And here we are. After campaigns that went on for what has felt like forever, the day to vote has finally arrived. And I’ve made up my mind at last–which I’m sure is what you’ve all been waiting for so that you know who you’re supposed to vote for, too. I don’t agree with either candidate across the board–or even mostly across the board. I feel like both have good parts to their platform, and I don’t think the country is going to Hell–regardless of who wins. People who vote for Romney aren’t stupid or ignorant, and people who vote for Obama aren’t, either. (Please, folks. Tone down your rhetoric. Just because someone votes for someone other than you doesn’t disqualify them as a rational being. And neither candidate is the anti-Christ. You can quote me on that.)
So who am I voting for? In the end, the biggest decider for me was . . . myself. (Vain, I know.) I went back and looked at my blog post four years ago. For those of you who don’t want to click through, here’s the relevant quotes:
In the end, I ended up voting for Obama. I’ll admit that even up to the point in time when I was about to mark my choice, I still wasn’t convinced. The man’s a little too bright and sunshiny when it comes to the promises he’s making to America, and I really wonder what he’ll actually be able to get done in office.
And then there’s this one:
The more the country can start taking interest in and caring about the political process, the better. I don’t care who wins–so long as in four years, the country’s in a better place than it is today. I think Obama gives us the best chance of getting there, but as long as that’s where we end up, hooray.
Yeah. Well. Hmm. That hasn’t happened. The country’s definitely taken interest in this election. But I don’t think we’re in a better place than we were four years ago. The best argument someone could make to me is that we’ve finally made it back to the same place where we were four years ago.
I voted for Obama because I believed him. I thought he’d cut through party lines. I thought he’d help the county recover. I thought he’d bring change.
I don’t feel like he has. Yes, you can argue that it wasn’t all his fault. That the Republicans are equally to blame. But in the end, he’s the guy with the big boy pants on.
I won’t be voting for him today. I’m going with Mitt. It’s not strictly an anti-Obama vote, as I said before. But in a tie, I go with Somebody Different.
Now that that’s out in the air, let me talk about how I think today will play out. You’ve got yourself 3 scenarios that I see all more or less possible. On the one hand, the polls have all seemed to be breaking Obama’s way in the past few days. We could see him getting wins in places Romney had been looking semi-bright: Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio(!), Iowa, etc. Then again, many Republicans claim that the polls have been skewed in Obama’s favor. If that’s the case, we might see Romney winning those states, and even other states like Pennsylvania (long shot). Or it’ll be a mix of the two, and it’ll be a long–very long–evening, which many many states being too close to call until late at night. (Please lete there be no-day-after-election-day lawsuits. Please!)
So how to tell what’s happening as it’s happening? I’m no political expert, but this is what I’ll be looking for:
- Virginia polls close at 7pm. If you see Obama with a W here, Romney is in trouble with a capital T. Not necessarily because there’s no other path to a win for him, but because I’d look at it as a sign of the election in general. The more we see Romney underperforming, the less good it looks for him. Now if we see a W for Romney instead, it depends on how soon that W is posted. The sooner it’s up, the better it looks for Romney. This promises to be a close state. Very close. I don’t think we’ll see it called until late in the evening. Obama is up in final polling in the state by 1.3. Deviations from that one way or another will be a good measuring stick for each candidate.
- At 7:30, North Carolina and Ohio polls close. I don’t think anyone needs me to remind them how important Ohio is to the election. Obama’s up by 3 points in final polling. Romney’s up by 1.9 in North Carolina. Again, if any of these states get called fairly quickly, I’d say the night is over. You can go to bed. But I doubt they will be.
- 8pm brings us Florida (the final polls in the panhandle close) (Romney up 0.7), New Hampshire (Obama up 2.6), and Pennsylvania (Obama up 4.6). If Pennsylvania’s looking tight, that’s a really good sign for Romney. None of these states should be easy calls.
- 9pm brings Colorado (Obama 1.9), Wisconsin (Obama 4.3), and Michigan (Obama 4.7) to a close. By this point in the evening, I think we’ll have some sign of whether or not either extreme scenario was right–whether Obama’s heading toward a significant win or Romney is. I personally expect it to be very tight still, with both sides acknowledging it was closer than they’d hoped it would be.
- 10pm–Iowa (Obama 2.6) and Nevada (Obama 3.6) close. If it’s still a nail biter by now, I don’t see these bring any clarification to the race. This is late enough that I expect some of the earlier states to have been called one way or another. Virginia, North Carolina–something. Those states will hopefully give some clarity to what should happen later. Who knows?