Election 2004  
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Too Close To Call

In a painful reminder of the 2000 election, this presidential election has no clear winner yet and the wait is likely to be long. Ohio may very well be the Florida of 2004.
 
 
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Kerry: Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, New York, New Hampshire, Washington, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota

Bush: Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah, Missouri, Idaho, Florida, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, Nevada


All times listed here are West Coast (PST) times.

12:00 AM, Final Tally

There are a lot of strong feelings about some of the networks — including Fox and NBC/MSNBC — calling the Ohio race for Bush late Tuesday night, without knowing how many provisional ballots were cast, while knowing that the best estimates suggested perhaps 250,000 provisional ballots were cast.

CNN took the high road on Ohio and insisted that there just wasn't enough information available to make the call. Deanna Zandt, representing election protection efforts in Columbus, Ohio, said: "It is outrageous for the media to make such a call when the voting situation in Ohio was so topsy turvy — many thousands of people waited for many hours to vote, primarily because there were not enough voting machines, despite repeated requests for more from election experts." There was also major controversy about the use of paper ballots to alleviate some of the long lines.

That's just one aspect of the “deja vu all over again” story that emerged on election night — with Ohio becoming the Florida of 2004, where Secretary of State Ken Blackwell consistently told people to take a deep breath and that by law the provisional ballots couldn't be counted for 10 days. But that was not all. Iowa basically went to sleep without a decision because of breakdowns in machines and tired workers.

In contrast to 2000, where Electoral College loser Gore won the popular vote by more than 500,000, Bush could still lose the race — if Ohio were to flip to Kerry — despite a popular vote lead of more than 4 million. Strange how this Electoral College works.

For many enthusiastic Kerry supporters, November 2nd turned cruel. At mid-afternoon, euphoria swept through hundreds of thousands of people across the country, hard at work pulling voters and watching polls — as cell phones, instant messaging, and e-mails carried the news that a number of exit polls suggested a big Kerry victory; the Kerry campaign itself was confident, and pollster Zogy called it a strong win for Kerry. Several questions remain not the least of which is this: How did exit polls showing 3 or 4 point Kerry leads turn into a victory for Bush in Florida?

– Don Hazen

9:30 p.m., Nevada and New Hampshire Update

Kerry is looking very good in Nevada, where he’s leading in Washoe County. This is the Republican bastion that went for Bush by 9,000 votes in 2000 — Bush won Nevada by 21,000 votes. Kerry is of course leading in Clark County, which contains Las Vegas. This could be a huge surprise in the election.

In New Hampshire, as of 9:06 pst, Kerry is leading by 1% (7,000 votes or so) of the vote with 78% of the precincts reporting.

-Jan Frel

8 p.m., Women, Minorities Vote Kerry

Despite all the talk about security moms, it turns out that women broke decisively for Kerry. According to the CNN exit polls, 54 percent picked Kerry compared to 45 percent for Bush. Men, in comparison, picked Bush over Kerry, 52 to 47 percent.

A majority of African Americans (90 percent), Asian Americans (61 percent) and Latinos (56 percent) picked Kerry over Bush.

-Lakshmi Chaudhry

7 p.m., Youth Vote Breaks for Kerry

Exit polls indicate that voters aged 18-29 favor Kerry over Bush by 12 percentage points, while their counterparts favored Sen. Al Gore by only 4 percentage points in 2000, USA Today reports. But they made up roughly the same proportion of voters as they did in 2000.

-Jan Frel

6 p.m., Pennsylvania Digs In for the Long Haul

The polls in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania are reported by CNN to be held open an extra hour because of the enormous lines of voters still waiting to cast their ballots.

Follow the Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania results in live time as reported by the Secretaries of State.

-Jan Frel

6 p.m., House Numbers

Follow the House numbers as they come in – from the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee.

5 p.m., Slate's Projections

Florida: Kerry 51; Bush 49
Ohio: Kerry 51; Bush 49
Michigan: Kerry 52; Bush 46; Nader 1
Pennsylvania: Kerry 53; Bush 46
Iowa: Kerry 50; Bush 49
Wisconsin: Kerry 51; Bush 48; Nader 1
Minnesota: Kerry 52; Bush 46; Nader 2
New Hampshire: Kerry 54; Bush 44; Nader 1
New Mexico: Kerry 50; Bush 48; Nader 1
Colorado: Kerry 49; Bush 50; Nader 1
Arkansas: Kerry 45; Bush 54; Nader 1
Missouri: Kerry 47; Bush 52
New York: Kerry 62; Bush 36; Nader 2
Nevada: Kerry 49; Bush 48; Nader 1
New Jersey: Kerry 54; Bush 44; Nader 1
West Virginia: Kerry 45; Bush 54; Nader 1

3:54 p.m.: Luntz Calls It for Kerry

GOP pollster Frank Luntz told BBC that there's been an Election Day shift toward Kerry – especially among women and young people. Really? Now, whatever happened to those Security Moms ... On the same program, Maureen Dowd confirmed Luntz's assessment: "It's looking exceptionally good for Kerry....it's just a personal rejection of Bush."

Exit polls also indicate that the economy is trumping terrorism as the most important factor for voters, who voted Kerry 4 to 1 when this was their top issue. According to CNN, 45 percent of Kerry voters had someone in their family who lost a job, compared to 22 percent of Bush voters. More interestingly, for Bush voters, "moral values" and "terrorism" were the big two issues, with the former slightly more important than the latter. Kerry voters picked the economy and Iraq, with more than 80 percent of them opposed to the war.

-Lakshmi Chaudhry

3 p.m.: Zogby Predicts Kerry Landslide

John Zogby is now predicting that John Kerry will sweep the election with 311 to 213 electoral votes. The only states he see as too close to call are Nevada and Colorado. And yet as Salon points out, "Zogby's final-final poll has Bush winning the popular vote, but just barely, 49.4 to 49.1 percent, and not really, when you consider the margin of error, +/- 3.2 percent."

-Lakshmi Chaudhry

2:40 p.m.: Reading Between the Lines

Sure the early numbers coming out of various sources may not mean a thing, but the last public statements from the two candidates are revealing.

On the one hand, there was George Bush: "I've given it my all." In other words, don't nobody be blamin' me if I lose. And then there was John Kerry sounding distinctly like a president-elect:

I'm confident that we made the case for change, the case for trust in new leadership, a new direction, a fresh start. But what's really important is that both the president and I love this country. It's really important that people go out and vote and express their love for our country, no matter who they vote for. We want people to participate.

-Lakshmi Chaudhry

2:20 p.m., More Numbers
From Slate:

FL: 50/49 - KERRY
OH: 52/47 - KERRY
MI: 51/48 - KERRY
PA: 58/42 - KERRY
IA: 50/48 - KERRY
WI: 53/47 - KERRY
MN: 57/42 - KERRY
NH: 58/41 - KERRY
ME: 55/44 - KERRY
NM: 49/49 - TIE
NV: 48/49 - BUSH
CO: 49/50 - BUSH
AR: 45/54 - BUSH
NC: 47/53 - BUSH

From Doug Ireland:

From a source at the Democratic National Committee, numbers that are two hours old (but that contradict in some respects the numbers earlier from Daily Kos and Drudge):

Colorado - Kerry 48.7 - Bush 50.8
Florida - Kerry 51.7 - Bush 48.1
Iowa - Kerry 50 - Bush 50
Maine - Kerry 55 - Bush 44.4
Michigan - Kerry 51.5 - Bush 47.7
Minnesota - Kerry 58.5 - Bush 40.2
New Hampshire - Kerry 57.9 - Bush 41.4
New Mexico - Kerry 50.2 - Bush 48.8
Ohio - Kerry 52.2 - Bush 47.8
Pennsylvania - Kerry 59 - Bush 40
Wisconsin - Kerry 52.6 - Bush 47.3
Arkansas - Kerry 44.5 - Bush 55
New Jersey - Kerry 56.4 - Bush 43.2

New Jersey is what analysts like to call a "bubble" state. The harder it is for Kerry to take the Garden State (a state that should traditionally be blue), the better that George Bush is doing in the polls.

So another good sign for Kerry.

In addition, that excellent Wisconsinite John Stauber (whose books you should read) reports within the hour that Wisconsin Democratic headquarters tells him Kerry is up by 5 points in the state, which comports with the above DNC Wisconsin number...

-Jan Frel and Lakshmi Chaudhry

1:45 p.m.: New Poll Numbers

These are from In These Times contributor Doug Ireland's blog. Ireland is skeptical of the numbers posted on Daily Kos but offers these from a senior Kerry campaign staffer:

National : KERRY 50 percent, BUSH 49 percent
Florida: KERRY 51.7, BUSH 48.1
Michigan: KERRY 51.1, BUSH 47.7
Ohio: KERRY 52.2, BUSH 47.3

Ireland also has less happy numbers: Kerry down by 1 point in Virginia and Nevada, and down by 5 against Bush in North Carolina.

-Jan Frel

1 p.m., Turnout Numbers

Huge numbers are the name of the game. The best news yet for Kerry: people of color are coming out in droves to the polling booth.

From MyDD.com:

Ohio - African American precincts are performing at 106 percent what we expected, based on historical numbers. Hispanic precincts are at 144 percent what we expected. Precincts that went for Gore are turning out 8 percent higher then those that went Bush in 2000. Democratic base precincts are performing 15 percent higher than GOP base precincts.

Florida - Dem base precincts are performing 14 percent better than Bush base precincts. In precincts that went for Gore, they are doing 6 percent better than those that went for Bush. African American precincts at 109 percent, Hispanic precincts at 106 percent.

Pennsylvania - African American precincts at 102 percent of expectations, Hispanics at 136 percent of expectations. The Gore precincts are doing 4 percent better than Bush precincts.

Michigan - Democratic base precincts are 8 percent better than GOP base states. Gore precincts are 5 percent better than Bush.

Exit Polls Favor Kerry in the Big Three

Yes, these are very, very early results from Daily Kos – and the source is unknown. But that said, the news looks darn good for the Democrats. Kerry is up by 20 points in Pennsylvania (yes, you read that right), four points in Ohio and three points in Florida.

GOP Goes After MoveOn

It shouldn't be surprising that the Republicans are continuing to target MoveOn.org, even on Election Day. Some of them accused the organization of violating Minnesota's law barring partisan activists from operating with 100 feet of a polling place. But according to the Star Tribune, "Several of those precincts were in St. Paul, but police spokesman Paul Schnell said officers determined that nobody was doing anything 'illegal or unacceptable.' He said all the calls had come from citizens, not election judges."

MoveOn's Eli Pariser responded with the following statement:

A record turnout is bad news for the Republican Party, so they are trying to suppress it by spreading false charges of illegal activity at the polls. Their hope is that the broadcast of these charges today will keep voters away by depicting the polls as full of chaotic and illegal activity.

The other purpose of the false charges that Republican officials have made against MoveOn volunteers is to create a false and distorted record to assist them in any legal challenge they may mount in states with narrow margins of victory for John Kerry.

-Lakshmi Chaudhry