What To Watch For While You’re Watching Election Returns
What to watch for tonight.
As we head into tonight’s election coverage, here’s a fairly good idea of what to watch for as the results pour in.
First of all, there’s the obvious lesson that the total number of votes matter far less than where those votes are coming from and concentrate on the states. If Hillary Clinton is mounting up a large percentage of votes from solid blue states, that matters far less than the smaller number of votes she might be getting from red states and toss-up states that will decide who wins this election. The national popular vote is helpful in determining what the national trend might be, but the most important factor isn’t Hillary Clinton getting large numbers of votes from states like New York, or California, or any of the other solid blue states that she’s virtually guaranteed to win, which are depicted on the map below:
Second, keep in mind that Clinton essentially starts the night with a “lock” of 226 Electoral Votes and that Donald Trump starts the night with a “lock” of 148 Electoral Votes as the map above shows. If either candidate starts losing in the states where they are supposedly guaranteed they are going to win, then you can virtually guarantee that they will be in for a long night, and that the election itself could be over far quicker than we’re currently anticipating. The election will truly be in play when we start finding winners or losers in the states in gray and the trend for the night gets set. If one candidate or the other starts dominating there then, again, the election could be over far sooner than currently anticipated. After taking these “locked” states into account, there are a number of states where the candidates are leading that they must hold on to if they’re going to have a realistic shot at winning the election, those are depicted in the map below:
Third, the map above includes all the states that the candidates should be considered a “lock” for each candidate, along with those that they should win based on current polling. If they fail to win those states, then they are unlikely to win the 270 Electoral Votes that they need to win the election. Additionally, if Hillary Clinton wins just one of the states in gray she will win the election although it may be several hours before she’s projected as the winner given the fact that polls don’t close on the West Coast until 11pm Eastern and the vote count in states such as Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio could end up being slow if turnout ends up being high or polls remain open late to accommodate people who are waiting in line at the time the polls close.
As things stand, I expect we might actually be able to call the election rather early tonight, and that the outcome will likely be apparent well before the West Coast closes even if Clinton doesn’t officially go over the top until 11pm. You can watch coverage on all the broadcast and cable news networks, as well as at various places online. Additionally, I’ll be live tweeting the results until the bitter end and may there may be an update post or two here on Outside The Beltway if the newsflow allows. Otherwise, the wrap-up posts will come late tonight or early tomorrow.