Monday, November 3, 2008


Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 77

Election Day is tomorrow. I can hardly believe it. After months and months of a campaign by turns exhilarating, exasperating, inspiring, and finally, exhausting, tomorrow the votes will be cast and the only poll that matters will tell us who will be our next president.

In the predictions department, I'm forecasting an Obama victory in the range of anywhere from 299 electoral votes on the low side to a probable maximum of 360. It is certainly possible for the total to come out even higher, but I would be stunned at a landslide of that magnitude. I suspect I would not be the only one.

I do not expect the balloting tomorrow to mirror the close-run votes of 2000 and 2004. I believe the results will be decisive to the extent that the all-too-predictable voting irregularities in Ohio and Florida will not keep us from knowing the result until later in the week. We will wake up Wednesday morning knowing the winners and losers.

The key battleground states in the presidential race remain Florida, Missouri and Ohio. I know the MSM maintains that Pennsylvania is not yet in the bag for Obama, but they're wrong; Pennsylvania will be called early in the evening, and when it is you can uncork the champaign for Barack.

As to the House and Senate, I'm looking for a Democratic gain of around 30 seats in the House and perhaps 8 in the Senate. That will leave Democrats shy of the vaunted 60 seat "super majority" in the Senate that would make life a lot easier for President Obama, but, looking at the data, it is hard to see how we get more than 58 Democratic senators. We'll just have to dig in and make up the difference in the 2010 midterms.

I also believe that election night is ever so much more fun if one has a scorecard, so I've picked CQ Politics' slate of bellweather races from the list of innumerable alternatives out there:

House races

Conn. 4th: Rep. Christopher Shays (R) vs. Jim Himes (D) — No Clear Favorite
Indiana 3rd: Rep. Mark Souder (R) vs. Michael Montagano (D) — Leans Republican
Ohio 1st: Rep. Steve Chabot (R) vs. Steve Driehaus (D) — No Clear Favorite
Ohio 2nd: Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) vs. Vic Wulsin (D) — Leans Republican
Ohio 15th: Steve Stivers (R) vs. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) — No Clear Favorite
Ohio 16th: Kirk Schuring (R) vs. John Boccieri (D) — Leans Democratic
Wyo. At Large: Cynthia Lummis (R) vs. Gary Trauner (D) — No Clear Favorite

Senate races

Georgia: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) vs. Jim Martin (D) — Leans Republican
Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) vs. Bruce Lunsford (D) — Leans Republican
Maine: Sen. Susan Collins (R) vs. Rep. Tom Allen (D) — Leans Republican
Oregon: Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R) vs. Jeff Merkley (D) — No Clear Favorite

Outcomes in these races will give us a pretty solid idea of whether the oft-anticipated electoral Perfect Storm of 2008 will materialize.

I'll be spending tomorrow morning working a double shift as a poll watcher here in Des Moines, then drumming my fingers the rest of the afternoon waiting for the first polls to close. Butterflies. I want this one like Christmas morning.

Finally, if you haven't taken advantage of early voting, DON'T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4!

(can you hear me now?)

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