Live-blogging the election

Let’s live-blog the election coverage.  The networks have vowed not to call the election until at least 11:00 ET–that is, after all of the polling places have closed on the West coast–but results from key battleground states will be coming in as early as 7:00 p.m.   Then again, in a really close race, we might not know who won until some time afterwards.  Remember the 2000 “Hanging Chad” election, in which we didn’t know who won until December 12?

I’m on the road right now with uncertain and intermittent internet access–I already voted with an absentee ballot–so you are going to have to carry the main weight of reporting the day’s developments and the early returns.  I do expect that I’ll keep up my custom of the election night vigil, and I should be able to do some live-blogging later in the evening.  The good news is that I’m in California, so it won’t be such a late night for me as it would be if I were home on the East coast.  So start without me here, and I’ll join you later.

UPDATE:  Polling places are closing.  Scroll down the comments for the latest developments through the evening.

UPDATE:  Barack Obama was re-elected.

Your endorsements

We here at the Cranach Institute endorse no political candidates.  Hey, we even shot down the mythological Wise Turk.  But you can make endorsements of your own.   Who gets your vote tomorrow on election day?  Give your endorsement and your reasoning in the comments.  Maybe you can sway someone who is undecided or who is still at this late date persuadable, thereby turning the election in the event of another one so close that it will hinge on a hanging chad.

Your predictions

I made my prediction for the election a long time ago, back when Obama was approaching his lowest point in popularity and when the economy was seeming to sink all incumbents.  I predicted that Obama would win re-election.  Later, I predicted further that he would win handily.   I also said that I hope I was wrong, although I almost never am.  I don’t think that prediction sounds as silly as it did back then, so I’m sticking to it.   I’ll say, with a heavy heart, that Obama will win re-election with at least 20 electoral votes to spare.  It takes 271 to elect, so I’m predicting he’ll get 291.

Now it’s your turn to go out on a limb, with everybody being able to find out if you are right or wrong in the next day or so.  Who do you think will win?  What will be the total electoral vote?

The winner will receive our accolades and admiration.   (What should be the consequences if I win or if I lose?)




The final word on the election

From Abigael Evans, age 4, on behalf of the entire nation:

Comparing the platforms

Back during the Democratic National Convention, we did a post on the Democratic platform, promising that we would do the same for the Republican platform.  I never quite got around to that at the time, and we just have a few days before the election, so I realize I had better get that done.  I know that people say party platforms don’t really matter, but I do think they show us something about the parties and their ideology, as well as what tenets the wide range of party members can agree to.

So here is the  Republican Platform, entitled We Believe in America.  It defies excerpting, but here are the major headings, which you can read via the links.

The Democratic Platform is entitled Moving America Forward.  It has the following headings:

I present both of these platforms as a public service to aid in your voting decisions.

How would you characterize the underlying assumptions of each document?  What does each platform tell us about the ideology and the preoccupations of each party?

I would just like to observe that, whatever the merits of each governing philosophy, both platforms are depressingly utopian.  Whether government will solve all of our problems or whether the free market will solve all of our problems, both assertions are way too optimistic.  I wish a party would put forward more modest promises and agendas (e.g., No one in our administration will go to jail for misuse of public funds.  We will follow the law.  We will acknowledge our limitations.)  Both platforms are just different variations on Pedro’s platform for student body president in Napoleon Dynamite:  “Vote for me, and all your wildest dreams will come true.”


Big test for pollsters

The polling industry faces a big test this election as we will see whether or not they are reliable in this age of cell-phones and the public’s growing unwillingness to answer their questions.  From Robert J. Samuelson:

Among pollsters, there’s fear that changing technology (mainly cellphones) and growing public unwillingness to do interviews are undermining telephone surveys — and that there’s no accurate replacement in sight. A recent study by the Pew Research Center reported its response rate at 9 percent, down from 36 percent in 1997. Put differently: in 1997, Pew made about three residential calls to get one response; now it makes 10.

Beginning with answering machines and caller-ID in the ’70s and ’80s, suspicious Americans have become more selective in screening calls. Robo-calls — automated messages for products, politicians, charities and polls — have deepened the hostility. “The mass of communications coming into people’s homes ends up being a blur,” says Pew pollster Scott Keeter.

Cellphones pose problems because people who use them exclusively — people who don’t have landline phones — are younger, poorer and more Democratic than the general population. By late 2011, 32 percent of Americans 18 and over had only a cellphone, up from 16 percent in early 2008. Among those 25 to 29, the share was 60 percent. Under-surveying these people could distort polls. Many pollsters, though not all, now canvass cellphones. But this is increasingly expensive. By present trends, half of Americans could be exclusive cellphone users by the 2016 election. . .

Less reassuring is telephone polling’s steep and rising costs, which could cause cash-strapped media organizations to balk. Contacting cellphones is expensive, because numbers must be dialed by hand. By contrast, computers can automatically dial landline numbers, making it easier to reach live people. (Congress prohibited this for cellphones to protect people from paying for unsolicited incoming calls.) A typical survey costs Pew from $60,000 to $100,000, says Keeter. That would cover renting tens of thousands of landline and cellphone numbers to produce 1,500 interviews of about 20 minutes each.

The solution seems obvious: switch to the Internet. But technically, that’s hard. Internet users may not be a representative sample of the U.S. population. Does the person behind that e-mail live in the United States? Permanent panels of respondents may act differently from randomly contacted people. Experiments are under way. Meanwhile, pollsters are stretched between a past that’s growing untenable and a future that doesn’t yet exist.

via Robert J. Samuelson: Pollsters’ moment of truth – The Washington Post.

To pick up on some of our earlier conversation, it may well be true that pollsters are undercounting Republicans.  But they are also undercounting those who exclusively use cell phones; that is, younger voters who tend to vote Democrat.  But we shall see what happens on November 6.