Sunday, November 02, 2008

Keys to the Ohio Election

I'll be focusing on setting up things to project the results for the Ohio election over the next day but wanted to post a couple of quick thoughts on the Ohio election and results.

If the polls prove out, it could be a very quick night. If not, watch for these items.

  1. Turnout – Turnout will be higher in Democratic counties from a percentage perspective. This won't be that big of a deal. Turnout was lower in Democratic counties than Republican counties in 2004 but this was driven by a lot of invalid voter registrations that have since been purged. That means the same number of voters could turn out and it would still result in a higher percentage turnout. Even bringing the turnout up the the level's seen in Republican counties only nets Obama 25,000 votes. This isn't where the election will be won.

  1. Rural Counties – This is where the election will be won. More than have of the new registered voters came from Republican counties. If we start to see Obama really closing the gap on Bush's margin of victory in 2004 in the rural counties, this election is over. This basically means Obama went into the heart of Republican counties and got new voters. If you don't see Obama making inroads here, the election is going to be very tight.

  2. Provisional Ballots – If Obama's team is talking about provisional ballots, that's a good sign for McCain. Provisional ballots mimicked traditional ballots within 0.1% in 2004. If either side wants to win the election by counting on provisional ballots, it's over.

  3. Absentee ballots and early voting – In the past, absentee ballots also mimicked the general election results. This was the first year where early voting was encouraged and the Democrats focused on it extremely hard. This is the big unknown this year and we will have to watch.