Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Armchair quarterback 2008: the results

As I write these words, I'm still in a state of disbelief that it's actually happened; that Martin Luther King's dream has finally come true and a minority person has won the Presidency of the United States. Watching spontaneous celebrations on TV -- in London, Nairobi, Paris and even Sydney -- the moment the networks announced Barack Obama had gone over the top is something one can never forget. Yes, I pumped up my fist in the air with the "black power" salute and said "Yes!" when the clock hit 11 PM Eastern last night.

So how did my predictions stack up against what happened yesterday? I knew I wasn't going to be totally right, it was just a wild guess in a lot of cases. Let's see what happened:

My call on the popular vote was 53-45 and on the College 378-160. I was close on the first one: 53-46. On the second, Obama currently leads John McCain 349 - 163; with Missouri and North Carolina still too close to call. My guess on North Dakota was wrong but with a 53-45 result in that state (a near mirror image of the national numbers) it could still be called competitive especially with Obama getting 9 points up on Kerry in 2004. With the Ohio flip, the deal was sealed; there was no way McCain was going to run the board after that.

Senate: In Kentucky, McConnell beat Lunsford but only by 5% -- a win is a win but in 2002 the former won by a huge margin so it is still a bit of a repudiation; with an overall loss of GOP seats in the Senate his leadership post is in jeopardy. The race in Alaska has the convicted Stevens in the lead but with tens of thousands of absentee ballots waiting to be counted and the one in Minnesota going to recount after Coleman leads Franken by less than 800 votes. The race in Georgia just might to a runoff. As it stands, the Dems still could get to 60 but it's very unlikely -- based on what I see by the numbers, they'll finish with 57 or 58 (my guess was 59 including the two indies).

House: My guess was 256 for the Democrats -- right now they have 254 with 8 still up in the air.

On the ballot measures, my guesses were pretty much in line with reality (except one); although the income tax elimination measure in the Bay State went down even more than I thought (70-30). It's noteworthy that besides California gay marriage bans also passed in Arizona and Florida and a ban on gay couples adopting passed in Arkansas. Superimpose county results with those who voted for Obama and you notice that some areas that voted for the Illinois Senator also voted for the bans -- which is entirely what I and many others thought would happen. About 1/6 of the socon vote broke for Obama which is significant when one considers that in 2004 only about 1/20 voted for Kerry.

All of these measures will certainly be challenged and this is something the Supreme Court will have to decide on once and for all. Much as I don't approve of gay marriage, it is an issue of equality and the result is inevitable; it will get the imprimatur of the courts.

The one I got wrong was San Fran's Prop K on decriminalizing laws against sex trade workers. It was defeated 56-44 but the upward trend from previous initiatives is that eventually something like this will pass. The fact remains that as long as the oldest profession continues to exist, those who provide services need to have their rights protected as well; and not have the police automatically presume they're guilty when they make a genuine complaint of sexual assault or exploitation of any kind. This is, however, something that needs to be addressed at the legislative level and politicians need the courage to stand up for the vulnerable. Having women who die in the trade and being dismissed by cops as "unresolved murders" is simple women-bashing prejudice -- the exact kind that existed in Vancouver for years and to some extent still does in the Lion's much as in the Golden Gate.

Hey, I'm just an armchair quarterback, but this was kind of fun. Now the hard work begins -- as Obama warned last night no one should expect miracles overnight. The decision of Russia to move missiles into Kaliningrad, the Russian outpost formerly known as East Prussia, may be Barack's first major test even before he gets a chance to measure the drapes and access the national security files to which he is now entitled to review during the transition.

UPDATE (Thursday, 7:33 am EST, 1233 GMT): Very late last night, the last two states finally called in: North Carolina (by 14,000) for Obama and Missouri (by just 6000 votes) for McCain, making the final total 364-174. The Missouri rule bellwether rule may finally have gone out the window, while the Dems' big win in the Tarheel State bodes well for the donkey throughout the South in the future -- the fact that there are now 800,000 more Democrats in just that one state than Republicans says a lot.

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1 comment:

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Pretty close in terms of popular vote, although I suspect McCain only did better than expected there due to the fact he held or gained in much of the Deep South (the Gulf States, not Southeast), but those were going to go Republican no matter what. Gaining in Alabama is meaningless. At this point, I would put North Carolina in the Democrat column and Missouri in the Republican. The networks only won't call them because of the absentee ballots, but I expect the Dems to win North Carolina and Missouri to go for the Republicans.

Still, in 2004 if someone told me the Dems would win Colorado, Virginia, and Indiana, I would have said they were nuts, yet they did win them. They even came close to winning Montana which defies every stereotypical description of a Blue state. And Texas maybe a red state for now, but unless the Republicans can make gains amongst the Latino community, I suspect it will turn blue in another election or two. Whites will be a minority in Texas in 10 years from now, so even with 75% of whites going Republican, they won't win the state unless they can get a sizeable chunk of the Latino and/or African-American community.