What To Look For On Tuesday


Polls are still streaming out, but it is fair to assume that Obama is entering the last 48 hours of the campaign in the strongest position possible. People want change; the electorate is pessimistic and highly dissatisfied with the Republican policies of the past 8 years. With the economy in recession, Obama has a double digit lead over McCain in handling the economy.

We have all known for months that this election would be settled in some key battleground states. Most Republican-held battleground states are up for grabs and Obama is leading in nearly every one of them. As for the Democrat-held battleground states, McCain is trailing badly–and has been months–in several of them.

It is my belief that the Eastern time zone will reveal who will be president. Watch New Hampshire: although it went Democratic in 2004, it has always been kind to McCain. But now, it is leaning heavily toward Obama on the eve of the election. If it stays Obama, then McCain’s comeback narrative takes a beating. Then watch Pennsylvania, which is Democratic with tightening polls. If Obama wins there, we know that the Democratic contender will hold on to Kerry’s score in 2004. Finally, watch Virginia. The last time it went Democratic was 1964. If it goes to Obama this time, he wins the election.


What To Look For On Tuesday

  1. How do I get this on my blog.

  2. “It is my belief that the Eastern time zone will reveal who will be president”

    Agree with this sentence but have different States to watch. Ohio, Penn, Virginia and Florida are key and if McCain wins those four, watch out Obama fans.

  3. I don’t think this election will be decided for weeks to come.

    Judging from poll data it looks like Obama’s support has scattered around the country. With the record number of voters and all this talk about technical problems at the voting booths, I’m fearful of a long and painful legal process following the election results.

  4. Your interview on the CBC tonight really moved me. I listen to Vancouver Island raido quite a lot because I live on San Juan Island. I wish Canadians, especially Quebecois could vote in our election this year. You seem to be far better informed and sophisticated about the American candidates. Perhaps a little distance helps. I too am a child of the 60’s and feel a fllutter of that old idealism when I hear Obama. My daughters are Mamas for Obama.I dropped my ballot in the box in front of the Sheriff’s Office this morning. Now just the waiting. Thank you for working for our better future.

  5. “Agree with this sentence but have different States to watch. Ohio, Penn, Virginia and Florida are key and if McCain wins those four, watch out Obama fans.”

    Yes, also, if McCain wins the remaining 46 states, watch out Obama fans!

    My prediction: the election gets called at 7PM Eastern after Virginia, Georgia and Florida go for Obama.

  6. jwl,

    I understand your list of states to watch, and you’re totally correct about Penn., Florida, Ohio and Virginia, but it’s not a very telling thing to watch for, is it? In terms of McCain winning all four that is. I mean, sure, if McCain wins ALL FOUR of those states then Obama might be in some trouble. But pretty much ANYONE (short of Osama Bin Laden) would be likely to win the Presidency if they won Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania AND Virginia. Isn’t making that statement kinda like saying “Just watch, if McCain gets 270 electoral votes then Obama is in trouble”?

    For what it’s worth, here are the latest polls from CNN of those four states:

    Penn: Obama 52, McCain 46
    Virginia: Obama 47, McCain 44
    Florida: Obama 50, McCain 46
    Ohio: McCain 47, Obama 45

    So yes, if McCain wins all four of these states (three of which he’s currently behind in) then it could be tougher for Obama then we all think.

    Then again, on CNN’s Electoral Map Calculator even if you give all four of those states to McCain, and give McCain all the other states that are leaning McCain, and Obama all the other states that are leaning Obama you end up with Obama ahead 257 to 238 with 43 electoral votes still as toss ups. This is much better math for McCain than CNN’s current calculation (Obama 291, McCain 157 with 90 toss ups) but McCain fans have to be a bit worried that even with counting Florida, Ohio, Virginia AND Pennsylvania in the McCain column McCain is STILL behind in the predicted numbers.

    I’d narrow your states to two: Pennsylvania and Virginia. If McCain can take Pennsylvania, that’s a somewhat worrying sign for Obama, imho (not fatal, but worrying). However, if Obama wins Virginia, I’d say everyone’s pretty safe going to bed at that point.

    Personally, I don’t think tomorrow’s going to be all that close. I’m quite confident that Obama will win over 300 electoral votes (in fact, ever since I heard some talking heads discussing the various scenarios by which Obama could get 400 electoral votes, I’m actually quite confident he could get over 350). The problem for McCain is that he pretty much MUST take all the toss up states AND a number of states that are leaning towards Obama in order to win. Give McCain every state that’s leaning McCain, AND every state that’s still a toss-up and McCain is still short (on CNN’s map, this gives him 247 electoral votes). In this scenario, winning either Penn. or Virginia just isn’t enough, he MUST win both. Obama meanwhile can win the election by winning EITHER Virginia, OR Pennsylvania, even if McCain sweeps ALL of the toss-up states (at least, by CNN’s map, but from what I’ve seen, most other outlets maps favour Obama MORE heavily, not less).

    I see the worst case to best case scenarios being this:

    McCain: 121-279 electoral votes
    Obama 210-381 electoral votes

    McCain has to run the table AND pick off at least two democratic leaning states to squeak out a victory. Obama can actually leave all the toss-ups AND a couple of states he’s currently leading in on the table and still win.

    I’ll be pretty shocked if McCain manages to pull this out of the fire.

  7. Lord KO

    I agree that McCain has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning tomorrow, was just trying to wind up the Obama partisans a bit. My point in choosing those four states was that if McCain does win those, it’s not trending Obama’s way like most of us think it is at the moment.

    In a normal election, winning those four states would probably lead to the presidency but, as you point out, the election calculus is a bit different this time around.

    I think Obama is going to end up winning with about 350 electoral college votes. I think a small but significant part of the electorate like to vote for the winner and it’s those people that will likely give Obama a landslide tomorrow.

    However, I am curious to see if the coal issue has any traction. New tape with Obama saying coal companies are going to go bankrupt under his administration isn’t going to help his cause in a few States that are awfully close at the moment.

  8. JWL,
    I cannot imagine there are many people out there still scratching their heads about who to vote for. It seems like this election has been going on for years. Right now, I would say that they have to see how many people they can get out to the polls in those swing states.

  9. Thanks for the reply jwl…

    As much as the electoral math may be a bit different now, I do have to say though that if McCain wins all four of the states you mentioned, I’d get very worried (as an Obama supporter). Really, it would just be Pennsylvania that would worry me. Frankly, Obama SHOULDN’T (under “normal circumstances”, whatever those are) win Ohio, Florida and Virginia. At the very least, Florida and Virginia ought to be redder on the maps. However, Penn he SHOULD win, it “should” be blue, so losing that could be a sign of a worrying trend.

    All that said, it occurs to me that in many ways (as usual) OHIO is what we should really focus on. It’s the closest of the four, and the only one McCain is leading in. If Ohio goes for Obama, it’ll probably be a good night for him (if it goes for McCain it’s less meaningful, depending on how other states go).

    One other thing to note is early voting. While we think of the election as “starting” tomorrow, the fact is that the election is already happening. Close to 25 million votes have already been cast, and while we don’t know who those people voted for, we do know that more Democrats than Republicans have voted early (something like 57%-43%, roughly). So, in a sense, one could argue that McCain is possibly already behind, before Tuesday’s polls even open. So, he’s starting the day tomorrow behind, and all indications seem to be that for once, the Democrats have the better ground game, and the more excited (and more likely to vote) supporters – an area that has more foten than not favoured Republicans. Of course, this is partly due to Obama’s historic candidacy (vis-a-vis race) but also in part due to Obama’s historic fundraising, and well tuned organization (in some swing states, Obama has more campaign offices than there are districts!).

    As for the “coal issue” that does sound interesting, and potentially damaging, but not on Monday the 3rd. I follow politics pretty closely (more so than most Americans follow their politics I’d wager) and your comment is the first I’ve heard of it, so I doubt there’s time for it to change many votes.

    And Chris, I also can’t imagine that many people are still undecided, and I agree, except that all day today CNN’s been plastering undecided voters (and profiles thereof) all over their homepage. Honestly, the segment ought to be labeled “the dumbest people in America”. Seriously, if you’re having trouble deciding between the old, white, pro-life, pro-Iraq war, “target tax cuts at the top 10% of income earners and let it trickle down” candidate and the young, black, pro-choice, anti-Iraq war, “target tax cuts at the bottom 95% of income earners, ’cause nothing ever really trickles down and we all know it” candidate I question how you make the decision about whether or not to breathe every day.

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