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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Morning-After Musings

by folkbum

• Tonight is the regular monthly installment of Eating Liberally in Milwaukee. I will be there, and you should be there too. It's a 6 PM in the back room of Bella's Fat Cat Custard in Bay View.

• The contest winner will be announced this evening, I hope. As I type this, there are three presidential races yet to be called, and four US Senate races (including what looks like might be a Ted Stevens upset in Alaska), and a dozen or so House races. We're waiting on a couple of state races, too.

• In the last week, when I wrote about the presidential candidates' chances, I assumed, as Republicans had been claiming all along, that pollsters were oversampling Democrats and giving Obama an unfair boost. So I spotted John McCain six points across the board, and he still had a very tought map. However, the final results punctured that theory. Obama is currently winning 52.3-46.4. pollster.com showed a trend of Obama winning 52-44. 538 had predicted 52.3-46.2 for Obama (eerily prescient, no?). Those were all based in the polls Republicans were sure were wrong.

• It appears, reading the text of Obama's acceptance speech, that I may have wildly overstated the extent of his puppy-redistribution plans.

• Al Franken is down by about 800 votes in his US Senate race over in Minnesota. I had very high hopes of picking up this seat, and it may well come down to provisional ballots. Obama won Minnesota by 10 points, and Republican Norm Coleman, even though he's winning, has only 42% of the vote. Clearly Minnesota, like Wisconsin, is moving out of swing state territory. Republicans will have a hard time holding the governor's seat there in two years.

• Here's what I really don't understand: Barack Obama wins Wisconsin by 13 points, Democrats flip five State Assembly seats, and yet we can't flip a single State Senate seat? There's still slight hope for Sheldon Wasserman and Tara Johnson as I write this, but the key word is slight. I'm really quite astounded at that.

• California voted to roll back rights for gays and lesbians. That's depressing.

• Barack Obama's win was truly impressive. He won by 7 million votes, the largest margin since Clinton's 8-million vote win in 1996. (Clinton won 47 million votes then; Obama has over 62 million.) He won in every region of the country (Virginia is kind of the South, and he's up in North Carolina though it hasn't been called yet.) Exit polls suggest he beat John Kerry in almost every category, including among those working-class whites that Brian Fraley and Joe the Plumber and Hillary Holdouts were convinced Obama could never win. I think this suggests that Obama is not just the president of the Democrats, but the president of Everybody. His victory was impressive.

• Maybe the Milwaukee Public Museum's Corpse Flower will finally bloom today.

• Turnout was down nationally. 119 million this year, compared to 122 million in 2004. I don't get that. I mean, Obama's 7-million vote win is massive, and could be partially explained by Republicans staying home in some states, I suppose. Here in Wisconsin, turnout seems down by maybe 100,000 or so, but Obama got more that 150,000 more votes than Kerry did. McCain, on the other hand, underperformed Bush by 250,000 votes. I am very interested to compare county-level turnout numbers to see if heavily Republican counties had lower turnout this year. (UPDATE: Politico says I'm wrong, but their vote total is different from the maps I've seen.)

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