Final Election Update at 10 PM PT

Obama McCain

Obama AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win Pennsylvania and Rhode Island
McCain AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win South Carolina and South Dakota
McCain CONFIRMED to win Tennessee
McCain AUTO PROJECTED to win Utah
Obama CONFIRMED to win Vermont
Obama AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win Virginia and Florida

And to put Obama over the top…

Obama projected to win California

…which takes him from just shy of 270 to over 300. (Politico has the race at 338-141. For some reason they’re still not willing to call the race in Georgia.)

Read this and I think I only now realize what this means to some people. You could well be telling your kids and grandkids about tonight.

Focusing on local and transit races the rest of the night. Good night, everybody!

Election Live Blog: 9:30 Semi-Last Tally of the Night

Obama McCain

Obama AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win Massachusetts
Obama projected to win Minnesota
McCain AUTOPROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win Mississippi
McCain projected to win Nebraska
Obama AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win New Jersey
Obama projected to win New Mexico and Nevada
Obama CONFIRMED to win New York
Obama projected to win Oregon

It is entirely possible that Obama wins in Montana, which would be a shock. We won’t know who wins North Carolina tonight either.

According to, Democrats will retain the House and Senate, but the Republicans already have the 40 senators needed to need just one Democratic defector (Joe Lieberman?) to defeat cloture. Obama is winning the popular vote in Bush 2004-esque fashion.

I’ll take a time out to look at my local races and might return to round out the counts.

UPDATE: The above tally now reflects Washington going for Obama.

Election Live Blog: 8 PM PT Hour

Obama McCain

8:06: Politico has Obama at 324 electoral votes after locking up WA, OR, and CA! They’re also calling FL and NM for Obama. People near the place I’m working at are hooting and hollering, probably over the new threshhold. 350 or even 400 is not out of the question.

8:08: Oregon very tempting to call early. Rhode Island to Obama, completing the Northeastern Sweep. DE and DC the only states I’ve yet to call for Obama N of Potomac and E of PA/OH border.

8:12: SD to McCain. Again, this is jumping both Politico and NYT.

8:14: McCain AUTO PROJECTED to win Tennessee. You can see the auto-projection and confirmation numbers at the top now.

8:16: Obama widening his lead in Virginia, but still too close to call with 92% of the vote in. Politico has the Senate balance of power at 55-39. Dems basically need to sweep the board to have a filibuster-proof majority.

8:19: Obama AUTO PROJECTED to win Vermont. NYT projecting Obama to win but McCain has a slight lead in Washington. Obviously early. King County, where much of Obama’s WA support is, has antiquated systems and will take a long time to count its vote.

8:22: Wisconsin to Obama. McCain lost a percentage point from ’04 Bush in WV but Obama didn’t get it back. Presumably Ralph Nader got it.

8:24: McCain AUTO PROJECTED to win in Wyoming. This obviously means he also gets the regular projection.

8:28: McCain’s concession speech is on right now if you’re interested, although you’re probably already watching. According to Politico, McCain can’t even reach 200.

8:31: McCain AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win in Alabama. Obama’s attempt to steal Arizona has failed. McCain winning 54.2-44.6, two-thirds of the precincts reporting.

8:40: Obama winning DC. McCain never had a chance there. Race surprisingly close in Delaware with 35% reporting. McCain still within margin of error in Florida.

8:43: McCain AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win in Georgia. Starting to shift my attention to; I want to hear Obama’s claim-victory speech.

8:49: Iowa to Obama. Idaho to McCain. I’ll keep following the presidential races until my projection has Obama topping 270, or coming close enough that WA, OR, and CA would put him over the top (=197).

8:53: Obama AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win in Illinois. GOP has 40 Senate seats so Democrats will need to sweep the board AND keep Joe Lieberman happy to have a filibuster-proof majority. I don’t think we’ll know who wins Indiana tonight.

8:59: McCain AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win in Louisiana. Enjoy Obama’s speech; new thread after the speech.

Election Live Blog: 7 PM PT Hour

Projected EVs: Obama 165, McCain 118

McCain leads auto-projected and confirmed states 8-0.

7:02: New York to Obama. That is the largest prize I’ve awarded so far tonight. A reminder that Politico says the Democrats hang on to the Senate. Obama now has a full-on four-point lead in North Carolina with 41% of precincts reporting.

7:05: People are projecting Ohio for Obama. So am I. Politico has him over 200 electoral votes. It may be over before the West Coast closes. Certainly if that’s the case it’s hard for Obama to lose with the West Coast in his pocket.

7:07: Calling Oklahoma for McCain. But also calling Pennsylvania for Obama, a far bigger prize, and Obama’s over the halfway mark.

7:10: NYT has Obama up 155-17! NYT has called all of two states for McCain! What’s up with Rhode Island being so slow with its count?

7:11: South Carolina for McCain. South Dakota, incredibly, is a dead heat with 11% in.

7:13: A major reason I’m calling SC: Few counties are going Obama’s way and those are counties with most of the vote counted. Richland and Charleston Counties may be Obama’s best hope but the counties with Greenville and Rock Hill in them are going for McCain. Calling Tennessee for McCain as well; Memphis may be Obama’s best chance to bounce back.

7:17: Texas to McCain. Even Politico hasn’t called this yet, so my electoral vote count for McCain is higher than Politico’s. Add Texas to the Politico count and McCain has 114 electoral votes.

7:21: Not quite ready to call Wisconsin, but getting close.

7:23: Obama might be able to come back in Clay county, but calling West Virginia for McCain.

7:27: Alabama for McCain. Arkansas for McCain. Obama’s attempt to steal Arizona is failing early. NYT has Obama leading 169-58, so maybe some more Obama projections in the offing.

7:29: Obama up in Colorado, but there are rural areas that could go for McCain. BTW Al Franken leads Norm Coleman in Minnesota but with 44% of the vote.

7:32: Obama hanging on to a 3-point lead in Florida with 72% of precincts reporting. Most of the counties that haven’t reported are on the Atlantic coast. Neither NYT nor Politico is calling Georgia yet. What do they know that I don’t?

7:36: Obama leading in Iowa! Indiana may be giving Virginia a run for its money as the new Florida/Ohio. 90% reporting and the margin is .6… and neither side has won enough electoral votes for victory, by any measure. That could change at the top of the hour when polls close on the West Coast. That’s 73 electoral votes for Obama right there between CA, OR, and WA. By Politico’s reckoning, that puts him over the top. Kansas to McCain.

7:41: Still not calling Louisiana just yet but very tempted to.

7:43: Michigan for Obama. The Minnesota Senate race has really tightened; Franken leads 42.7% to 41%. Rural parts of Minnesota prevent me from calling the Presidential race there. Add Missouri to the list of potential Florida/Ohio states. Has anyone noticed that, for all the red states becoming swing states, most of the traditional swing states were still swing states this year? Is the real story of this election Republicans being so turned off by McCain (and Palin) they decided to vote Obama instead?

7:46: Mississippi for McCain. Not sure what others are seeing I’m not. Obama leads early in Montana! Add NC to the list of states crawling to a dead heat. McCain leads in Nebraska but pro-Obama counties are early in their count.

7:51: Obama leading in NM, but he might not have last time I looked.

7:54: Obama AUTO PROJECTED to win New York. Obama takes the 31-8 autoprojection lead. This is not confirmed yet. McCain is taking a lead in NC.

7:57: McCain to win North Dakota.

7:58: McCain AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win Oklahoma. Up 15-0 in the confirmations, down 31-15 in the auto projections. See you in a new thread.

Election Live Blog: 5 PM and 6 PM PT Hour

Projected EVs: Obama 76, McCain 23

I had intended to run a live blog of the election starting at 4 PM PT, but I was late getting back to school from voting and wasted a lot of time looking for a source for election results that I liked. I tracked the primary results coming directly from the AP, complete with exact number of precincts reporting, but that service appears to be gone. CBS News does that but only for the two major candidates; NPR does it but only in “county” view and only for the top five candidates. I did find one site, Politico, that did precincts reporting to a tenth of a percentage point but didn’t do raw vote numbers. Can’t just one major media source throw it all together? I’m using New York Times because it uses everyone’s raw vote numbers.

I’ve called Kentucky for McCain already, but no call yet for Obama in Vermont, though I’m not ready for a state that late in the alphabet yet… expect my results to delay real time for most of the night.

5:44 PM: All states ready! Now I can actually look at results. Calling Connecticut for Obama.

5:47: Wow, Florida is too close to call again! Obama does have a 3-point lead with over 40% of precincts reporting though.

5:48: Georgia is tempting to call for McCain right now, but I imagine most of the African-American districts haven’t voted yet.

5:50: Indiana is too close to call with half the precincts reporting. McCain has a three point lead but NW Indiana has yet to report.

5:53: After much consideration, calling Massachusetts for Obama despite low percentage of precincts reporting.

5:56: New Hampshire to Obama.

5:58: New Jersey very tempting, but not worth a call yet.

5:59: Bob Barr could end up making the difference in North Carolina.

6:00: More polls closing. It’s very tempting to call Oklahoma for McCain right now.

6:02: It’s hard not to be affected by whether NYT itself has called! Presumably urban areas of SC haven’t yet reported.

6:04: Urban areas of Tennessee haven’t reported either.

6:06: McCain has a sizable lead in Virginia, but not quite enough to call. Go ahead and put Vermont in Obama’s column.

6:11: Obama hanging on to that four-point lead in Florida. BBC predicts Obama has won 175 electoral votes already. Fulton County has only reported about 14%, so don’t count out Georgia for him.

6:16: Belatedly calling Illinois for Obama.

6:17: Indiana has nearly a third of its precincts in, but Lake is still slow to start and Obama has a three-point deficit anyway. I’m actually tempted to call it for Obama because wide swaths of the rest of the state are done already.

6:23: After much consideration, calling New Jersey for Obama.

6:25: Obama has a four-point lead in North Carolina with more than 40% of the precincts reporting, and results are starting to come in from the urban areas. It may be a bit closer than four points, though.

6:28: Obama is looking good early in Ohio but may be getting urban results too soon.

6:32: Wow, all that talk of Pennsylvania possibly being in play for McCain was grossly overstated. Many sources have called it already and Obama’s winning big. Not ready to call yet though.

6:33: South Carolina still not ready to call. Ditto Tennessee; McCain has tempting leads in both though.

6:35: Is Virginia the new Florida/Ohio? 2/3 of the precincts reporting and the margin is 50-49 McCain.

6:42: Speaking of which, Obama holds a 3-point lead in Florida with 57% reporting. Still too much room for error.

6:46: Bad news for Obama’s hopes of taking Georgia: Fulton County (Atlanta) already has 40% of the vote in. I’m calling it for McCain even though others haven’t.

6:48: Lake County, Indiana is as far into the count as Fulton County, but Obama has a more managable lead in Indiana.

6:50: McCain AUTO PROJECTED and CONFIRMED to win Kentucky. Current count for both: McCain 15, Obama 0. BBC has this weird thing where they have colored doughnut pieces represent both each side’s votes and the % of precincts reporting when you mouse over their map.

6:53: Politico has Louisiana to McCain, NYT does not. It looks like no results from New Orleans yet.

6:54: Calling Maryland for Obama.

6:55: Politico is saying the Dems have enough seats to retain control of the Senate. Calling Maine for Obama.

6:57: It’s starting to look tempting to slide Mississippi into the McCain column.

7:00: See you in a new thread!

A Notice to People Without a Horse in This Race

If you’re a third party, who do you root for to win today?

Obviously you want your own candidates to win. But chances are your candidates don’t really have a chance to win, and the President, I can guarantee with 99.9% certainty, will either be John McCain or Barack Obama. Which one would you prefer to see become President of the United States?

If your party is just an extreme version of the Democrats or Republicans, you probably back the candidate that will do the most to advance your views. But what if you’re a party that genuinely sees no difference between Democrats and Republicans – that legitimately thinks it can draw some support from both political parties, that sees Obama and McCain as equally objectionable? Equally intolerable, even?

What do you root for then, in a race between Satan and Satan? Which one might exceed your expectations, which one might turn out to be a half-decent president?

I’ll tell you who you root for.

You root for Obama to win… and subsequently turn out to be a Bush third term.

Because nothing else would underscore the lack of a difference between Democrats and Republicans better. With an abusive Democratic president and the abuses of Bush still fresh in the minds of the electorate, the field in 2012 would be ripe for a third party or independent to come along and propose real change. The Democrats have done nothing for two years to stop Bush’s power grab for the executive branch. There is very little to suggest that Barack Obama won’t say, “Hey Bush, thanks for leaving me all this power! Why would I ever get rid of it?”

Rooting for Obama is a crap shoot. If the Democrats, given a mandate by a resounding Obama victory, a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and a massive majority in the House, successfully roll back the abuses of Bush, pull us out of Iraq, and helm four years of increasing peace and (relative) prosperity, they have a blank check for a generation. That would utterly destroy the Republican party, and it also would sour the mood against the sorts of thoughts on which third party and independent campaigns most flourish – like “neither party has my interests in mind anyway”.

To be sure, having a Democratic blank check could create a field in which a multitude of third parties attempt to fill the vacuum left by the decline of the Republicans, trying to focus in on various parts of the Republican coalition, or trying to position themselves to the left of the Democrats. And it can certainly seem pyrrhic to hope that Obama becomes Stalin to Bush’s Lenin, for pure partisan political purposes, while also hoping he doesn’t abolish the election system entirely. But if it does happen, if Obama makes Bush look like Lincoln, a third party candidate could well have the opportunity to win right awayand win seats in Congress.

That’s not the reason I’m likely voting for Obama today – from what I can tell (and with a shockingly low level of actual, firm policy positions linked to on either the candidate’s or the party’s site, that’s not much), the third party candidate closest to my views on the environment (that’s not outwardly socialist) seems to almost brush off the Bush abuses of power, with no reference to Guantanamo Bay in the version of the party’s platform I encountered, and the Patriot Act reduced to a sentence in a section on “criminal justice”. But it is why I intend to keep a VERY close eye out on what the Democrats actually do once they have power. This election may be historic, but the days and months following it could well be equally historic.

A new way to look at election results!

I know this is kind of short notice – I’ve been sidetracked by my ongoing platform examinations – but I’m wondering if anyone wants to help me track the results on election night? Ideally I would have some sort of PHP and MySQL system set up for inputting and tracking results, but because of Freehostia’s restrictions that would mean letting people into my Sandsday MySQL account, so I may have to rig something up on Wikipedia. I had trouble keeping up with the results on Super Tuesday, which was actually about on the order of the number of presidential races on election day proper. Trying to keep up with that, plus Senate and House races, would take me forever. I’m thinking 25 races per person would be more than a workable number; that would mean two people to do the presidential races, one to do the Senate, and 17 people to do the House, for 20 total and I would be one of them. I don’t think I have 20 visitors a day, let alone that many willing to volunteer, so I may have to double up some of the work on some people. Comment on this post or e-mail me at mwmailsea at yahoo dot com if you’re willing to refresh pages all night.

If I can’t get anyone, I’ll just put all my Presidential race work on Da Blog, mostly just my projected electoral vote counts (and if I get only one or two volunteers I may just give them an Excel file and have them post work on their own blogs). The sources of semi-raw vote data with all candidates I relied on in primary season might not be available anyway, which probably means the dreaded patchwork of sources.

The reason I’m planning on doing this is to provide a demonstration of my projection system. There’s more explanation here, but the idea is to take race projection at least partly out of the hands of potentially biased analysts and making it less reliant on possibly flawed exit polls. It’s based on one thing and one thing only: the results themselves.

Rather than one level of projection, which favors an early rush as networks fall over themselves to project and then boredom most of the rest of the way, this creates three, two of which are based on objective mathematical formulas:

Projection: Only invoked when the race appears to be a sure thing but the mathematical formulas haven’t confirmed it yet. This occurs only at my discretion, and is based on the results themselves, not invoked the instant the polls close (unless the candidate is unopposed).
Autoprojection: Invoked when %1 > %2 + (1-P), where %1 is the vote percentage of the first place candidate, %2 is the vote percentage of the second place candidate, and P is the percentage of precincts reporting. 1 represents 100%.
Confirmation: Invoked when P * %1 > P * %2 + (1-P), using the same values as above.

If I feel like it, I may have more tomorrow, but I’m already late in trying to get home and see the Obama infomercial when it airs on the West Coast!

Nothing else matters. This is the ONE THING you should vote on.

What is the most important issue in this election?

Is it the war in Iraq? Health care for all? Illegal immigration? Surely it’s the economy, right?


The most important issue in this election, the one that cannot be ignored under any circumstances, is global warming and climate change.

I don’t care whether you believe in it or not, never mind that it’s been confirmed to hell and back and the real debate is whether man caused it. To me, it’s as simple as Pascal’s Wager. If you believe global warming exists, and it turns out it doesn’t, maybe you’ve spent some money on some things you didn’t strictly need. Not the first time humans have done that. Maybe you even benefit from making those preparations. You reduce our dependence on foreign oil and thus our dependence on countries that hate us. You could just plain improve the quality of life for the average American.

Particularly important in these times, you could stimulate the economy with the investment. I don’t want to hear Republicans whining to me about how we should “let the market decide” and “government interference is bad” and about how if we wanted solar and wind, the market would have made us all convert a long time ago. Horseshit. Coal and oil have been subsidized for years; a true “free-market” Republican would repeal those subsidies today, but of course, they won’t. Any economist will tell you that when the economy gets tough, the best way to bring it out of the doldrums is to spend government money on investment, not tax cuts, because government investments create jobs and the government not only spends money on the people, it also directly buys from American companies who pass on the money they make to their employees.

But if you decide global warming doesn’t exist and you don’t need to do anything? And it turns out it does? Then… then you’re screwed. Here‘s just a short summary of what could happen: more extreme weather conditions on both ends of the spectrum (don’t you dare get the snowstorm of the century and say “what global warming?”), tropical regions (which means mostly third world countries) becoming desert and formerly fridgid climates becoming the world’s new breadbasket, rising sea levels resulting in catastrophe for coastal cities and maybe even wiping out small, low-lying islands, declining oxygen in the world’s oceans causing a complete breakdown in the global ecosystem, droughts galore and increased salt penetration into groundwater, diseases, all leading to more conflicts around the globe like what’s going on in Darfur, maybe even the release of methane from the world’s oceans and from Siberia potentially contributing further to global warming until the whole planet essentially becomes Venus. Oh, and it could mean more illegal immigrants crossing our border, more Iraq conflicts, and universal healthcare suddenly seeming like a quaint utopian goal.

You invest in stopping global warming, you help bring the economy out of what now looks like inevitable if not in-progress recession – you don’t invest in stopping global warming, and the recession may never end. Some studies suggest we may pass a “tipping point” at which warming would become unstoppable within five to ten years – if we’re not threatening to pass it already!

Wake up, world! There is no such thing as too much climate impact mitigation too fast! Let’s quit bickering between parties and nations and get to work! Yes, let’s help China move off coal now, and let’s reduce our own impact on climate change, and let’s have Europe and all the other nations of the world reduce their own impacts on climate change as well! As a planet and as a species, we either drop everything right damn now and put every last one of our efforts towards moving to a clean energy future or we might as well commit global suicide – consequences be damned because no matter what the consequences may be, the impact of global warming could be and will be worse!

What we need is a president that will declare war on global warming, akin to the war on poverty, but with the same fervor and sense of national sacrifice that we brought to World War freakin’ Two! We need a president willing to drop everything and get to work, and we need to get it THIS election! Unfortunately, actually saying that while still a candidate is a good way to LOSE an election, but all I want to hear is a sort of intimation, through low-level channels, not even sufficient to leak out to the general public, but enough to let people like me know that a candidate knows the scope of the problem and that they are willing to declare all-out war on global warming, to an extent even Al Gore would be impressed by.

Moving on…

Sports Watcher later today. I hope everyone reading Da Blog or even Sandsday watches the debate tonight. Don’t worry, McCain will show up. Apparently some of the people in the room trying to hash out that bailout effectively told him, “You know, why don’t you just go off to that debate and we’ll work things out on our own. Seriously, go. Now.”

Meanwhile, my bank just failed!