Built on Facts

Election Liveblogging

This election day post is going to be continuously updated until the winner becomes more-or-less official. Tomorrow we’ll have one more politics post as something of a benediction, and then mercifully back to the physics. Updates will appear at the top of the post, so feel free to refresh throughout the night. I’m writing in the central time zone, so timestamps on this post will reflect such.

11:39 Well, the Minnesota mess is still a mess though Coleman has pulled ahead by a hair. Looks like the result will be Obama without a filibuster-proof majority. As such, I’m going to bed. Good night!

10:48 McCain conceded, and in his speech he said this:

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

This is certainly a tremendously historic election, and though I regret the political views of the winner I’m very proud of this country for reaching such a milestone.

10:31 Looks like the overall popular margin will be about 2 points. For all the dramatic electoral college victory, it’s still a divided country. Senate still up in the air. Franken/Coleman even more dead even, if it’s possible.

10:11 They’ve called the presidency. The senate is still up in the air. Landrieu wins, Franken dead even.

9:41 I understand the desire to be cautious, but the presidential election is over. It’s been over. Really it’s been over since the stock market tanked. The networks are just trying to drum up drama at this point. Call it.

9:25 In a bit of a surprise, the Louisiana senate election is pretty close. Probably not close enough for Landrieu to be in real danger, but close enough to cause some sweating.

9:14 With the presidential election over, we’re waiting on the senate seats. The Franken/Coleman race is the one to watch. I’ll be perfectly honest: Obama is a nice, smart guy whom I just don’t think will make a good president. Franken I actively don’t like. But reality is what it is, and we’ll see what the people of Minnesota say.

8:43 On the plus side, I’m on pace to have called every state correctly. But it’s early yet. Well, the result is decided but it would still be nice to have called the details. And my 58 seat senate prediction is still in play.

8:27 Fox called Ohio, so I call the election. Obama wins.

8:06 If the Democrats get 60 seats in the senate, might Lieberman defect? He might.

7:57: As McCain’s chances approach 0, the chance of 60 Democratic senate seats declines as well. Georgia’s seat is safe.

7:33 Ohio and Florida both at 90% on Intrade. Since McCain essentially must win both, his chances are now roughly 1%. The overall Intrade contract for him is about 3.5%. I’m going to wait to call the election for at least a few more minutes, but at this point it’s pretty much a formality.

7:17 Though I’m not thrilled with it being called so early, Pennsylvania is now generally considered to be solidly in the Obama camp. Not unexpected. If it is true, the presidential election is effectively over. McCain could win Ohio and Florida and still lose. There’s still the senate seats to watch. But for now I’m not calling the presidential contest either.

7:12 Data has begun appearing in a few crucial states, Florida and Virginia in particular. Obama leads Florida, McCain leads Virginia. Both have only a fairly small number of precincts reporting. In the last 20-30 minutes or so however, Obama has risen to 95% on Intrade.

7:03 Elizabeth Dole is probably toast in North Carolina. Unfortunate for my side, but not unexpected.

6:55 My own original home state of Louisiana has gone for the winner of every presidential election since 1972. I think it’s the longest running streak. It looks set to easily go McCain, so odds are the streak will be broken tonight. Still no real results from the swing states, and so at this point I’d say we’re still where we were yesterday in terms of predictive data. This will be changing very shortly.

6:33 Apparently CNN (I’m not watching TV) has reporters appearing via hologram. Wolf Blitzer’s protestations to the contrary, I can assure you as a physicist that in fact practical video holograms are science fiction. It’s a digital effect, and Wolf can’t see anything there. Also via NRO, here’s John Derbyshire on his voting experience. Love him or hate him, he’s a brilliant writer. My own thought process in the booth was similar, though I shall not say whether I voted the same way.

6:17 From CNN: “John McCain will win Kentucky’s electoral votes and Barack Obama will take Vermont’s”. This just in: earth in orbit about the sun.

5:58 I think it merits pointing out that exit polls are totally worthless. I’ve been watching elections for a long time, and I don’t think I can remember any instance where exit polling actually shed any light on the situation. Already I’ve seen “Exit polls say the race is tighter than expected!” and “Exit polls show it’s going to be a blowout!”. No. The real polls will close soon enough and we’ll see the real ballots. Until then we might as well make our calls based on voodoo.

5:29 The election is in full swing. I voted days ago and I’m not affiliated with any organized political effort so my role is as an observer. Some quick observations, none of which are original.

First: the election will be decided fairly early in the night. There are few swing states west of Ohio, and given the pre-election numbers the contest will be more or less decided if Obama wins even one of Florida, Ohio, or Pennsylvania. He seems set to win all three, but of course we know nothing for sure until the results are in. From a post down you may remember my prediction is 338 EVs for Obama and we’ll see how it turns out.

Second: unless we have the mother of all poll debacles, Obama will handily win the popular vote. If he loses the electoral college it will mean the end of the electoral college system. This is really too bad, as in a less rancorous time it serves as a safeguard to prevent a regional demagogue who is overwhelmingly popular in only a few states from getting elected. But with a country split like this, a popular/electoral result difference will produce ugliness the likes of which this country hasn’t seen in more than a century. I view this possibility as very unlikely, however.

Third: I’m following the results almost exclusively online, via the news organizations, Intrade, and a few select political sites. Only the numbers matter, TV talking heads full of vapor shed heat but not light. For the record, Obama is at 95% on Intrade. At this time in 2004 I believe the percentage was quite near the middle.

Comments

  1. #1 llewelly
    November 4, 2008

    Mark Bluemthnal and Nate Silver have both written about exit polls. It seems like most people who’ve educated themselves about polling think exit polls are (at best) less reliable than than the most recent pre-election polls.

  2. #2 Tophe
    November 4, 2008

    So far all my state predictions are right too :D

    Did you predict 58 seats including Independents? My prediction was 56-42-2.

  3. #3 Nomen Nescio
    November 4, 2008

    If the Democrats get 60 seats in the senate, might Lieberman defect?

    what, you’re speculating he might become a democrat again?

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    November 4, 2008

    Re your 9:41 comment: They can’t call the election before 11PM eastern time, because they won’t call any state before the polls close in that state, and that is when polls close in CA (as well as OR, WA, ID, and HI). It’s hard for a Democrat to get to 270 electoral votes without CA, unless it’s an LBJ-vs-Goldwater type blowout.

  5. #5 Donalbain
    November 5, 2008

    Worst news: It seems that PropHate passed in Ca.

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