Geek's Guide to Election Night
You know who you are. Most nights you are still awake after a comedic interlude with Greg Gutfeld, so you tune in to a rerun of Rachel Maddow to satisfy your inner masochist. On election night, you have lined up your energy drinks, coffee and favorite snacks to get you through the 18 hours from 6 PM (EST) on election night to noon or beyond on the next day. You are probably watching alone, since your friends have long ago dismissed you as dangerously obsessed. But that won't stop you from hurling profanities at the TV set.
You are hoping for an early concession by shocked and sobbing MSNBC hosts that somehow Obama has lost and that Harry Reid's reign of terror is ending. But a small part of you hopes that when you finally doze off at noon on Wednesday, the results are still uncertain enough to feed your addiction just a bit longer.
For all my fellow junkies, even the liberal ones, here is a guide to the first few hours of the last few hours of your favorite day of the leap year. The results are pretty much known in advance for 43 states and DC. Rasmussen predicts an Obama lead of 237 to 206, with 95 votes in 8 tossup states. If any states actually flip, it is likely that all eight tossup states will go the same way. The chance of states flipping in both directions (like NC for Obama, but PA for Romney) is close to nil. There will be no late surprise flips. That action will be over by 8PM EST.
The tossups close early. The conventional wisdom that Romney must win FL(29) and VA(13), closing at 7PM, is accurate. So give him 248. Otherwise you can break out the Jack Daniels or the cyanide, depending on just how invested you are in the outcome. But the conventional idea that Romney needs OH(18) more than Obama does is not so clear. If Romney grabs NH at 7:00, and OH at 7:30 that adds 22 votes to his 248---game over! With OH(18) but not NH(4), Romney would have 266, and it would be Obama who has to run the table. Romney would need just one more state out of CO(9), IA(6), WI(10), NV(6). Even with wins in both OH(18) and NH(4), Obama still has to win two of the remaining four states.
The bad news is that the presidential action is probably over at 9PM EST. The best hope for junkies is some too-close-to-call tossups. But don't despair ---there is always the Senate.