8 pm: Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire

Of the eighteen states with polling stations closing within the 8 — 8:59 PM Eastern window, the three we’re concerned about, of course, are Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), and New Hampshire (4).

As Allahpundit summed up in his handy-dandy Electoral Math Made Easy primer yesterday, winning Florida is basically a prerequisite for the Romney campaign; its 29 electoral votes may be too many to do without. Fortunately, Romney’s maintained one of his better leaning-red battleground commands in Florida, along with North Carolina, and many polls have Romney winning with the senior demographic. As for Senate races, we’ve got Connie Mack (R) v. Bill Nelson (D), and the polls have all been steadily leaning in Nelson’s favor. Check their state returns here.

New Hampshire’s four electoral votes last went Republican for G.W. in 2000, but Obama’s only averaging a slim lead there — will the lack of anti-Bush sentiment of 2004 and the lack of Hopenchange of 2008 be enough to flip them back to red? No Senate races here, but they are running a governor’s race between Ovide Lamontagne (R) and Maggie Hassan (D), which is leaning Democratic.

Pennsylvania’s the biggest toss-up of this group — they’ve gone blue in the presidential vote for decades now, but they’re perfectly capable of voting red down the ticket, which they did in 2010. After various accusations of Romney’s “flailing” “desperation” from various members of Team O, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter acknowledged last night that the contest for Pennsylvania has definitely tightened, and Romney’s recent campaign push into the state has had them visibly nervous. As Allahpundit also already pointed out in his thread, word on the street is that the “bitter clingers” are showing up in relatively full force in the rural counties that Romney will likely need to overcome an urban deficit. Their Senate race, Tom Smith (R) v. Bob Casey (D) has been leaning Democratic, and here’s their state returns page, for you viewing pleasure.

I’ll keep you updated on these states here as the results roll in, and for some live updates and analysis, be sure to tune in and listen to Ed on the Hugh Hewitt show!

Update: The polls are officially closed, but as President Obama helpfully reminds us, if you’re in line when the polls close, you’re still good to vote — and it’s looking like certain Florida lines are still long. This could take awhile.

Update: Yup, via Politico:

Voting is continuing into the night Tuesday at a condo tower south of downtown here where “Hispanics for Obama” placards compete with an anti-communist poster taped to a palmetto bush — and where some residents say they’ve waited as long six hours to cast their ballots. …

“It’s not going well at all,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said as he trudged through the parking lot while people in the parking lot yelled, “Shame on you” and “Venezuela runs better elections.”

Hundreds more were still waitng in a line snaking through the parking lot well past the official 7 p.m. EST closing time for the polls. (Polls close an hour later for Florida Panhandle counties that are on Central Time.)

Update: Chuck Todd just offered the rundown of the numbers coming in in Florida for NBC — Democrats are officially leading with the early vote tally, but not by nearly as much as Obama’s 2008 totals. Todd also noted that experts on both sides are predicting the state could come down to a difference of less than 100,000 votes, and thinks that, if it should come down to less than 50,000 votes, we could be looking at legal challenges. Oof.

Update: Bill Nelson, the Democrat, won his third term in Florida’s Senate seat over Connie Mack.

Update: They’ve just called Pennsylvania — it’s going blue.

Update: Fox News is calling New Hampshire for Obama, and the networks are saying that Florida is resting on a knife’s edge with 84% reporting.

Update: Aaaand, it looks like the fate of Florida’s votes won’t matter, as the networks are calling Ohio for Obama, meaning he’ll have passed the threshold of necessary electoral votes.

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Ed Morrissey 10:01 AM on December 06, 2022