Monday, November 3, 2008

Leading Indicators for Election Night

Several states (Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia) will be the first to report election results tomorrow night, coming in at 7:00 p.m.(EST). Although the outcomes in South Carolina and Vermont are foregone conclusions, I will be watching Georgia, Indiana, and Virginia for indicators of an early or late night.

Here are some things that I think could signal a big night for either candidate and give us some hint about how things will play out:

The shorter version: If Obama carries all three states, let the kids stay up--it's going to be a short night; if McCain carries all three, especially by wide margins, put the kids to bed and get ready for a long night.

UPDATE: Florida is not included here because the much of the panhandle votes until 8:00 EST. That said, I'm not sure if the networks will wait until all the polls are closed to make a call. If they call Florida at 7:00, here's my analysis:

A win for Obama is now expected, based on current polls. A win that is significantly bigger than the spread could be a sign of under polling his support, or of the impact of he GOTV machine, and augurs for a bigger than expected night for Obama.

A win here by McCain, especially if by more than a couple of points, spells trouble for Obama. Among other things, a McCain win could be a sign that pre-election polling was overestimating Obama's support. Obama can still win without Florida, but losing here would be a sign of a much tighter race for the rest of the evening.


Anonymous said...

Tom: As a native Hoosier, I am glad that someone is finally suggesting that people pay attention to Indiana early on. Everyone is pointing to VA, NC, FL, etc., but forget that not only is the Indiana in play, but polls there close at 6pm eastern (that's 5pm for us central folks). So Indiana could give us an early read unless, as in the primary, slow counting in "the Region" (the Gary area for you non-Hoosiers), slows things down.............Kent Redding

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