They tell me there's an election going on back home. That might explain why I haven't gotten any work done this week. Following the news, the polls, the legal battles, and so on and so forth -- seems to be sucking up a lot of time. Which would be okay if only it would end tomorrow. But I think we can all guess how likely that is.
Of course, given that every other blog on the planet has declared itself to be Election Central this week, there may have been some puzzlement at my decision, thus far, to essentially ignore it in this medium. It's not that I don't have opinions on the matter ... quite to the contrary, and we'll be trying to get it out of my system for the remainder of this post. But since I can count the regular readers of this site without resorting to too many of my toes, and since a healthy fraction of them are doing far more for the good guys than I would even know
Thus I feel okay saying this just once: vote. And make sure everyone you know does too. But as I said, I know my audience, and I know that for many of you, that's been your mantra this fall anyway. Good for you.
But, if you care to know how I think this is going to turn out, read on.
First of all, let's get something straight: we're past the point where the news cycles can affect the election. Not bin Ladin's fireside chat, not scientific proof that we're killing genocidal numbers of Iraqis, certainly not today's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, and in fact probably very little short of a nuclear war. After all, we've only got about one news cycle left, and the three or four percent of voters that admit that
And for all we know, the decicive margin is already out there. After all, something in the neighborhood of 30% of registered voters have already voted via early ballots in Florida, and the numbers are evidently similar in some other swing states. And of those voters, it appears that Kerry is
The big potential spoiler this cycle is legal shenanigans involving voter challenges and provisional ballots. There are several legal actions running already, so keep an eye on Ohio and the federal case in NJ. Thankfully, the public appears to have wised up somewhat to the GOP's assorted efforts to intimidate and confuse the voters, as evidenced by the fact that this stuff is getting reported
So will there be a clear winner on the 3rd? Doubtful. Look for Bushco to declare an early victory and try to cast all subsequent activity as Democratic efforts to steal the election, considering how well that strategy worked for them four years ago. However, unlike last time, such a declaration will hopefully not be seen as credible this time around. This is why nobody has any business voting for Nader or staying home tomorrow though; the larger the popular turnout for Kerry nationally (yes, even in the "blue" states), the more difficult it will be for the Republicans to spin things in their favor.
Conventional wisdom holds that the election is too close to call, which has stopped pretty much nobody from weighing in with their prediction. I'd ordinarily be concerned with how few of the American Prospect's staff are putting Kerry above 50% even while they predict his victory, but their numbers suggest that they are giving Nader entirely too much credit this time around. This is actually my favorite analysis so far, in that it is methodical, consistent, and supported by actual data. Plus, Ruy Texiera endorses it, and he knows more about analyzing polling data than anyone else I've run across. So while I tend to find that result a bit optimistic, I'm inclined to follow the same general line of reasoning. Therefore, if I had to take a guess, I'd say the end result is going to look approximately like:
Popular vote: Kerry, by about 51% to 49%
Electoral College: Kerry, about 280 to 260, God willing. But Florida of all places is back in play, so a blowout isn't out of the question.