Mojo - November 2008

8:00pm Poll Closings

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 8:47 PM EST

Despite the fact that Obama was ahead with 1 percent reporting, CNN called South Carolina for McCain around 7:55pm. A bunch of safe states that closed at 8pm went for their respective candidates. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Deleware, DC, Maryland, and Illinois went for Obama. Oklahoma and Tennessee went for McCain. Three of Maine's four electoral votes were also called for Obama. In a bit of a surprise, the entire deep South can't be called yet—even deep-red Alabama. Obama 77, McCain 34.

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Who Wins the Giant Nerd Demographic? CNN

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 8:08 PM EST

Was that Obi-Wan who just appeared in a CNN segment with Wolf Blitzer? Nope. It was reporter Jessica Yellin, appearing via hologram. That's right, CNN has incorporated a hologram into its coverage tonight.

Jumping the shark was nuking the fridge. Now it's hologramming Jessica Yellin. As in, Dude, that show has nothing left. It has totally hologrammed Jessica Yellin.

PS — I'm probably being too hard on CNN. I mean, they beat NASA and the DOD to this technology. That's something. Right?

7:00pm Poll Closings

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 8:01 PM EST

The networks called Kentucky for John McCain and Vermont for Barack Obama. Indiana and South Carolina, which were called immediately after polls closed in 2004, are still too close to call. Indiana being a close race portends a tough night for John McCain. George W. Bush won that state by 21 points in 2004. Virginia is too close to call, too, but Mark Warner will, as expected, be the next US Senator from Virginia. That's the Democrats' first Senate pickup of the night.

McCain and Palin Face Off

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 7:08 PM EST

I love the internet.

MOJO VIDEO: Obama Supporters On Their Hopes for a New Administration

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 5:35 PM EST

Barack Obama concluded his campaign for the presidency on Monday, November 3, with a rally in Manassas, Virginia. The event's location was one final sign that Obama has made good on his promise to expand the electoral map for Democrats — Virginia has not voted for a Democrat in 44 years and yet Obama holds a five point lead going into Election Day. The supporters Mother Jones found appeared touched by the unique appeal that may allow Obama to win red states like Virginia tonight. They were convinced Obama would heal the nation's wounds, end the nation's wars, and fix the nation's economic troubles. When asked for a way a President Obama might disappoint them, few could think of anything to say.

— Tay Wiles and David Corn

Virginia: Ground Zero For Election Shenanigans, Snafus

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 3:05 PM EST

vamap.jpg

Virginia hasn't gone Democratic since LBJ took the state in 1964. Forty-four years later, most polls give Barack Obama at least a four-point advantage over John McCain, thanks in no small part to the defection of moderate "Obamacans." Virginia is not used to being up for grabs, and the enthusiasm and passion among the electorate are unprecedented in modern times; forecasts indicate the state could see 90-percent voter turnout, more than double the average for a presidential election.

While widespread participation in the electoral process is a good thing, Virginia's readiness to manage the tidal wave of new voters (half a million people have registered since 2004) is very much in question. A report released in mid-October by the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, and the Verified Voting Foundation found that Virginia numbered among the states least-prepared for the Election Day challenge. "I don't see what the plan is to handle the volume," Common Cause's Susannah Goodman told the Washington Post. "We are concerned about really long lines at the polls at critical rush hour times, and we are concerned that they don't have enough machines."

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Voter Turnout: Get Out the Weather Map

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 1:35 PM EST

We're in for a record turnout, but just how high will it be? Political scientist Michael McDonald, who excludes noncitizens, felons, and other ineligble over-18ers, predicts we'll sit right next to the high from 100 years ago, 65.4% of eligible voters when, in 1908, William Henry Howard Taft defeated anti-evolution Dem William Jennings Bryan in a landslide.

One predictor of turnout? The weather. Though with people as pissed off as they are with eight years of corruption, wars, and debacle after debacle, rain and long lines likely won't keep many people away. Overall, bad weather and rain will help McCain though, if only on the margins. Here's the latest Weather Channel map, with rain and showers scattered throughout the battleground states of North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, and Montana. (Fox is already reporting rain-related problems in Virginia.)

weather.jpg

The Difference Two Years Makes

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 1:33 PM EST

Two years ago yesterday, SurveyUSA interviewed 600 Americans in each state of the union. Those 30,000 voters were asked who they would vote for in 2008 if the candidates were Barack Obama and John McCain. In that (mock) election, Senator McCain won 510 electoral votes. Obama carried his home state of Illinois, his birth state of Hawaii, and the overwhelmingly Democratic District of Columbia. The map looked like this:

ecv-2006.jpg

Even if the polls are wrong and Obama loses, no one thinks the map will look like that tonight. Guess Obama was serious about that "Change" business. Now that's what you call expanding the map.

A Missing Voice in Ohio

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 1:28 PM EST

mccain-rod-parsley250x200.jpg The New York Times notes that the evangelical power broker Reverend Rod Parsley of Ohio does not have his same swagger this year.

Six months ago, Rev. Rod Parsley was one of the more prominent evangelicals to hail Sen. John McCain as a "strong, true, consistent conservative."
But two days before the election, in a state central to Mr. McCain's hopes, Rev. Rod Parsley preached to his vast congregation at World Harvest Church of hellfire and "circling in on a fight with the eternal forces of darkness" without ever mentioning Mr. McCain.

The reason is pretty simple. Mother Jones revealed that Parsley, a major megacurch pastor who holds sway over a good number of swing state Ohio voters, leads a not-so-secret life as an intolerant anti-Muslim bigot. In one of his books, he argued that America is at war with Islam:

Do Not Pay Attention to Exit Polls

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 1:05 PM EST

Consider this a public service announcement. Do not pay attention to exit polls on the night of a presidential election. For the full explanation, check out Nate Silver, but here's a crib sheet.

(1) The margin of error is 50-90% higher for exit polls than for regular polls. That means a margin of error as large as 7 or 8 points, a huge number. (2) Exit polling was badly wrong during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, as well as many of the 2008 primaries. (3) The folks who willingly participate in exit polls are never truly random; this time around, they are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans because of Democrats' well-established greater enthusiasm for their candidate. (4) A whole host of other reasons.

The solution? Breathe deep and know that you'll have some serious results from all over the country by 8 pm.