There are a number of different ways to follow the election tonight through an online election guide if you dread listening to the TV pundits or would rather just have something to balance their unsubstantiated claims. First, here’s a list of poll closing hours from First Read; early results from these states will reveal how the election is going. I’ve highlighted the swing states in red:
How to watch tonight: With several battleground states having poll-closing times at 8:00 pm ET or earlier (Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania), we’re going to know a lot about how the race is breaking fairly early in the evening. How long does it take to call North Carolina (a state Romney probably wants to put away early) and Pennsylvania (ditto Obama)? Will Florida and Virginia take hours to call? (Remember, no state better matched the 2008 popular than Virginia did four years ago.) Here are all the final poll closing times in ET (NBC News will not call a race until all polls have closed in that state):
7:00 pm: GA, IN, KY, SC, VT, VA
7:30 pm: NC, OH, WV
8:00 pm: AL, CT, DE, DC, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MS, MO, NH, NJ, OK, PA, RI, TN
8:30 pm: AR
9:00 pm: AZ, CO, KS, LA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, ND, SD, TX, WI, WY
10:00 pm: IA, MT, NV, UT
11:00 pm: CA, HI, ID, OR, WA
1:00 am: AK
And here’s three sites I’ll be watching tonight:
- The Twitter Political Index will be interesting given the out-sized role that social media is playing in the 2012 election. Not really a results site, but a snapshot of what’s going on in terms of the election in the Twitter stream.
- Politico has a good map and site that provides results from a more or less neutral perspective. Just good solid data on a nicely designed map.
- FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s blog at the New York Times. I still like Silver the best as he is the only one that seems to do probability analysis and lay his cards on the table.
Indeed, Silver has become the big story over the past week as a number of political consultants have taken him to task for doing only a “cold” mathematical calculus. Silver did exceptionally well in the 2008 and 2010 elections and it remains to be seen if he continues the same level of accuracy. Maybe there is something of a “gut instinct” to polling; but there’s also something to mathematics that is hard to deny. With Silver now projecting Obama having a more than 90% chance of winning re-election, you’ll get to see him solidify his reputation or make a fool of himself. I think Silver will be proven right, but we’ll see.
But of course, you can always turn to the pundits if you need your (political) ego stroked.