Before I weigh in with my predictions for tonight, I want to point to your contest once again, for anyone who hasn't entered yet
. We've been getting some informed entries as well as some excellent emails this morning from people excited about the election today. Energy is up, I can feel it.
I'm predicting the first surprise of the night will be Obama winning Indiana, where voting ends early in the evening. The latest polls have McCain pulling away in that state, but my gut says that a large turnout in northwest Indiana (which is practically suburban Chicago), combined with the last-minute heavy rotation of an Obama radio ad featuring John Cougar Mellencamp
will put him narrowly over the top. (Note the almost subliminal way in which Mellencamp, with folksy Midwest contempt, pronounces George Bush's name so that it rhymes with douche
That kind of result could portend an Obama landslide, similar to your projection. I'm not going to go quite that far. I think McCain will pull it out in more than half the swing states, and also win Ohio, but North Carolina will fall to Obama. The story throughout the early hours will be Virginia where a close tally combined with polling problems will bring back memories of Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000. In the end, it won't matter. Obama will win comfortably with 344 electoral votes.
I'm also predicting that Obama will outperform his national poll numbers. He will win the popular vote by more than 8%.
Finally I'm setting the over/under on arrests in Grant Park tonight at 11.