After a ludicrous primary season, an overhyped vice-presidential race, two memorable conventions, and a bruising (and preposterously expensive) general election, the night we've all been waiting for is finally upon us.
Throughout the night, I'll be sending in my analysis of the presidential polls and reactions from fellow students here at the University of Chicago as well as notable commentators on TV and around the web. Additionally, I'll be keeping a particularly close eye on the breathtakingly tight Kaine/Allen Senate race in my home state of Virginia and the various ballot initiatives (pot legalization in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, etc) up for passage across the nation.
So where do things stand now?
At this point, election junkies have probably heard about (University of Chicago grad) Nate Silver's latest odds for an Obama win: 91.6%. As reported in the Atlantic Wire, his track record thus far is essentially sterling: Silver correctly predicted the outcomes of 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential elections, all 35 Senate races that year, and 34 out of 36 midterm races in 2010. Whether the conservative media wants to acknowledge it or not, his numbers appear to be solid.
But Virginia seems iffy to me. Silver's giving Obama 81% odds for winning the state, but things have only started trending his way over the past week or so. Still, Kaine's new lead in the polls after months of dead-even numbers could be evidence of a now palpable downticket effect, meaning that the trend could actually be pretty solid.
In any case, it'll be an interesting night. Stay tuned.
PolicyMic will be covering the election live. Bookmark and refresh this page throughout the day for all the latest developments.
6:36 ET: Exit polling data is starting to tricke in. Some helpful advice from Ezra Klein:
"At their best, exit polls give election junkies an early sense of how the American electorate is leaning. At their worst, their data can be incomplete and misleading. Early exit polls don’t always capture the full picture of who is voting; supposed “leaks” are often inaccurate."
6:54: The editors of n+1 provide some eloquent commentary from the left.
"A second Obama administration may accomplish pitifully inadequate but nevertheless real progressive change in domestic policy, even as it consolidates—through the perpetuation of the prison at Guantánamo Bay and the extension of the drone assassination program—presidential exemption from the rule or law. (Right now few Americans worry about the right the executive has conferred on itself to kill any citizen, at any place or time, without demonstrated cause: a recipe for massive state terror for which the future may supply the celebrity chef.) Another reason to vote for Obama, or at least to be glad that others do, is one recently advanced by Doug Henwood: “When a Democrat is in power, it’s easier to see that the problems with our politics . . . are systemic issues, and not a matter of individuals or parties.”
7:02: Polls have closed in Florida. HuffPo has an interactive map:
7:35: Virginia exit poll analysis from the NYT:
"Over all, Virginia voters see Mr. Obama’s policies favoring the middle class and poor, and Mr. Romney’s policies favoring the rich followed by the middle class. The contrast becomes more striking when looking at voter preference.
Among Mr. Obama’s supporters, 8 in 10 say his policies favor the middle class while 9 of 10 say Mr. Romney’s policies favor the rich.
Virginians are divided on the 2010 health care law. Those saying some or all of the law should be repealed have the edge over those preferring that the law be expanded or left as it is."
In short, my home state sounds a lot like a microcosm for the nation as a whole. And the nation as a whole is, of course, in a dead heat. This'll be close. Really close.
7:42: Current Results via Real Clear Politics
As you can see, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia have already been called for Romney while Vermont's gone for Obama.
8:14: More RCP Results
No surprises yet. Romney's up in Virginia and Florida while Obama has a lead in Ohio.
8:30: Apparently massive turnout in my home state of Virginia. Like, bigger than 2008 massive.
Also: According to the Washington Post, George Allen is leading Tim Kaine in VA's Senate race 51.7% - 48.3%.
Obama takes Pennsylvania. But look at Florida.
9:31: From the NYT, a look at Florida...
9:40: Nate Cohn of the The New Republic on Virginia thus far:
"Obama matches his '08 performance in Lunenburg, VA, another rural county with a large black population in southeastern Virginia where 100 percent of precincts are counted. Once again, it looks like the burden is on Romney to make larger gains northern Virginia than he is in the southeastern part of the state. But in perhaps an ominous sign for Romney's odds in northern Virginia, Romney isn't yet outperforming McCain in the Richmond suburbs. Obama is outperforming his '08 performance in Chesterfield County with 95 percent of precincts reporting."
9:49: My home county of Prince William County, Virginia is still red on every map I've seen as of now. This is good news for Romney - this was the location of Obama's last election rally in 2008 and the county did break for him. The exurban parts of Northern Virginia were always going to decide the state and it looks like Prince William County and some of the rest will deliver for Romney
10:03: From HuffPo: The latest numbers on pot legalization
11:28: Well that's all folks. From the NYT: