In about six hours, we will have our first presidential results, from Dixville Notch. After a long year of campaigning, theorizing, guessing, blowing hot air, arguing, and (if you are like me) pouring over polling data and past election data, we actually start to find things out. The process of finding things out might take some time, and there is an outside chance that the electoral college will remain up in the air for days or even weeks while a recount goes on in Ohio or Virginia.
Only now, the day before the election, will I hazard guesses, which makes me a lot more modest than most people. I believe that Barack Obama will win a second term tomorrow. I believe this because the electoral map for the last twenty years shows that Democrats will usually carry around 263 electoral votes, meaning the leap to 270 is fairly small. I also believe this because the consensus of the polling over the past 12 months in states like Ohio, Virginia and Colorado show Obama with an edge. And I believe this because sites that aggregate polling data, such as fivethirtyeight and US Election Atlas, have shown that over the year, Obama's lead in swing states has been consistent.
I also think that Democrats will retain control of the Senate. I am not sure what will happen to the House, which seems to have been lost amidst the noise.
However, if my predictions don't come true, I will not be amazed, confused or dumbfounded.
One of the major things I try to explain to people, but sometimes fail to get across, is the difference between "Huh?" moments, and "WTF?" moments. If Mitt Romney wins in Ohio, or even in Wisconsin, that will be a "Huh?" moment for me. If Mitt Romney wins Rhode Island or Oregon, that will be a "WTF?" moment for me. I am not expecting any "WTF?" moments tomorrow. Which is, of course, exactly what makes them "WTF?" moments.
As modest and weaselly as my predictions are, I am putting them up here for posterity. If I was widely wrong, if tomorrow is a Romney landslide, then my words will stay here, and it will be a sign for the ages of my misunderstanding. Children can point and laugh at me, and frankly, that is a good thing.
Also, in a daylog tomorrow, I will publish a timetable of polling closing times by states, letting us know what we can know, and when. I will then probably do another daylog after most of the results are in. As well as writing out the outcomes of various races. It might take me a while to get around to writing about the presidential race.