Here's how I think it's going to shake down tonight:
And bear in mind that this is a best-case scenario. I still have a fear that McCain is going to win by hook or by crook, but this is the way I see a likely Obama victory. We're going to be up late, that's for sure, and there's going to be at least one lawsuit, but I'm going to go ahead and give McCain PA and OH and FL, because at the end of the day, I think a mixture of racism, old people and "b-b-but he's a muslim socialist, my pastor told me so" will win over the hearts and minds of the electorate. VA will swing Obama, but it's not going to be as secure as they hope. It'll be close. NC won't go Obama - although it will be close, and SC certainly won't. They just won't. Obama's not white enough. SC will go to McCain quickly. At least one state will be called for one candidate and then later recalled to swing, then reassigned to the other. I'm not sure which one, but I feel it in my Mystic Meg bones that it's going to happen.
As you can see, not the massive Obama landslide that everyone seems to be predicting. Why, oh great one, I hear you cry? What Dow Chemical calls "the people element". The beauty of math is that it's not swayed. There's a right answer and a wrong answer. But math is emotionless, and it doesn't take random variables into consideration. So the polling data isn't necessarily wrong, it just doesn't take into consideration variables that can't be realistically predicted. Rain, for example; rain might not keep Mr Smith from voting, but Mr Jones might not want to get wet. Wait times; Mr Jones might not mind waiting three hours in line to vote, but Mr Smith might have a bad back. The severity of party affiliation; Mr Smith might feel so strongly for his candidate that he'd go out and vote no matter what, Mr Jones might see that his candidate is on a pretty good track and feels that he doesn't *need* the extra vote to win. For example, if a McCain supporter in Nevada, whose polls close later than those on the east coast, might see that McCain has taken "the big three" - Ohio, PA and Florida - and then decide not to go out and vote, assuming that with those three under his belt, he's a shoe-in.
And that's not counting the dreaded "Bradley Effect" that could easily muddy the waters of polls. I mean, South Carolina still flies the confederate flag - is it *really* in play between a black man and white "war hero"?
So my official prediction is that the first network will call the presidency for Obama at around 3:30 Wednesday morning, but there will be one controversial state that will be contested for one reason or another - probably OH or PA - and that will delay the actual result a few hours. After a recount, McCain will "do the honourable thing" and concede, in prime time, tomorrow night.
What's your prediction? Post it below. A laurel, and hardy handshake from the south to the person who gets it rightest before midnight tonight.*
*while supplies last
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