Early Results to Watch for on Election Night



Rost says I should post some stuff to the blog.  Well, here goes.

Yes, I know that you are eager election watchers, but the polls don’t close until 1 a.m. German time at the earliest.  So, if you need some sleep, here are some tips for things to watch for during the early election returns.

At 1 a.m. German time, the polls close in Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, and Vermont.  First, is Obama winning Virginia?  If yes, the presidential election is likely decided because Democrats have only won the state of Virginia twice in the last sixty years.  Next, if Indiana also goes to Obama, the election is clearly over–-Indiana has been a dependable Republican state in most presidential elections going back to Abraham Lincoln.  Next, watch the Kentucky Senate race: the Republican senator, Mitch McConnell, is the Senate Republican leader and he is facing a strong Democratic challenger.  If McConnell loses, it will be a very long night for Republican candidates for the Senate. 

At 1:30 German time, the polls close in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio.  Most of you remember Ohio from the 2004 election.  An Obama victory is important because McCain thinks he must win–even had Arnold Schwarzenegger visit there to give some support speeches.  If McCain wins there, he still might have a statistical chance to win the overall election.  If Obama wins North Carolina, and Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole (the wife of Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican Presidential candidate) loses, an enormous Democratic victory is underway.  McCain is likely to win West Virginia, but if it is close or Obama manages to win, the ballgame is over.  Al Gore would not have had to worry about Florida in 2000, if he had managed to win West Virginia.

You will have to stay awake until 2 a.m. to get the first returns from Florida and Pennsylvania. 

If the election is still not decided until 4 a.m., remember that the three Pacific Coast time zone states–California, Washington, and Oregon–will all vote for Obama.  The only issue is whether Gordon Smith, the Republican Senator from Oregon, manages to win re-election.

You wont have to stay awake for Alaska and Hawaii (polls close at 6 a.m., and 5 a.m., respectively).  Alaska always votes Republican for president, Hawaii Democratic.  The only question is whether Republican Senator Ted Stevens wins re-election over the Democrat Begich in Alaska. 

Enough for now.  Time for dinner.

All the best,




VIRGINIA, VIRGINIA, VIRGINIA! It’s going to be the state to watch. I have spent the last couple of days in Virginia helping to get out the vote for Obama. As MSNBC’s political director Chuck Todd said in several instances, the longer it takes to call Virginia, the better the night will be for McCain. I slightly disagree from that evaluation. Because another thing it could mean is that Virginia sees record turnout. And voters, who stand in line to vote at the time the polls close in Virginia (7 PM), have the right to vote. Thus, it could potentially take much longer until all the votes are counted in Virginia without being a particularly good night for McCain.