP national average has gone from 5.9% to 6.9%. McCain’s state numbers are mixed. Here are the RCP averages for a number of battleground states. All of these states were won (we use the term loosely for Florida in 2000) by George W. Bush in both 2004 and 2000. Florida (1.5% on 10/22, 4.1 on 11/2), Virginia (7.0 on 10/22, 5.0 on 11/2), Ohio (2.5% on 10/22, 4.2% on 11/2), Colorado (5.4% on 10/22, 5.5% on 11/2), North Carolina (2.0% on 10/22, 0.2% on 11/2), Nevada (3.3% on 10/22, 5.8% on 11/2).


The numbers in these states are relatively close, but Obama has consistently lead in all of these Bush states. It is not good enough for McCain to pick off one or two, he must win them all, because Obama already has close to 270 electoral votes locked up without the swing states listed above.

1 comment:

Skucker said...

Nice job Norton. I just wonder why Buzz doesn't get more credit. We all know he crunches the OVC numbers on his Univac 3000 in the back of the VW microbus.