5:00 p.m. Central time. No score.
I'll be switching back and forth between CNN and Fox News tonight. Fox will be covering the same set of facts, and I will be interested to hear what they say.
I kept busy most of the day to keep me from going crazy--went to the gym, slow lunch, etc. I did turn on CNN an hour ago--it was amusing, as always to see Carville and Matalin talk at and past each other. Matalin seems to be hinting that the CNN exit poll is showing strong (popular vote) for Romney--something they will not tell us. Nice hairdo, Mary--no, seriously.
5:10 p.m. Gergen made a good point, that the exit polls in 2004 suggested Kerry would win the election. This is one reason why they don't want to talk about what the total results of the Presidential contest are.
5:39 p.m. This is probably the toughest hour: the news teams are all "fired up and ready to go" (the Obama pep talk phrase), but they have nothing to say yet.
I am watching two things closely in the states of Kentucky and Indiana, which are reporting part of their results (split by time zones): the Donnelly-Mourdock race for Senate in Indiana, and the race of Ben Chandler (D) in the House, trying to hold onto a moderate district near Lexington, in a state that is going to go big for Romney.
Intrade.com has it at 70-30 Obama, which tells me that there has been no leak of meaningful information. No movement yet.
6:16 p.m.CNN: Romney 8, Obama 3; Fox: Romney 19, Obama 3. Kentucky, Vermont (and Indiana, on Fox) called. Still not much to say, but John King had a nice factoid about Vigo County, Indiana (where Terre Haute is): the county has been in accord with the winner of the Presidential race all but twice in the last 125 years; last time it was wrong was 1952. And it's 49-49 with 78% of the county's vote in!
6:44 p.m. Romney 33, Obama 3. South Carolina and West Virginia called for Romney. No surprises yet--Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, all too close to call, though it sounded as though North Carolina is close to being called (for Romney, I presume). I'm kind of surprised Georgia is taking a while to call--maybe theyre just slow.
Donnelly now leading Mourdock; that would be a wrong prediction by me, but I'll gladly take it.
In a few minutes, a number of states will close their polls, and the game will finally get underway.
7:01 a.m. Obama 78, Romney 71 (Fox). Fox likes to call them quickly, but they haven't even listed the ones they just called--it was 49-3 Romney two minutes ago (with Georgia). Obama: IL, MA, DE, DC, CT, MD, NJ, RI, 3 of 4 in ME (!); Romney: AL, MS, OK.
Obama 64, Romney 40 (CNN). They haven't called GA, NJ, MS, AL. They added AR at some point.
It's beginning to look as though the provisional ballot problem in Ohio (they won't be released for 10 days, and there's a lot of them) could mean the state will not be called tonight. If my prediction (290-248) is right, and that will probably depend in particular on the close race in Colorado, then he may still be anointed the winner regardless of Ohio's 18 EV.
7:27 p.m. Romney 82, Obama 78 (Fox). They called TN for Romney--no issue there. Rove is on there trying to make the argument that the fragmentary indications in VA, FL, OH all favor Romney. His argument is that the swing counties have swung to Romney; Obama will have to make it up with turnout in the areas where he is strong.
8:00 p.m. Romney 152, Obama 123 (CNN). Romney: KS, LA, NE (3 of 5 so far), ND, SD, TX, WY, Obama: MI, NY (and MS, NJ, which they should've called a long time ago).
Romney 149, Obama 127 (Fox). I think Nebraska and Maine are the discrepancies, with the potential for splitting their votes.
8:15 p.m. Fox went to 149-147, the extra 20 is Pennsylvania! The fact they called it quickly is a very good sign for Obama. The Fox commentators are beginning to accept that, unless they get Ohio, they will not win. The "smart blonde" on there, whatever her name, is carping about the auto bailout issue and how Romney lost it. CNN has not called PA.
8:26 p.m. Obama 157, Romney 149. Fox calls Wisconsin for Obama. I saw on CNN that the Exit Poll there was 52-46 for Obama; not enough for CNN to call. CNN is being good about showing their exit poll results in states, while Fox is showing itself considerably more aggressive in calling races based on them, which is fine if they don't end up walking any of the states back. Based on Fox, Obama should win this election.
CNN is at 152-123, Romney, because they haven't called PA, WI. (Fox is now at 153-153; I think the extra 4 EV for Obama was a mistake?) They have some key results from swing counties in CO (Arapahoe, near Denver), that suggests he may win there.
8:48 p.m. Fox still at 153-153, CNN at 152-143 (they called PA). Big news is the pickup of Senate seats by Donnelly in IN and Elizabeth Warren in MA! Intrade.com has shifted to 94% for Obama, due to the shift in sentiment for Ohio (90% for Obama) and Florida (82% for Obama). In particular, Ohio's quote on Intrade dropped from 30% to 10% in the last hour.
9:00 p.m. Florida and Ohio are on the verge of being called for Obama, though they may stay there for awhile. NH called for Obama, UT for Romney. 158-147 Romney on CNN, 162-157 Romney on Fox. (Wisconsin the main difference.) Popular vote a little to Romney, but could shift when CA comes in. Rove still believes in Ohio for Romney, but isn't speaking about Florida.
9:50 p.m. 169-157 Romney (CNN); 174-173 Romney (Fox). CNN has called AZ for Romney, MN for Obama. IA, MO are counting slow; haven't been called. CNN is so focused on the Presidential race, I have heard nothing about the House--ever. Fox just made an announcement a while ago that the Republicans would keep control, though they do cycle House race data fairly continuously, without any comment.
10:05 p.m Obama 244-203 (Fox), Fox has called NC, MO, MT for Romney, but CA, WA, HI for Obama. 10:12 p.m. 18 votes just popped into Obama's column on Fox--must be...Ohio?
Yes! It's all over but the shouting. A great feat for Obama's campaign and for him.
CNN calls it at 10:18 p.m.
As for the Senate, there is still some doubt: Heidi Heitkamp is holding a tiny lead over Rick Berg in ND, which would be a great upset. Tammy Baldwin is holding a narrow lead in Wisconsin; I was calling it the other way, though Baldwin had been favored in recent days. Montana has just begun to count; it won't be decided for hours. Right now, Shelly Berkley is leading in Nevada, which could be a major upset. Tim Kaine picked up a big victory in Virginia. So the Democrats should end up with 2-3 seats more than the 51 that I projected.
In terms of the predictions, I think I did very well on the popular vote, though we will see. Nate Silver should take credit: he has had the 332-206 as the most probable Electoral vote, consistently, for months, and it may end up being exactly right. My mistakes appear to be Florida and Virginia.