Monday, November 5, 2012

keeping score with the electoral college

Here's how I would watch the results come in if I were to actually do so:
  • If Obama wins Florida, I don't see him losing; similarly, if Romney wins Pennsylvania, you can go to bed early. (This isn't to say that it's not possible that Romney would win Minnesota or Obama would win Missouri, just that a lot of what we don't know about one state is correlated with what we don't know about others. If Obama wins Florida, he'll win Minnesota.) Both states close their polls at 8:00 Eastern Time, and in the case of a modest landslide (of the order Obama won 4 years ago) they would likely be the first clear indications of such.
  • These are the swing states to watch, with the number of electoral votes for each and the poll closing time, converted to Eastern Time:
    Virginia137:00If it is going to remain in any suspense well into the night, Obama has 236 electoral votes not listed at the left, and Romney has 235. The fact that Romney will be up 64-3 at 7:45 or so will be meaningless; I'd start from 236-235 rather than 0-0, adding points for swing states, and shifting points for upsets. If Romney does win Pennsylvania, add 20 to his total and deduct 20 from Obama's. If the overall race is close, I don't expect any deducting; you'll just, for example, add 13 to whomever wins Virginia. If there's no deducting, then whomever hits 270 wins. If Romney gets 35 from these states, or Obama gets 34, before any upsets are announced, I think upsets are pretty unlikely.
    Maine 2nd district18:00
    New Hampshire48:00
  • For example, if it's getting close to 8:00 and Virginia is called for Romney, your tally is now 248-236 in his favor; if Ohio is then announced for Obama, the total is 254-248 in his favor; if Florida is then called for Obama, adjust it to 283-219, and expect that the binary result is in little remaining doubt.

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