US election live

10.48pm. Oregon Senate race still close: Republican incumbent Gordon Smith leads Democrat Jeff Merkley 47.7 per cent to 46.7 per cent with 74 per cent of precincts reporting. Coleman now leads Franken by 676 votes (0.02 per cent) with 99.9 per cent reporting.

9.25pm. An extra 0.3 per cent of precincts in Minnesota have widened Coleman’s lead to 2591.

8.45pm. Norm Coleman back ahead of Franken in Minnesota – by 490 votes, with 98.7 per cent reporting.

7.54pm. Al Franken seizes a late lead for the Minnesota Senate (188,073 to 185,786) with 98 per cent reporting.

7.45pm. All precincts reporting from Missouri, and McCain leads 1,442,577 to 1,436,724. Possum writes in comments that there are not enough contested votes to cover the gap.

6.29pm. MSNBC calls Indiana for Obama. Only Missouri and North Carolina still outstanding.

6.26pm. Missouri has gone right back down to the wire with 0.7 per cent still to report: McCain 1,426,779, Obama 1,426,381.

6.06pm. With all precincts reporting, Obama leads in North Carolina by 12,160 votes out of over 4.2 million (0.2 per cent cent).

5.57pm. Earlier chat suggested Republican Senator Ted Stevens was dead meat in Alaska, but he leads 49.4-45.4 with 37 per cent reporting. Partial counts can be misleading though.

5.50pm. Back to lineball in Minnesota Senate. Analyst on Fox News says outstanding precincts are likely to favour Republican incumbent Norm Coleman over Al Franken.

5.16pm. McCain hanging on to his slender lead in Missouri, which is looming as my only wrong call.

5.11pm. McCain now ahead in Montana.

5.00pm. Al Franken continuing to fade in Minnesota Senate – probably gone now.

4.46pm. Obama’s lead in Montana rapidly evaporating as the count proceeds to 51 per cent.

4.36pm. Ohio still quite tight: Obama leads 50.0-48.4 with 72 per cent reporting.

4.31pm. Oregon Senate race has tightened up considerably: within 1 per cent now.

4.11pm. My reading of the Senate: Democrats to gain seven Senate seats – Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Virginia, Oregon, North Carolina and Alaska (no actual votes yet from the latter) – or eight if Al Franken wins Minnesota, where he trails by 0.8 per cent with 53 per cent counted.

4.09pm. Norm Coleman now leads Al Franken by 0.8 per cent for Minnesota Senate.

4.07pm. Obama now with a relatively handy 0.6 per cent lead in North Carolina.

3.55pm. Obama back in front in North Carolina, but not going to win Missouri. I’ve only just noticed he’s looking a surprise winner in Montana, although with only 24 per cent counted.

3.32pm. Correct me if I’m wrong here somebody, but the Democrats stand to gain seven Senate seats – Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Virginia, Oregon, North Carolina and Alaska – eight if Al Franken wins Minnesota.

3.17pm. McCain concedes defeat.

3.14pm. Close as close can be between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for Minnesota Senate.

3.10pm. Fox reports Roger Wicker holds Mississippi Senate seat for the Republicans, ending the chances of a Democrat supermajority.

2.59pm. CNN calls the election for Obama.

2.58pm. Obama takes the lead in Indiana.

2.54pm. McCain strengthening in North Carolina and Missouri.

2.51pm. Fox reports Virginia went 60-39 to McCain among white voters, but 92-8 among black voters.

2.42pm. McCain’s lead has vanished in Missouri: now 49.4-49.3.

2.41pm. Franken in fact leads Republican incumbent Norm Coleman 43-40.

2.40pm. Fox calls Virginia for Obama. Al Franken reportedly looking good for Minnesota Senate.

2.37pm. Obama leads in New Mexico 50.1-48.7 with less than half of dominant Bernalillo County reporting, where Obama is leading 57.3-41.5.

2.33pm. Crikey blog commenter Stuart: “Wilson and Franklin in North Carolina unreported. Wilson =44000 people total, 47% black. Franklin 2000 in total people 95% white. Looking good for O.”

2.32pm. McCain now narrowly ahead in North Carolina.

2.20pm. McCain leads by 12,839 in Indiana, but extrapolating unreported precincts from Lake County suggests Obama stands to gain over 22,000 votes.

2.18pm. Still tight in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, but Obama has a handy lead in each case with most precincts reporting. North Carolina his weakest of the three.

2.16pm. Missouri bouncing around the place, but McCain’s lead currently at 2.6 per cent.

2.12pm. McCain’s lead in Missouri reflating.

2.04pm. McCain’s lead in Missouri is narrowing.

2.01pm. Obama narrowly ahead in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia (in ascending order of narrowness).

1.59pm. Fox calls Iowa for Obama.

1.58pm. Obama takes the lead in Virginia.

1.50pm. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight calls the election for Obama.

1.47pm. CNN calls New Mexico for Obama.

1.33pm. Gap continues to close in Virginia, Obama now only 0.5 per cent behind.

1.25pm. McCain fairly well ahead in Missouri, but nobody’s calling it yet.

1.21pm. Discussion of Indiana on Fox: “central city plus rich suburbs” emerging as the “Obama alliance”, but rural areas holding relatively well for McCain.

1.17pm. Fox calls Ohio for Obama.

1.09pm. Nate Silver: “MSNBC and Fox call Georgia for McCain.”

1.00pm. Fox calls North Dakota for McCain.

12.46pm. Nate Silver on Virginia: “Obama is outperforming Kerry by a 12-15 point net in the Eastern half of the Virginia. In the Western half, he’s not performing much better than Kerry and is actually underperfoming him in some counties. I think that equation works out favorably for Obama on balance, though Virginia will be fairly close.”

12.28pm. Heavily populated Florida counties Orange and Polk are swinging double digits to Obama, blowing away those weaker rural results I was mentioning earlier.

12.12pm. Possum says: “PA has gone Dem, VA has gone Dem – election over”. Adam Carr says: “It’s true that the FL panhandle hasn’t reported yet, but Obama is leading in Orlando and St Petersburg, which are GOP towns. You’d think he’ll win FL from here. Note also Obama’s 75% in Broward – the Jews stuck with Obama despite Lieberman’s defection.”

12.08pm. Discussing Virginia on CNN, confirming the impression that early reporting precincts are rural and we haven’t seen any black areas in the big cities come in. I’m only seeing slight swings to the Democrats in the rural areas.

11.53am. Swings I’m seeing in Florida are also below par: 4.0 per cent in Lake, 2.4 per cent in Manatee, 4.1 per cent in Pinellas. He needs 5.0 per cent.

11.45am. Another substantially reporting Virginia county, Augusta, swinging inadequately to Obama by 5.7 per cent. However, the cities and DC outskirts might tell a different story.

11.37am. Culpeper and Amherst counties in Viriginia swinging 5.1 and 1.8 per cent, against required swing of 8.3 per cent.

11.33am. Manatee County in Florida swinging 2.4 per cent to Democrat – statewide margin is 5.0 per cent.

11.26am. Double digit swings in more counties in Indiana (Clinton, Fayette), but Obama needs 20 per cent across the state.

11.21am. Chesterfield County in Virginia swings 8.9 per cent to Democrat with 94 per cent reporting – the statewide margin in 2004 was 8.2 per cent.

11.09am. Reasonably consistent swings in rural counties in Indiana of around 10 per cent – good, but well short of what Obama would need to win the state if consistent.

10.58am. Swing in Steuben County, Indiana with 68 per cent of precincts reporting is 8.9 per cent: well short of the 20 per cent needed to win the state.

10.52am. 69 per cent of precincts reporting in Vigo County, Indiana – Obama leads by 16 per cent. Bush carried it by 6.4 per cent in 2004 (I’ll be double-posting here on special occasions).

10am. Further efforts will be concentrated above.

4am AEDT. Rain and gusty winds in North Carolina, with rain extending into Virginia. Storms through the north-west, bringing snow to Nevada and Colorado. Weather otherwise very good: fine and warm in Florida and throughout the south, fine and mild through the north-east to the mid-west. You’ll next hear from me at around 9.30am AEDT.

Obama McCain Sample D-EV R-EV
Washington 56.4 39.6 3322 11
Maine 56.5 40.5 2185 4
Minnesota 56.0 41.9 3270 10
Michigan 56.3 42.3 3232 17
New Mexico 57.0 43.2 3305 5
New Hampshire 54.9 41.9 3900 4
Iowa 54.1 41.6 3052 7
Wisconsin 53.3 42.3 3003 10
Colorado 54.8 44.7 3248 9
Pennsylvania 53.0 43.3 5479 21
Nevada 51.6 45.4 3168 5
Virginia 51.9 45.8 3382 13
Ohio 50.5 46.3 6490 20
Florida 49.9 46.8 5381 27
North Dakota 47.6 45.9 1706 3
Montana 48.6 47.6 3934 3
Missouri 49.8 48.8 3217 11
North Carolina 50.0 49.3 5582 15
Indiana 48.5 48.9 3834 11
Georgia 47.8 50.1 3248 15
West Virginia 43.9 54.3 3328 5
Others 175 137
RCP/Total 51.9 44.4 370 168

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,508 comments on “US election live”

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  1. Al,

    [this year looks like the largest Democratic win in the electoral college where an incumbent isn’t standing since Franklin Pierce in 1852.]

    Not quite – FDR got 472 EC votes in 1932 and Clinton got 370 in 1992. Wilson got 435 in 1912 as well. Obama will get less than all of these unless he wins both NC and MO, in which case he’ll jump ahead of Clinton.

    [It’s my understanding (and I certainly could be wrong on this) that Carter was the last president to receive over 50% of the popular vote. Am I correct?]

    That’s not right – Carter is the last Democratic president to receive over 50% of the popular vote. Reagan got over 50% in both 1980 and 1984. Bush I got over 50% in 1988 and Bush II got over 50% in 2004.

  2. Both Clinton and Wilson were helped by third-party candidaces (TR in 1912, Perot in 1992) splitting the GOP vote. In 1912, Taft, the incumbent president, got 8 ECVs. That makes FDR’s achievement in 1932 all the more remarkable.

  3. FDR was against Herbert Hoover (a grossly unpopular incumbent) and Clinton stood against George Bush (another incumbent). Wilson in 1912 stood against the incumbent Taft, who lost a lot of his vote to Teddy. The last time I can see a Democrat won against a non-incumbent was JFK against Nixon, which he won in 303-219.

  4. Adam @ 1454,

    Whilst not wishing to diminish FDR’s achievements (including his election win in 1932), he was helped in his win by the utter ineptness of the Hoover administration. I would suspect that if Obama had run against Bush (as opposed to McCain), his margin may well have been similar to FDR’s.

    But that’s a moot point (and who cares, anyway? 🙂 )

  5. Al,

    Elections where there have been non-incumbent Democrats against a non-incumbent Republican have been exceedingly rare since WWII. In fact, since then, there have only been 4 such elections – 1952 (Eisenhower v Stevenson I), 1960 (Nixon v Kennedy), 1968 (Nixon v Humphery) and 1988 (Bush I v Dukakis).

    It’s also worth noting that there have been two big wins when incumbent Dems have been against non-incumbent Republicans – 1964 (LBJ v Goldwater) and 1996 (Clinton v Dole).

    So, overall, Obama’s win will likely fall into the comfortable but not humiliating category.

  6. The Hoover administration was not notably inept. Hoover himself had a long history as a brilliant administrator and a man of great integrity. But he was bound by a rigid adherence to Republican-conservative orthodoxy, and thus was unable to come up with any useful response to the Depression. To his credit in some ways, Hoover refused to yield to populist pressure and do what Bush has just done, use taxpayer money to bail out the private sector.

  7. I agree, they are rare SL… which is why I think it’s unfair to compare this result with any of the other results, like FDR, Carter, Clinton or Wilson. But I think you’ve illustrated the point I was trying to make: when a non-incumbent Democratic has faced a non-incumbent Republican, the Republican has won big in all but JFKs election since Cleveland in 1884.

  8. I agree Hoover was harshly judged for failures shared by many. Remember too that before Keynes none of the economists had any idea how to fix the depression.

  9. Soc
    was reading an article awhile back that stated gwb was linked to pierce.I presumed it was via the direct line.
    and yes,silly me, I knew I should have wiki’ed first.

  10. “A great deal is made about Barbara Pierce Bush’s family connection to U.S. President Franklin Pierce. It is inserted in books written by Bush friends and staff members. Barbara Bush’s gossip-column biographer says: “ Her own great-great-great uncle President Franklin Pierce had his [White House] office in the Treaty Room…. ” In fact, President Pierce was a distant cousin of Barbara Pierce’s great-great grandfather, not his brother, as this claim would imply. **”

  11. To answer my own question, I see that Nate Silver is projectiong

    Total turnout should be somewhere in the 125-130 million range, actually not that much higher than 122 million that turned out in 2004, but still very impressive by modern standards.

    A bit disappointing. They should move election day to a Saturday, like a mature democracy 🙂

  12. Hmm, there also seem to be a lot of people suggesting Nate is wrong [gasp!] 🙂 and is significantly underestimating remaining provisional, absentee and uncounted early ballots, and that turnout will end up being closer to 135 million with a real chance to be biggest since 1908.

  13. For a comparison of US election results going right back to 1789, see
    (warning to anyone on a slow connection – its quite a big page)

    FDR’s 1936 result is the largest – 523 vs Alf Landon’s 8. (60.8% – 36.5%)
    Warren Harding (1920) & LBJ also got over 60% of the popular vote, but not as many ECV’s.

    I wonder if modern media coverage and more sophisticated campaigning techniques etc prevent such massive blowouts from happening these days …

  14. [and that turnout will end up being closer to 135 million with a real chance to be biggest since 1908.]

    More than 135 million voted in 1908?!

  15. “More than 135 million voted in 1908?!”

    Sorry for the ambiguity; biggest turnout as measured as a percentage of Voter Eligible Population.

    In 1908, nearly 15 million people voted, which was about 66% of the VEP.

  16. Whoever said an Obama victory would slaughter the ‘bull’ market we’re in were dead wrong.

    All Ords down 164 points.

    Anyway it’s feeble to say the election of someone will automatically have an impact or even a short term impact on the markets in either direction.

  17. Francis Fukuyama wrote “The End of History?” to highlight the total ascendancy of the neocon agenda

    who will write Obama’s and will it be titled “the restarting of history”

  18. FDR’s 1936 result is the largest

    I hate to be pedantic but this is the internet.

    Technically Monroe’s result in 1820 was the largest margin in the Electoral College, although I know that is not really an apt comparison.

  19. Actually Washington’s in 1789 was the biggest, since it was unanimous. One delegate voted against Monroe so that he could not break Washington’s record. But these things are usually measured from the introduction of direct election for the EC in 1824.

  20. The worst slump in the Depression was between FRD’s election in Nov 32 and his inauguration in March 33. He had to impose his banking freeze as soon as he was sworn in to stop the slide. Maybe we will see something similar now. Perhaps Bush and Cheney should resign now so that Obama can take over at once. 🙂

  21. I plead guilty to being one of those who thought that a clear Obama victory (or for that matter anyone’s clear victory) would help markets psychologically. I still think it will. But even though several serious economists are saying we are getting towards the end of the credit crisis now, ther are still negative consequences washing through.

    One of them for Oz is the likely collapse of ABC Learning and Alco. See

    This will drop our markets down a bit. Banks and miners are still OK though – they went up 6% to 8% the other day and haven’t lost all that.

  22. Actually Washington’s in 1789 was the biggest, since it was unanimous. One delegate voted against Monroe so that he could not break Washington’s record.

    Agree with your last point. It’s even harder to compare before 1804, because of the different system used for voting in the Electoral College. Even though Washington was the unanimous choice of Electors in 1789 and 1792, the votes in the Electoral College come out at eg Washington 69 Adams 34 others 35.

  23. glen@1475
    {Anyway it’s feeble to say the election of someone will automatically have an impact or even a short term impact on the markets in either direction.}

    “A few weeks into the new administration, it was the collapse of the FSLIC, studiously ignored by the waning Reagan Administration, that reached critical mass. February 6, 1989,Bush (snr)-“This was the savings and loan bailout” At the heart of Bush’s policy was his refusal to acknowledge the existence of an economic crisis of collossal proportions which had among its symptoms the gathering collapse of the real estate market after the stock market crash of October, 1987.

  24. One delegate voted against Monroe so that he could not break Washington’s record.

    I’m sure you are aware that there are a number of versions of this. Some people argue that that was not the reason at all, he simply didn’t like Monroe.

  25. Socrates, sharemarkets traditionally do better under Democratic Party Presidents but after the losses in Europe last night, Wall Street was always going to struggle.

    [Historically, Democratic presidents have been better for stocks than Republicans, he said, especially in their first 12 months in office, so the rally that has lifted shares recently could continue through the end of December and possibly into next year.

    Nonetheless, it appears that stocks are in “a very big bear-market rally,” Mr. Gijsels said. “We’re facing one of the worst global economic slowdowns we’ve ever seen; that’s not political.” ]

  26. Socrates@1441

    As for the republicans, I am in two minds. OTOH it would be a mistake to write them off. FPP elections tend to magnify the size of winning margins and we should remember that the popular vote difference was still only 52/48 – hardly a massacre. If they return to the values they were founded on they will do much better in 2012.

    I doubt the effectiveness of opposition to the extension of slavery to the territories as a rallying cry in 2012.

  27. Someone was noting that it is now five elections in a row where the candidate with the superior record of military service has lost the election.

  28. Republican civil war has already started and the current Republican leader in the House wants to keep his job and thinks they lost because they weren’t right wing enough 😀 ……. Keep it up folks, the Dems will give you as much rope as you want to use to hang yourselves …. 😀

    And the fact is, the GOP appears set to double down on a rightward tilt, putting the moderates that Davis leaves behind in increasing isolation. Boehner, in his letter, makes this pretty clear:

    America remains a center-right country. Democrats should not make the mistake of viewing Tuesday’s results as a repudiation of conservatism or a validation of big government. Neither should we. Instead of throwing in the towel, as our opponents demand, we must redouble our efforts to develop forward-looking solutions to the challenges Americans face – solutions rooted in the enduring principles of reform that define us as a party. We need to focus on winning the issues, one by one, and presenting principled, superior alternatives that reflect the center-right priorities of the American people, rather than the self-serving priorities of Washington.

    Center-right cheerleading? GOP versions of “forward-looking” solutions? A paean to somebody’s idea of “reform”? And one last shot at “Washington?” It seems to me that these are the ingredients of the casserole of bad thinking that America just summarily rejected at the polls. Rather than naively asserting a center-rightness that doesn’t exist — after all, it can now be definitively said that widely-supported ideas such as Iraq withdrawal and universal health care are mainstream positions — the GOP needs to find the new center, and blaze the sort of path suggested by authors Reihan Salaam and Ross Douthat in Grand New Party, which imagines a less zombie-like Republican party that seeks to win with a working-class coalition.

    But John Boehner says, “It ain’t gonna happen. It must not happen.” And indeed, this is the party that’s leaning toward running Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin in 2012. If Boehner gets things his way, maybe he’ll be joining Davis on the golf course sooner than he’d like.

  29. Politics aside, there is a real question of leadership the republicans have to face here. When I look at the republicans area of influence, (centre south states), their relative poverty, and inability to face change, I am reminded of Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse”. Their core voters need to be challenged, not pandered to.

    It may not be PC to say it, but that traditional mid-west belt is Americas weakness now, not its strength. I find it glaringly hypocritical that repubs have no problem asking hard questions of hispanics and blacks (you must become law-abiding citizens) when they can’t ask hard questions of their own core constituents (you must become better educated and move to jobs with a future rather than rely on tax breaks and industry handouts). Americas centre is in decay, and that is the republican bit.

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