Your CV Team is monitoring reports and exit data while talking with allies on the ground in key states.
[But first, if you haven’t voted, stop reading now and get to the polls!]
Our sources on the ground are reporting long lines nearly everywhere: from urban precincts in Philadelphia to Republican strongholds in suburban areas. Unfortunately, this tell us little about how the actual vote will fall. The ability to spread misinformation on social media, and the large number of citizens who cast ballots through early voting only exasperate the difficulty in searching through the tea leaves of voter turnout.
Today, a wise pundit said: “The plural of anecdote is not data.”
So here is some early hard data:
In a late morning exit poll, Politico asked voters what was most important to them.
Why is this important? The percentage of voters who say they want a strong leader is twice the percentage who said the same in 2012. Furthermore, those who reported in 2012 wanting someone who “cares about people like me” broke for Barack Obama 81-18. This Election is no 2012.
Here are some things to look for in the coming hours:
INDIANA CLOSES FIRST // The first state polls close at 6 pm ET in Indiana, which also features a bellwether Senate race. If this Senate race is called early for Republican insurgent Todd Young, it might be an indicator that Republicans will hold the Senate.
Republicans currently hold 54 seats in the Senate. Few expect the GOP to gain seats. In fact, they can only afford to lose three seats and still maintain control. If the Senate stands at 50-50, the next vice president will determine which party controls the Senate on January 20.
EYES ON FLORIDA // At 7 pm, five more states close their polls: FL, GA, SC, VT, and VA. Clinton is expected to do well in Virginia, so if this race is too close to call, it might be a good night for Donald Trump. On the other hand, given that Florida is practically a must-win for Trump, if it’s called quickly for Hillary, it’s a strong sign that she’ll get the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
The race is expected to go down to the wire in Florida. The latest reports that make predictions based on early voting and polling suggest Clinton has a slight lead. If Clinton wins Florida with its 29 electoral votes, it becomes extremely difficult for Trump to reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency outright. Catholics make up 26% of Florida’s population.
Florida also has a Senate race with Republican Marco Rubio. In the polls, Rubio has held a slight lead over his Democratic opponent. If the election is called quickly for Rubio, this doesn’t necessarily mean Trump will win Florida, but it would be a good sign for his campaign.
TRUMP MUST WIN OHIO // At 7:30, three more states close: WV, NC, and Ohio. Traditionally, Ohio has been a swing state, however this year it has been trending towards Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton can win the White House without Ohio, but there’s almost no path for Trump without winning the Buckeye State. Rob Portman is a Republican Senator from Ohio. He is expected to cruise to reelection. In a tight race, expect vote tallying in the populous Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) to come in slow. Ohio is 24% Catholic.
NORTH CAROLINA // North Carolina may provide the biggest glimpse into the rest of the evening. While all eyes on are the presidential race, the NC Senate battle looms large for Republicans. Early voting numbers and our sources on the ground in NC suggest strong turnout for Trump and the GOP.
GRANITE STATE DRAMA // At 8 pm, the small swing state of New Hampshire closes. The Senate and presidential race in this state are both neck-and-neck. And if votes are tallied quickly, it’ll provide a good barometer for which party wins the Senate and the White House. New Hampshire has a sizable Catholic population of 35%.
CRACKS IN THE BIG BLUE WALL? // All but three counties inMichigan close at 8 pm. The Wolverine State hasn’t voted GOP for president since 1988, but close poll numbers sent both campaigns scrambling across the state up until election day. With 16 electoral votes and a large working-class population, Michigan could provide Donald Trump a chance to win if he comes up short in other swing states. That’s also true in Pennsylvania, where polls close at 8 pm. Both campaigns swarmed the Keystone State in the final days.
GO WEST // The Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico are the states to watch out West for the presidential contest. Nevada offers Republicans the best opportunity to pick up a Senate seat. While the Democratic Senator is favored to win reelection in Colorado, the Senate race in Nevada is too close to call. New Mexico is 26% Catholic, and Colorado is close behind with 24%.
SUMMARY: The House of Representatives is very likely to remain in pro-life hands. The Senate remains a toss-up, with either party very likely to hold a very narrow 50 or 51 seat majority.
But most of the attention will be on the presidential race, where the last polls before Election Day gave a slight edge to Hillary Clinton. But her lead was within the margin of error, and ultimately it’s not a national race, but decided state by state. And political pundits agree that Clinton’s lead in the swing states is noticeably smaller than Obama’s was four years ago.
Don’t let anyone convince you your vote doesn’t matter.
Many states are expected to be decided by a razor-thin margin.
And make sure you vote.