An Election Night Guide

Unless the polls are off like they haven’t been since 1948, tonight should bring America’s first relatively early election night in 12 years. What we might not know early: the makeup of the new Senate, the fate of California’s gay marriage initiative, and whether the Libertarian Party reaches an all-time record vote total.

There are plenty of ways to watch the election as a horse race. Jonathan Martin lists the most important counties in the swing states. John Tabin points out the close races and the signals that would hint at an Obama landslide or a McCain upset. Here’s a relatively brief rundown on what will close when, and what tea leaves to read, as well as a list of notable ballot measures. To my mind CNN has the best and most quickly-updated information, but expect lots of news sites to freeze up, and to move on to others.

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  • kinnath||

    On the bright side, we'll get to watch the good Reverend Jackson suck up to President-Elect Obama.

  • svf||

    CNN is only showing McBama's results... I suggest C-SPAN instead.

  • svf||

    bad link... trying again...

    C-SPAN/AP

  • ||

    ...California's gay marriage initiative...



    Florida has one too. Last I heard Amendment 2 had around 55% in favor. If that holds it fails since the threshhold for initiatives was raised to 60% last election.

    Yard signs along my route to I-4 going to work are 2 to 1 in favor. But 3 is probably not a good sample size.

    A lot more Obama signs than there were for Kerry but still outnumbered by McCain signs.

    My prediction (if anyone cares): Seminole County will go for McCain but by nowhere near the margins that Bush got.

    Florida will go for BO but by a narrow margin.

  • ChrisO||

    Is it wrong that I want to see McCain/Palin win just so that we get a classic Olbermann meltdown? All the candidates suck, so let's at least get some entertainment value out of it.

  • ||

    ChrisO,

    That, and to watch all the losers standing at city intersections screaming for Obama today to cry in their lattes about how it was stolen from them. For my money, that's entertainment.

  • Elemenope||

    ChrisO,

    No matter who wins, there will be entertaining meltdowns from *someone*.

  • Ironic||

    "Is it wrong that I want to see McCain/Palin win just so that we get a classic Olbermann meltdown? "

    No, not at all. I want to see that too.

  • BDB||

    "No matter who wins, there will be entertaining meltdowns from *someone*."

    Olbermann if McCain wins, Hannity if Obama wins. I'm good either way.

    Bill O'Reilly if Franken wins the Senate. Franken is a turd but at least he'd make another turd have a nervous breakdown.

  • Elemenope||

    Bill O'Reilly if Franken wins the Senate.

    That'll be YouTube gold, for sure. You know, I've always kinda liked Franken. He's a wiseass, but he's always annoying people who fucking deserve it, so it doesn't bother me.

  • ChrisO||

    Hannity and O'Reilly simply don't do the meltdown as entertainingly as Olbermann.

    O'Reilly is just a loudmouth putz. Hannity is a hack. But Olbermann goes into an almost dada level of nonsense in his purple rages. Plus, he's got Matthews egging him on. Seeing them lose it together--that would almost be worth four years of Mr. "My Friends."

  • ||

    Since McCain is totally not expected to win, a victory by him will be vastly more entertaining in terms of meltdowns, conspiracies, and exploding heads. Therefore, for my entertainment needs, I want McCain to win by like 3 votes.

  • ||

    That, and to watch all the losers standing at city intersections screaming for Obama today to cry in their lattes about how it was stolen from them. For my money, that's entertainment.

    Don't fret. The GOP fanboys have been rehearsing WE WUZ ROBBED!!! ACORN!!! for a couple of weeks now. I'm plan on laughing in their faces.

  • ||

    So, if a person stored their guns say 30 miles away...think one or two or five should be brought home for a possible special occasion?

  • BDB||

    "bigbigslacker | November 4, 2008, 4:32pm | #
    So, if a person stored their guns say 30 miles away...think one or two or five should be brought home for a possible special occasion?"

    Yeah, you never know. TallDave might riot.

  • ChrisO||

    Since McCain is totally not expected to win, a victory by him will be vastly more entertaining in terms of meltdowns, conspiracies, and exploding heads. Therefore, for my entertainment needs, I want McCain to win by like 3 votes.

    That's probably true. If Obama wins, you'll just see a bunch of long faces on Fox News, apart from Mara and Juan, of course. Now the Franken thing could be interesting--maybe O'Reilly rises to the occasion and pulls a Howard Beale.

    But a McCain victory--that would make MSNBC truly "must see TV".

  • BDB||

    ChrisO--

    I expect Scarborough to have a red-faced rant ready. Don't worry.

  • Orange Line Special||

    The most interesting meltdown would come from Sully. I hope it doesn't involve hostages.

    While we're waiting for the MSM to begin their final push to elect BHO, Reason still has a chance to offer an intellectually honest counterargument to all or most of my list of tweny non-partisan reasons not to vote for Obama.

  • BDB||

    Speaking of insane red faced dada-esque ranting, see above for another person who would have an entertaining reaction if Obama is elected.

  • ||

    Yeah, you never know. TallDave might riot.

    I hear he's picking out sharp implements and practicing writing backwards letters as we speak.

  • Elemenope||

    LoneWacko, you still don't get to talk. You're in the penalty box for dicking with the deep-frozen mouse-cloning thread. You may provide BakedPenguin with material, but you can do that just by being silently stupid.

    Also, you have yet to realize that an intellectually honest counterargument to *anything you ever produce* is to ignore it as stupid and possibly dangerous; you know, infectious like Snow Crash, or the HIV.

  • Elemenope||

    I hear he's picking out sharp implements and practicing writing backwards letters as we speak.

    Someone may want to mention to him that backwards "O"s are hard to do properly.

  • BDB||

    If joe is confident Obama will probably win. Liberals tend to be horrible pessimists who always assume the election will be "stolen". So if he is confident, it is probably true he is winning.

    Of course, I haven't been to any liberal blogs today.

  • BDB||

    Oh, and TallDave will come and paste something about the Black Panthers very soon.

  • ||

    I'm worried about what those Barr nuts might do if McCain wins. I don't want them to think I oppose the 2nd amendment.

    My prediction is little no turmoil (aside from the Barr guys).

  • BDB||

    "I'm worried about what those Barr nuts might do if McCain wins."

    We will uh.....uh...sell really, really shitty weed to McCain voters!

  • ||

    I'm worried that if Bob Barr loses, libertarians across America will...uh...say some snarky shit and then have another drink.

    OK, maybe "worried" wasn't the right word.

  • ||

    We will uh.....uh...sell really, really shitty weed to McCain voters!

    You can't do it, my friends.

  • BDB||

    Are the Kossacks screaming about "Rethuglican voeter fraud" yet, joe?

  • ||

    The two races I care about are the fourth district of North Carolina, and the Massachusetts income tax abolition.

    Killing the income tax in Massachusetts could start a cascade effect. Boston's a big town, and they would suddenly be able to win a lot of businesses away from New York.

    Hell, if Illinois followed suit, Chicago could be the financial center of the USA within a decade.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Oh, and TallDave will come and paste something about the Black Panthers very soon.

    Because voter intimidation by Obamanauts doesn't count!

  • ||

    Therefore, for my entertainment needs, I want McCain to win by like 3 votes.

    I'll second that. Now, if he also drops dead from a heart attack ten minutes after taking the oath of office, the popcorn's on me!

    -jcr

  • ||

    Hannity and O'Reilly simply don't do the meltdown as entertainingly as Olbermann.

    That's because they've been in the catbird's seat for 8 years. Losing complete hold on government should cause a seismic freakout.

    The thing is that it's in Olbermann's economic interest for McCain to win and Hannity/O'Reilly's economic interest for Obama to win. Publicly, they'll freak out, private, they'll be thanking the stars for the money.

  • BDB||

    I didn't put a value on it, RC. I'm just saying he will dependably post whatever The Corner, Drudge, Hot Air, or Free Republic tells him to.

  • ||

    Since McCain is totally not expected to win, a victory by him will be vastly more entertaining in terms of meltdowns, conspiracies, and exploding heads. Therefore, for my entertainment needs, I want McCain to win by like 3 votes.

    WIN.

    Given the hyperemotional investment people have in Obama, the meltdown would be vastly more entertaining.

    *cue a young, blond undergrad, a silent tear running down her cheek and striking her quivering lip...*..."WHYYYY!??!

  • BDB||

    My dream scenario is that the Bradley Effect is real, but all the votes go to Barr and he takes Pennsylvania. That'd be hilarious.

  • Elemenope||

    Killing the income tax in Massachusetts could start a cascade effect. Boston's a big town, and they would suddenly be able to win a lot of businesses away from New York.

    Hell, if Illinois followed suit, Chicago could be the financial center of the USA within a decade.


    Yeah, why didn't I think of that. If we had no income tax, we could be doing as well as New Hampshire!!!!

    Pure genius. Manchester will be a mecca of business inside of a decade.

  • ||

    Killing the income tax in Massachusetts could start a cascade effect. Boston's a big town, and they would suddenly be able to win a lot of businesses away from New York.

    People would be thrilled about it, until property tax rates are jacked up to make up for the shortage. No income tax != no taxes. It just becomes a shell game, where taxes are shifted to other sources.

  • Elemenope||

    Maple Syrup is tastier when it comes from trees that are not taxed.

    It's true.

  • Matt||

    Living in Boston and hearing the conversations people have here, there is absolutely no chance in hell the anti-income tax initiative goes through. One anecdote...three women talking on the T about the election and one asks about the tax vote, to which another responds: "Oh, so-and-so said why we do want the tax, so yeah." End of discussion. (Not to mention that literally everyone I have talked to is completely in the tank for Obama, outside of the one other Libertarian in the city I met, who was being mercilessly mocked by his friends for having caused the financial crisis--seriously!)

  • ||

    "Given the hyperemotional investment people have in Obama, the meltdown would be vastly more entertaining."

    I think Obama generates emotion from both sides, and I have to say I'd rather see the kind he generates from the right be frustrated tonight because I am not, you know, some kind of dick.

    I mean, that Obama, he makes people, especially those wacky emotional black people and young disaffected voters, all hopeful and shit. Man, I hate that. I mean, that's way worse than the smug satisfiction of racists and ethnocentric right wing fanatics who would feel their "secret Muslim" "Osama Hussein" stuff resonated with "real America."

    Jeezus.

  • ||

    I think if we find either VA or FL goes Obama I can go to bed early.

    As established I doubt the former seriously (I haven't forgot my vow), but the latter seems possible. But interestingly both are East Coast states so it could be an early night.

  • BDB||

    Watch Indiana. If it isn't called by 8:30 or so, McCain is really fucked. If it is called for Obama early, something has gone horribly wrong for McCain.

  • ||

    BDB,

    Are the Kossacks screaming about "Rethuglican voeter fraud" yet, joe?

    Naw, just some problems with electronic voting machines and really long lines. Except this time, Republicans are complaining about them, too.

    Can we just sell those things for scrap and go back to putting check boxes next to people's names?

  • BDB||

    "Naw, just some problems with electronic voting machines and really long lines. Except this time, Republicans are complaining about them, too."

    Probably a good sign for your side.

  • ||

    We don't need no vote on what those fucking STEELERS did last night though! Hell yeah!

    Turnover in Washington DC indeed!

  • ||

    I voted for Barr. Out of the 2 main candidates, I'd like to see Obama win.

    I was considering voting for Obama. But I figure my state (New York) is already in the bag for Obama. I don't care what Obama's margin of victory is. But if Barr has a strong showing, it might cause more discussion about drug policy reform, civil liberties, the patriot act, etc. So I do care about what small fraction of the electorate Bar gets.

  • ||

    MNG - you work that strawman over, boy!

    And yeah, FWIW, I DO hate to see a bunch of people get their hopes up over an empty-suit politician with soaring rhetoric.

    That's just me, though.

  • brandon||

    Virginia will go to Obama easily and so will the whole thing. Obama volunteers have come to my door some five times in the past week, putting hangers on my doorknob when I wasn't home and politely "reminding" me to vote when I was. All those new and young voters that everyone talks about but who never actually vote? The campaign has invested heavily in pushing them to the polls. I think it will pay off.

  • ||

    TAO-I think it's a mighty big dick who jets joy out of seeing some undergrad girl who got excited about politics and bettering the world get her hopes frustrated.

    That would be like people getting joy on all the people's stomped on enthusiasim over Ron Paul getting his ass handed to him in the GOP primaries (remember what dicks people like "Neil" seemed at the time)?

  • ||

    People here were pretty "hypermemotional" about Ron Paul's run. They were excited, and they should have been. Good for them. Getting joy about their eventual defeat is something a dick does.

    Likewise a lot of people are pretty emotionally invested in Obama's candidacy, as he seems to bring something different and valuable to the table they've been looking for in politics. Getting joy about their defeat would be something a dick does as well.

    I often see this among libertarians: an attitude that says "I hope that naively idealistic people who are trying to make the world a better place get whats coming to them and I hope I get to see it." I think that's sick.

  • Elemenope||

    People here were pretty "hypermemotional" about Ron Paul's run. They were excited, and they should have been. Good for them. Getting joy about their eventual defeat is something a dick does.

    Funnily enough, I got to get my Ron Paul write-in on, as I was determined to vote against my senator who had voted for the bailout, and yet his opponent was a psychotic tool. Seemed like a good a place as any.

    While driving to the polls on a highway overpass someone had put up an old Paul '08 campaign poster with "write-in" written underneath.

  • Elemenope||

    MNG --

    For what it's worth, schadenfreude can be an entirely natural and healthy response, especially when one is consistently outmatched.

    Not to the levels that some folks take it, but still.

  • ||

    think it's a mighty big dick who jets joy out of seeing some undergrad girl who got excited about politics and bettering the world get her hopes frustrated.

    I guess it does.

    I should change my handle to "Mighty Big Dick".

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