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November 4, 2008

GUEST ANALYSIS: Last Minute Presidential Election Summary 2008

by Doug Everett, Host of the Weekly Show "Radio Parallax" www.radioparallax.com

Tuesday's vote is expected to deliver all states carried by Kerry to Obama. At 270towin.com one can click on the '04 map as a reminder. Kerry got 252 votes – 18 short of the needed 270.

Iowa (7) - which went for Gore in '00 - is a SURE BET for Obama, leaving him just 11 votes short.

ANY combo of the following that totals 11 or more makes Obama victorious:
Ohio (20), Florida (27), Virgina (13), North Carolina (15), Indiana (11), Missouri (11), Colorado (9), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), North Dakota (3), Montana (3).

The most recent polls in "swing" states have the following differentials (Obama up equals a + number):
Indiana – 2 to -1%
Virginia + 7 to 8%
Florida + 2 to 4%
N.C. Tied to +1%
Missouri Tied to -1%
Colo. +6 to 7%
N.M. +7 to +11%
N.D. -4 to -1%
Iowa +13 to 15%
Mont. -4 to -3%
Nevada +3 to 4%.

NM looks like a lock for Obama leaving him 6 votes short of 270. So starting with Kerry's 2004 total and adding Iowa AND NEW MEXICO leaves Obama 6 away from a victory achievable with wins in both Montana & ND or any other single state in paragraph 5 (save NV). Virgina or Colorado should do it, failing that Ohio or Florida.

Anticipated Blow-by-Blow

Polls indicate a VERY difficult task for McCain. There has been talk of swinging Pennsylvania red, but McCain is down 8-10%. PA being in play will he shockingly bad news for Obama.
This is not at all likely. If it happens I will suspect fraud.

The first polls close at 4PM (Pacific time); McCain will carry KY, GA & SC easily and will add WV soon after 4:30. Vermont will go blue. As the networks call these (~4:45?) McCain should jump to a 36-3 lead.

At 4PM polls ALSO close in Florida (except the panhandle) plus Ohio & NC. If ANY can be promptly called for Obama it is curtains for McCain.

The networks MAY be reluctant to do this, especially in FL given the fact that some western polling places will not close till 5 PST.

THE key state in this election is probably Virginia. Its 13 electors are enough to make Obama President. His lead is solid there, ~7%. If VA goes Obama, as expected, it should all be over.

Will networks make the call? Exit pollsters are reputedly on a short leash this year so exit poll results may be held back. Once polls close the initial data will make predictions easily in most cases!

Upon 5PM poll closings McCain should pick up 73 more votes from easily called Ala, Miss,TN,TX,OK & KS. This should take him to 109.

Meanwhile Obama can count on 117 votes from these strongly blue states: ME,NH,MA,CN,NJ,DE,MD,DC,PA,IL & MI. He should go to 120.

Missouri will close polling now too. It is expected to be very close, making a delay in calling it either way probable.

Review: between 5 & 6 PM one can expect a 109-120 count; with Florida, Ohio, North Carolina unlikely to be called yet. McCain cannot lose any of these 3 or he is dead. Any of these going for Obama (or Missouri) means he wins - barring entirely unexpected losses in states blue in '04.

About this time Indiana, though tight, might be called. I see it going red making a 120-120 tie as 6PM PST is passed. That is, if the networks aggressively call states.

After 5:30 PST Arkansas and North Dakota should close polling. Arkansas will go red giving McCain 126.

ND is interesting – polling is quite close. McCain needs to win it and chances are he will squeak by - giving him 129.

After 6PM we should see McCain add 30 more to his total thanks to LA,SD,NE,WY & AZ. I see him at 159 as they call these states.

Obama will add 60 to his tally via NY,RI,WI,MN and the key state of New Mexico. His total should be 180.

After 6 PM Colorado enters the mix. McCain is 7% down there. It may be called early - also tantamount to an Obama victory.

Post 7PM Iowa should dole its 7 votes to Obama, giving him 187.

Before polls even close in California at 8PM this election SHOULD be decided as an Obama win.

The networks will likely NOT declare Obama the victor until west coast polls close, however, even if he has it in the bag.

As we near 8PM Utah & Idaho will have added their votes to McCain, Montana will likely give him 3 more taking him to 171.

Alaska WILL push this tally to 174 when its polls close at 9PM.

After 8PM Obama will get 77 more votes from CA,OR, WA & Hawaii pushing him to that 264 talked about at the beginning.

After 8PM the election will hinge on those swing states.

After 8pm Nevada's polls close. Should it go blue - and EVERY other swing state not yet counted go red - a 269-269 tie would result! And given a 4% lead in NV Obama SHOULD go to a 269 vote total one vote shy of the 270 needed.

While it is very unlikely, a possibility exists that the election could be swung by one of the 2 states that DIVIDE their electors. Maine's 4 votes will surely all remain blue and Nebraska's 5 will likely stay red. But if Obama should prevail in Omaha (Warren Buffet endorsed him) its elector could go to him – giving him 270. A curious scenario.

If the election is a tie the House picks the president. This actually happened in 1800 & 1824. If it goes to the House, BTW, a Democratic victory is not certain but is very likely. A topic for another day!

After CA closes our polls it should come down to: Virginia, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri and Colorado!

Could the election drag on all night undecided as did Bush v Gore? NOT LIKELY!
- Virginia and Colorado both give Obama leads of around 7%.
- Ohio has Obama up by around 4%
- He is up 2-4% in Florida
- Missouri & NC are toss-ups but McCain absolutely must win both.

If by 8:15 Obama is not declared a victor despite being (per my analysis) 1 vote shy, Democrats should start getting nervous.

In 2004 the LA Times had Kerry at 320 just days before the election. As it happened Bush prevailed in 5 states leaning quite blue before people went to the polls. Those states were: Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico & Colorado. Could a similar swing of 6 states occur this time? Again, not likely, the 2004 votes were tight in New Mexico, Iowa and Colorado. Evidence for election chicanery in Ohio is overwhelming, however, and strong in Florida and New Mexico. McCain running the table in these key swing states will be harder this time around. But this could be a more interesting election than a lot of people hope.

Weather addendum

In a close election weather can play a role. It is widely believed that the 1960 and 1976 elections could have gone the other way (Nixon and Ford over JFK and Carter respectively) had election day seen inclement weather. Republicans tend to vote regardless of weather conditions. Not so Democrats.

Tuesday forecast calls for wonderful weather in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota; rain in Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia. The former should help Obama; the latter McCain. Nevada should be clear. Advantage Obama.

My handicap: NC may swing to McCain and Missouri to Obama owing to weather. The rest should not change their outcome because weather usually only makes a percent difference or so.

North Dakota is intriguing though - nice weather COULD push the state blue, which would be decisive.