This is it! After months of polls, controversies, superdelegates and primaries, veepstakes and conventions, ads, debates, we have finally reached Election Day, its presidential election, 35 Senate contests and 435 House races - as well as countless state-level battles over gubernatorial mansions, initiatives and state legislatures.
In fact, the first ballots have already been counted, as New Hampshire’s tiny Dixville Notch kept up its 60-year tradition of getting all its registered voters to cast a ballot shortly after midnight, allowing the locality to immediately count the votes. The results are in: Obama prevails with 15 votes versus 6 for John McCain- the first time in 40 years that a Democrat has prevailed in Dixville Notch! Hart’s Location quickly followed with the full results of its locality, with Obama besting Obama besting McCain 17 votes to 10, with 2 write-ins for Ron Paul. So with 2 precincts reporting, Obama has banked 32 votes to McCain’s 16 and Paul’s 2!
So now that I have updated my latest ratings (I will post a last wave of House updates tomorrow morning, though these changes have already been incorporated in my House page), feel free to log in some of your predictions:
- What will be the presidential election’s popular vote and electoral college breakdown? What red states will Barack Obama win? Will McCain win any blue states?
- How many seats will Democrats pick-up in the Senate - and which? Will Republicans win Louisiana? Will Georgia be decided tomorrow or will it go to a runoff (if the latter, which candidate will come out ahead tomorrow)?
- How many seats will Democrats pick-up in the Senate? How about Republicans? I imagine not everyone will want to try to list all seats that will switch over - but that’s obviously the sign of a true political junkie? And what Republican incumbents that are barely on our radar screen risk being upset tomorrow?
- North Carolina and Washington’s gubernatorial races are among the tightest elections in the country - certainly hard to predict.
- Any other predictions are more than welcome!
As a guideline (with some of my predictions along the way), here are my latest presidential ratings:
- Safe McCain: AL, AK, ID, KS, KY, MS, NE (AL and 3), OK, UT, TN, TX, WY (99)
- Likely McCain: AR, LA, NE-01, SC, SD, WV (29)
- Lean McCain: AZ, NE-02
- Toss-up: FL, GA, IN, MO, MT, NC, ND (85)
- Lean Obama: OH (20)
- Likely Obama: CO, IA, ME (all 4), MI, MN, NV, NH, NM, PA, VA, WI (96)
- Safe Obama: CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA (185)
If I absolutely had to allocate the toss-up races (with the understanding that they are extemely tight and that this is only for the fun of predictions), I would give Florida, Missouri, Montana and North Carolina to Obama and Georgia, Indiana and North Dakota to McCain - giving Obama 367 electoral votes. (If African-American turnout is as strong tomorrow as some Democrats are hoping, Georgia and Indiana would fall in Obama’s column).
In the Senate:
- Safe/likely GOP (total of 38)
- Lean GOP: KY, MS (40)
- Toss-up: GA, MN
- Lean Dem: NC, AK, LA (58)
- Likely/Safe Dem: VA, NM, CO, NH, OR (total of 55)
If I had to allocate the toss-up races, I would give Minnesota to Al Franken and send Georgia into a runoff. All lean races remain highly competitive, and an opposite result remains very much possible in all of them. That is particularly the case in Alaska, where no one can really say what Ted Stevens’ true prospects are, and Mississippi, where a confusing ballot combined to a surge in black turnout make for an unpredictable race.
In the gubernatorial races:
- Likely GOP: IN, VT
- Toss-up: NC, WA
- Likely Dem: MO
If I had to allocate the toss-up races, I would give both North Carolina and Washington to the Democrats. Christine Gregoire and Bev Perdue would be in a far weaker situation in any other year, but the anti-GOP mood could be enough for them to eke out a victory.
In the House:
- Likely GOP: 24 R, 1 D
- Lean GOP: 12 R, 2 D
- Toss-up: 18 R, 7 D
- Lean Dem: 12 R, 3 D
- Likely Dem: 7 R, 13 D
As I have said before, House ratings are very different from those of other races as we can be almost sure that at least a couple of likely retention seats will switch parties. There is simply not enough data about some of these races to have a clear indication of where they are likely to go: We could see huge upsets in one or two GOP-held seats in California , in SC-01 or in IA-04. My outlook is be for Democrats to gain somewhere between 25 and 33 seats (with more pick-ups possible).