What To Look For Tuesday Night: The evidence should be in early | Harper's Magazine

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[Washington Babylon]

What To Look For Tuesday Night: The evidence should be in early

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All the available evidence suggests that Barack Obama should cruise to a comfortable margin of victory tomorrow night. “Based on interviews with political strategists in both parties, election analysts and advisers to both presidential campaigns — including a detailed look at public and private polling data — an Obama victory with well over 300 electoral votes is a more likely outcome than a McCain victory,” Mark Halperin of Time magazine reported today. On the other hand, polls have been wrong before, and there is some evidence that McCain could be closing the gap in a few battleground states.

Early results from just a few states should make it relatively clear whether Obama wins easily or if the polls and pundits are wrong, and the race is going to be closer than expected.

If Obama wins North Carolina, expect him to romp to a huge victory as that would suggest that a number of closely contested red states go Democratic.

An Obama victory in Florida or Virginia would also be fatal to McCain. Victory in both augurs a landslide. If he loses both, it would suggest that the electoral map is reverting to form and we might be in for a long night.

John McCain can’t win unless he takes Pennsylvania, which should be a key early indicator. Because if Obama loses Pennsylvania, it’s hard to see him winning in places like North Carolina or Virginia anyway.

Everyone’s nerves are frayed at this point, but it’s hard to see how McCain wins; signs of the outcome should be abundantly clear by 9 P.M. EDT.

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