US Election Night

Tonight, you should hardly need telling, is US election night, so here’s a thread for overnight discussion and some things to look out for tonight.

First up a note about exit polls. Exit polls this year are only being conducted in 31 states rather than 50, they aren’t bothering with some of the safe states, including some of those states closing first (so no exit polls in Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina and West Virginia – all safe Republican states). Exit polls are done in the same way as in the UK – people stand outside polling stations and get a proportion of people leaving after having voted to fill in surveys, although unlike in the UK they ask a full survey about their opinions and why they voted as they did, not just how they voted. Exit polls are supplemented with phone polls to take account of early voters.

Exit polls are not released until the polls in that state are closed, people will inevitably claim to have leaked exit poll data prior to that. Any claimed leaks before 10pm will be bollocks anyway – the polling data will still be under strict quarantine in a locked room. Any claimed leaks after that will probably be bollocks too, and should be ignored anyway as it won’t be probably weighted yet. Also bear in mind that in recent elections the initially released exit poll data has tended to be a bit skewed to the Democrats, becoming more accurate as actual votes come in. That may or may not be the case this time.

The initial exit polls are updated as actual votes are counted, and weighted based on the declared votes in the districts where the exit poll took place. Once the networks are certain that a party has won the seat they call it – obviously the closer a state is, the longer it takes for the networks to be certain who has won. Hence while we have a list of the time that states’ polls close and exit polls will be released, its it only the very safe states that will be called straight away. In 2008 states where the vote was relatively close (say, under 10 points) sometimes took a couple of hours after polls closed for the networks to call the race, states with the tightest races took much longer to call: Montana and Florida four hours, North Caroline a day, Missouri a week.

In a tight race, don’t expect a result in the early hours!

Looking at the timetable.

11pm. Most polls close in Indiana and Kentucky – some parts of both states are an hour behind, so the networks may not call them until the whole state has finished voting, but either way both will vote Romney.

12 midnight. Polls close in Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont & Virginia. Most polls close in Florida. Georgia and South Carolina will vote Romney, Vermont will vote Obama. Virginia and Florida are the first toss-up states. For Romney to win, he really needs to win both of these – if Obama wins either of them then it becomes difficult (but not impossible) for Romney to win. The polls in Florida are neck-and-neck, if they have been accurate it is not going to be called for many hours. Most recent polls in Virginia have shown Obama ahead, but it will probably be a few hours until it is called.

12:30 am. North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia polls close. West Virginia will vote Romney. North Carolina and Ohio are another two key states. Recent polls have tended to show Romney ahead in North Carolina, again it is a state he really does need to win. Ohio is likely to be the key – if Romney wins Virginia, North Carolina and Florida he needs Ohio and another state (New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa?) to win. If Obama holds Ohio he has won unless he loses something unexpected like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. At 12:30 though this will be academic – if the race is at all close they aren’t going to be calling it yet.

1 am. A whole slew of states close: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, most of Texas and Michigan and the remaining part of Florida close. Apart from Florida the only really interesting states amongst them all are New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania should be solidly Democrat, Obama won it by 10 points last time, John Kerry won it, all but one of the recent polls have shown Obama ahead, often by good margins. It should be Obama. However, both campaigns have been targeting it so it must be seen as somewhat close. In the event that Romney does win it he would probably win unless Obama had won Virginia, North Carolina or Florida instead (though frankly, the idea of the Democrats winning one of those states and not Pennsylvania is somewhat bonkers)

1:30 am. Arkansas polls close.

2:00 am. New York, Kansas, Louisana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wyoming polls close, the remainder of Texas and Michigan close. Again, these are mostly safe states – the two interesting ones are Wisconsin (which the polls suggest should go for Obama without too much difficulty) and Colorado, where the polls are closer, but are consistently showing Obama ahead. More interesting is that by now we’ve had a couple of hours for votes to be counted in the early-closing states, so with a bit of luck we should start to see competitive states being called. The broad picture of the night, whether Obama is probably home and dry, whether it is going to be close or whether there could be a Romney win will hopefully start to emerge around now.

3:00 am. Polls close in Iowa, Montana, Utah, Nevada and most of North Dakota. Iowa and Nevada are the last of the swing states. Nevada looks like it should go to Obama, Iowa’s polls have Obama ahead, but less convincingly.

4:00 am. California, Washington, Hawaii. Most of Idaho, Oregon. All safe states for one side or the other. The closer run states should be being called around now. Unless things have gone right down to the wire we should soon know who has won. If they have gone right down to a couple of states where the candidates are neck-and-neck it could take days. Go to bed.

5:00 am. Alaska. Go! Go to bed. Sheesh.

483 Responses to “US Election Night”

1 6 7 8 9 10
  1. MSNBC project Ohio for Obama, seems that Obama may sweep the swing states.

    A damn good night for the pollsters. They got it right.

  2. Only 15 minutes after it was called in 2008 as well!

    So much for the knife edge race biyatches!

  3. Just before I go, Fox calling Ohio for Obama so thats it providing all the projections are correct.

  4. CNN projects that Iowa will go to Obama. According to CNN projections Obama has 249 EC votes. Ohio or Florida does it.

    As I have to be up at 7.00 am, its now bed-time for me. Good Night all.

  5. I am waiting for CNN to call Ohio before I relax

  6. I’ve got tomorrow off and I’m getting bloody wasted now!

  7. Democrats keep the Senate!

  8. CNN now calling Ohio for Obama

    Dems retain senates
    Republicans retain the house

  9. Waay Obama has won! As heavily predicted by everyone that paid attention except the news media and the mad people on Fox news.

  10. Good Morning All.

    I know that I am a sentimentalist.

    Just reflecting on how the USA looked in 1968. Re election of a black President would have been quite a fantasy!

  11. Obama wins-Brilliant achievement!!!

  12. Fox News just now asserting that Romney was “too left wing”

    WTF ?

  13. Well that was easy..Congratulations to Obama :)

  14. Christ alive, I can’t wait to see what that dolt Tim Stanley from the Torygraph says next!

  15. @ Rob Sheffield

    Fox News just now asserting that Romney was “too left wing”
    I thought nothing could make me happier tonight than an Obama win but now I am ROFLMAO :-)

  16. Fox News completely skewered but desperately trying to push GOP vote…

  17. Karl Rove on Fox News now saying (angrily) that Ohio shouldn’t be called yet. Haha – this is getting good. And I was on my way to bed to have a happy night’s sleep.

  18. Romney refusing to concede that the President has Ohio. Is this for real or just a spoiler to steal the joy from this moment?

  19. An unravelling Foxishambles. Good way to end the night. They stand by their call and Rove is gloomy and agitated.

  20. Obama pulls into the lead in Virginia, with 85% in.

  21. Has anyone checked whether there are any states with a negative number of electoral votes, because this might not be over yet.

  22. Romney is not conceding

  23. Romney camp not conceding election.

  24. Romney didn’t do a good enough job at holding Obama to account for the national debt, hateful stance he hold’s for Britain and in that sense yes he was far too left wing. He also failed to defend the liberty on which America wa built, government destroys freedom and the world is looing scarily orwellian this morning. I pray to god that Americans can find a way of impeaching Obama, perhaps when a depression that is now all but certain destroys ever last bit of wealth and productivity.

    Congratulations Obama, now you can finish the job of destroying America’s finances just like Labour did to ours.

    November 6 2012, the day the western world fully fell under control of the illuminati and their socialist imprisonment. I was rather hoping Romney could win and demonstrate to us in Britain how good free market policies are, our best hope now is UKIP.

  25. Katty Kay is reporting communications that Romney is in the limousine on the way to give his (concession, presumably) speech…

  26. Guy on CNN just said.. “Warm up the fat lady” lol

  27. @ Jim

    November 6 2012, the day the western world fully fell under control of the illuminati and their socialist imprisonment.
    If only! :-)

  28. This is no time for joy. Calling this a time of joy is akin to watching Brown win re-election and saying it is a time of joy. A time when each woring person can pay higher taxes to indulge in every layabout. The western world has only been wealthy and truly free for round about 50-60 years. It is the exception not the rule and everyone should be very fearful of what is to come.

    Nov 7 2012 the day that freedom died.

  29. Mardell vg on the BBC at the moment.

    Interesting analysis of how divided the USA has become.

    Demographic divisions and also Governance divisions at Federal level.

    But when I was a boy I heard the news of JFK being shot, then Bobby and also King, and saw the Mexico Olympic athletes demonstrating. So quite a night this late 2012.

  30. According to Rachel Maddow Rove is trying to get Fox to rescind their Ohio call.

    If the Romneyshambles campaign won’t accept reality then Obama should just break with protocol and give his victory speech anyway, regardless of whether Woeful Willard phones in his concession or not.

  31. AP has called Colorado for Obama; ABC and CBS have called Nevada for Obama.

  32. It looks Ohio may prove to be a moot point anyway, if more of the outstanding swing states are called for Obama.


    Delicious is it not?

  34. The icing on the cake would be Florida

  35. SMUKESH.

    Gosh, yes, Florida would be like by favourite pudding.

    Apple pie, custard and ice cream.

  36. It’s currently looking like it could finish at 332 for the President. He’s leading in Florida & Virginia with the counts over 95% complete.

  37. @CL1945

    Good day for socialists?

  38. i’m going to love tomorrow reading all the excuses on conservative blogs and websites on why they got it wrong. wonder what rasmussen,unskewedpolls will say?

  39. Goodnight everyone

  40. Chrislane,

    Yes it is delicious. I’ve been going bloody hopping mad at the blithering blathering morons calling the race ‘neck and neck’ when I’ve seen for weeks that Obama has had a decisive edge where it matters.

    Amber, Obama is up in Florida and up in Virginia. Nevada is pretty much in the bag, so 332-206 is looking very possible indeed.

  41. SMUKESH.
    Good night/morning to you, and to drunken scouser.

  42. Colorado and Washington have voted to legalise pot.

    Maryland is the first state ever to vote for gay marriage.

    As if any more proof was needed that America is changing.

  43. Jim,

    I think that’s more than a bit of an overreaction. Firstly, the Republicans still hold the House and that’s unlikely to change with Obama in the other house. Secondly, my prediction for the US in 2016 is similar to my prediction I made back in 2010: whoever wins this time, loses next time.

    If the Republicans are really smart- and they aren’t- they’d realise that the missing link for them is Hispanics. The time has now come when appealing to bigoted whites is less profitable for them than winning over a constituency that has a lot of potential for them.

    Running, say, Susana Martinez on an orthodox Republican platform but with considerably less hawkish-than-usual policies on immigration could be as devastating to the Democrats as Eisenhower (or should that be Eisenhowitzer?) was, at a time when the Democrats were have supposed to have won politics.

  44. drunkenscouser,

    So a mixed night for Obama (some states rejecting his drugs policies and his beliefs on gay marriage up until a few months before the election) but a better night for libertarians like myself?

    No state is willing to go Libertarian yet, but attitudes at the local level are swinging away (in some areas at least) from conservatives like Romney and Obama.

  45. Chuck Todd on MSNBC has just pretty much called Virginia and Florida for Obama.

  46. It looks like Nate Silver has called 50 out of 50 correctly. (he had Florida for Obama by 0.02%)

  47. I’ve gone through the county-by-county numbers in Florida an the vast bulk of the outstanding vote seems to be in Miami-Dade. I can’t see any way back for Romneyshambles in Florida.

  48. The bad man Grayson is back in Congress!

  49. Nutty Michele Bachmann & nutty Allen West are in serious danger of losing!

  50. Apparently Romney still hasn’t conceded! He must be expecting some kind of miracle…

1 6 7 8 9 10