Live Blogging Election Night

7 p.m.  Welcome all to another Election Night extravaganza, courtesy of the Presidential Power blog!   We’ll be setting up at the Middlebury Grille later tonight at 8 pm, as per tradition, but since polls are already closing (or have closed in Indiana and Kentucky) I thought I’d get started.  As always, I welcome your insights and information – this is a collective enterprise.

So join in!

Angelo – Just got an email from a colleague at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania – he’s saying Toomey will pull it out there, but I’m not sure if that’s based on an updated read of turnout…

Ok, we’ll be heading over to the Grille in a few moments.  Already our internet is slowing to a crawl here.  Let’s hope the connection picks up over there.

Ok, we’re set up at the Grille.  Connection is much better so far.  As Angelo noted, a couple of senate races are called – now surprises. One republican pickup in Indiana – but not a surprise.   Meanwhile, Rand Paul has been declared the winner in Kentucky.  We’ll check turnout figures now and see what they tell us.

Jack – We’ll address campaign in a bit, but – as you well know! – Bert things Citizen United will be one of two spins Dems will use to explain their losses tonight…

Nancy Pelosi is taking a page from Jack’s playbook – arguing that this country can’t be bought by special interests!  Expect to hear that refrain for much of the night!  It may be Nancy’s last speech as Speaker…

(BTW, we are listening to the CNN feed here in the Grille).

For the states with polls that closed at 7 – looks like Rubio is doing better than expected in Florida.  At this stage I’m trying to get turnout data to see whether the Republicans are exceeding expectations…

Bert is debunking the Citizens United argument here at the Grille – a masterful presentation!

OK, we just had an extended dialogue with our audience here at the Grille  – simultaneous blogging is so far pretty difficult.   But Tarsi, the gist of the answer is that some districts are so lopsided in terms of partisan composition that they are a foregone conclusion, and are called as soon as results are in.

Ok, we have a list of the 49 House Democrats who are occupying seats in districts that went for McCain in 2008, and we are keeping track of how many lose tonight.  So far, three are down already, including at least one long-term incumbent.  So far, there’s no evidence the Republican wave is not going to materialize…

btw, attendance is way down at the Grille from 2008 – much like the difference between a presidential year turnout and a midterm.  On a positive  note, I’ve got beers stacked up already..

Still waiting for an update from Pennsylvania…

Among the casualties within the 49: (excuse my spelling) Pierello, Boucher and Kosmas.   Add a fourth to the list: Hill in Indiana…

Longtime incumbent David Price is struggling in North CArolina -he’s’ been in 22 years or so but is trailing by 1% with 68%  – No sooner do I post this than they update the race. He’s up by 5%.  Go Political Science!

Ken – thanks for pointing out that Democrats  can thump the bible as well!

RAnd Paul is on:   “Deliberate this!”

Rubio is on for his victory speech.

Zach – Dem’s are not out of the woods in the Senate yet – if they flip Washington they can tie it up….

Isolated cheers here in the Grille -for NBC’s call that the House will go Republican.   Divided  government is here again- that’s the norm in this country in the post-WW II era.

Another of the “49” has gone to defeat – Democrat allen boyd of Florida…so far nothing to indicate this is anything less than a wave election fro Republicans…

Chris – Good to hear from you!  The test can wait…

Democrat Chet Edwards just sent down – another of the McCain 49.   Now O’Donnell is on… loud applause here for one of the few bright spots for Democrats tonight.

David Price has been reelected in NOrth Carolina’s 4rth – strike one for Political Science.

Conor = why do you think exit polls  in Illinois favor Giannoulous?  I’m not seeing it…

We are waiting for 10 – should get some updates as polls close for key states.

Chris – Yes, that’s generally true. Rural areas often report more slowly.  You see this happening in Pennsylvania, where Sestak’s lead is largely due to early margin of returns from urban areas in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  Things are going to tighten considerably there.

Conor – You may be right about Illinois – I don’t have enough information but it would be interesting to compare the demographics with what happened in 2008.

Wolf is projecting a Republican pickup of over 50 seats – so that’s the over in my House projection.  Who took that?

Conor – we just looked at Nevada exit polls – Latino vote  holding steady from 2008, but women are down, and so are African Americans.  How are you seeing this tilting Reid?  It looks darn close to me.

So, we have three Democrats of the 49 representing McCain districts who have been reelected.  Of these, two voted against ObamaCare.

CNN is projecting 52 Republican seats so far in the House.

BTW, we are close to breaking the Presidential Power hit list, set on Election Night when Scott Brown took “Kennedy’s seat” – keep those hits and comments coming.  If we break it, Bert is buying everyone here a beer!

Chris – I have conflicting numbers from 1994 for the Republican gain.  It was either 52 or 54. I’ll check.

OK, Wikipedia says 54.

Chris – you didn’t hear it from me.

Conor – I’m not saying you are wrong. I just can’t see how the demographics are pointing to a better than expected Reid performance.  What are you comparing these to?

So, it appears that our forecast models based on structural factors alone (economy, presidential approval,  seats in doubt) aren’t enough to explain the scope of Democrat loss – the model using the public opinion data are doing a better job.  Bert’s has just made a good explanation why this might be the case…

Michael – keep  in mind that returns are coming more quickly from urban, Sestak leaning areas in Pennsylvania.  It’s not clear that Toomey is really behind.

Chris – do you  believe Wolf, or Wikipedia…

Michael – Toomey has pulled ahead in Pennsylvania.  ANd Kirk has now pulled ahead of Giannoulious in Illinois.  So, to this date, although it’s a long way from over, there are no real surprises in the Senate races.

Chris – Dubie is clinging to a 1% point lead here, but Chittendon county returns aren’t fully in – that’s a Shumlin stronghold.

Ok, a couple of House districts in Illinois – teh 8th and 9th – were supposed to go Democratic, but in fact are in danger of going Republican.  This is a sign that Illinois may tip to Kirk in the Senate race.

Ok, we are starting to get returns from Chittendon County – Bert says Dubie lead has been reduced fractionally, as expected.

Beers on Bert!  We’ve just broke the record for hits on the Presidential Power website..   The place goes wild!…actually,  people are surprisingly calm…Sigh.

Kirk looks like he’s going to take Illinois.  The Senate remains in play for Republicans, but they are going to need some help in Washington and California…

We are getting nothing from Nevada – is anyone out there getting anything beyond exit polls?

The Crowd is beginning to thin out here – lots of disappointment among some of the students.

So, how to explain the Republican resurgence?   There is a line of thought advocated by political scientists like Mo Fiorina that suggests the more moderate public sees some virtue in splitting governmental control between two parties, both of which are  viewed as more extreme than the voters.  We may be seeing that logic unfolding tonight.

Micheal – we only have 11% of Nevada reporting on our site.  Are you saying Reid is up  y 34,000 with 42% of the vote counted?

Ok, it appears Nevada held back reporting because  of long lines at the polls in some polling areas – they didn’t want to report the vote.  We should see a surge of reporting shortly.   The Dem’s need to hold this as a firewall.

Shumlin is pulling ahead in Vermont.

Boehner is on – “The real winners tonight? The American People!”

Shumlin has reportedly told supporters that he has good news for them – looks like he’s going to win this, and with the 50% he needs.

Another Republican pickup = we at the Grille think Toomey is going to take Pennsylvania, although I haven’t heard anyone call it yet.  The Senate is still in play….with 40% of the vote in Washington state, the Republican Rossi is up, but most of that vote is from the eastern part of the state. Look for Murray to close this gap as the urban areas report….

Ok, we are calling it a night….thanks all for participating and setting a record for hits on the blog.  I’ll try to get on tomorrow with the Senate update  and a final tally on House seats…..

Conor – I have no feel for Alaska, but I don’t think the Republican seat is in danger. If forced to choose, I’ll take Miller.  The key races are Nevada and Washington – if the Republicans steal both, it’s going to be an interesting two years!  Agreed on Kirk and Sestak… no surprises, but they were close.


  1. Thanks Matt. Saw in the Times that the AP called Rand Paul the winner in the Senate race in Kentucky.

  2. 1) I really really miss being in the grille on election night
    2) I’m watching from the Media Matters for America Party in DC
    3) it’s msnbc……
    4) there’s an open bar!

    and here we go…..

  3. Can you remind me why they bother reporting projected winners if “4% are in” in the case of Isakson in Georgia?

  4. glad to hear you’ve gotten those beers stacked up (is the juice bar open for a special occasion like this?) – and I’m not surprised that attendance is down – for so many reasons (Obama’s election was truly quite the night at the Grille).

  5. Bible thumpers can be Democrats too! But don’t expect us to vote exactly with the platform.

  6. Illinois Senate will also be close, but Giannoulias seems to have the edge, again, my only source are (the notoriously unreliable) exit polls.

    I suppose a lot still depends on the extent to which the exit poll sample matches the actual electorate, but across the board, it looks like the Dems are doing a few points better than the polls of the last few weeks.

  7. At least it looks like Republicans don’t have much of a chance in the Senate now, with WV, Conn, and Delaware all breaking the way they were supposed to

  8. Wicked excited to be on tonight – I’m putting off studying for a huge test. But I do greatly miss those awesome nights at the Grille!! Keep it coming….

  9. thanks for good advice to Chris about that test, and Christine O’Donnell is about to provide one ray of sunshine in her concession speech right now

  10. I had a thought…. In the word of instant technology where precincts are reporting at rapid rates, is there any credence to the idea that rural areas are slower to report….And if rural areas of the states tend to be a bit more RED then early results tend to favor the BLUE?

  11. Giannoulous’s margin with female voters appears to be pretty significant. He also seems to be helped by large majorities with young voters and moderate voters. It’ll still be down to the wire, but I think he’s looking better than many pundits expected.

    Further down in the exit polls, it also looks like sample of voters is still relatively happy with Obama’s performance, at least compared to the nation at large. 55% strongly or somewhat approve of Obama’s performance and they are, unsurprisingly, pulling heavily for Giannoulous.

    Since the networks have already called the House and the margin of victory matters less there, I think the most interesting races remaining are the close senate races: PA, IL, CO, WI. We’ll see soon what NV, WA, and CA look like!

  12. I’m not suggesting Reid is a clear winner; it’s just that the exit poll has him doing a bit better than expected. The last eight polls in Nevada have had Reid behind (if only by a small margin). The exit polls are very close, but as with IL, PA, and WV, the democratic candidates are consistently fairing better than they were in pre-election polls.

  13. I’m still liking my pick of 57 seats for the republicans, but all of a sudden the Democrats look like they may have a strong showing in both Illinois (though I still think Kirk is carrying that as those exit polls really aren’t telling me that much) and Pennsylvania. Sestak looks like he will, if not win will at least make it very close. My question is how did we get that one so wrong? Most polls had him down by 5-7% with only a few (mostly from Morning Tracking) having him within 2-3%.

  14. Nevada is trickling in, but Reid is up 54-42 (up by 34,000 votes). CNN is reporting 42% of the votes have been counted.

  15. Toomey wins in PA, Kirk should hold on in Il. Both races came down to the wire and were closer than expected!

    Any predictions for Alaska?

  16. I’m keeping an eye on both CNN and The New York Times and I’m puzzled as the New York Times is reporting on 18% of the precincts in Nevada whereas CNN is reporting 60%. The kicker is that the raw numbers are pretty much the same. Is this just a coding issue over at, or is there something more there?

  17. Micheal = the difference seems to be that the NY Times is counting precincts reported, and CNN is counting the vote that ‘s in.

  18. Also, any idea on the turnout for this midterm election as compared to other midterms or presidential elections?

  19. Chris = haven’t checked overall turnout but will try to get to this tomorrow. nor do i have any info re: the maine governor’s race.

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