Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama wins Indiana; 19 still alive in contest

Obama was declared the winner in Indiana overnight, which I find pretty incredible. As a former resident of the Hoosier State, who voted there in 2004 when no one was under any illusions about it being a close race, I never fully believed the polls that showed it a tossup, because I never thought I'd see a Democrat win Indiana except in a sweeping, LBJ-type, 60-40-ish national landslide. And certainly, I never expected the Democrat who picked the Republican lock on Indiana to be a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. Remarkable.

[UPDATE: In comments, dcl writes: "I'm not 100% sold on the Obama wins Indiana thing. It looks like that is really going down to the wire. And there are a few mandatory recounts yet." Fair enough, but for now, I'm assuming the media calls are right.]

Also overnight, McCain edged out Obama in Montana. (Darn. Close, but no cigar, for my big upset pick.) So now, only three tossups remain: Missouri, where McCain has a slight edge; North Carolina, where Obama has a slight edge; and Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District (PDF), where McCain has a slight edge. Recounts seems possible in all three places.

(There is some talk of an Obama comeback in Georgia, where a bunch of early votes in Democratic areas apparently haven't been counted yet. But I think that's unlikely -- McCain leads by 5.4%, or some 200,000 votes -- so I'm going to continue to consider Georgia "red," and the remainder of this post assumes that McCain does indeed win it. Likewise, it assumes that Obama holds Indiana. If either result changes, everything below would be rendered inoperative.)

Anyway, the Indiana result eliminates most of the "perfect maps" in the Electoral College Contest. Only Kevin Curran and Jason Gilman still have a chance to go 538-for-538. But seventeen other contestants still have a chance to win, albeit with less-than-perfect maps.

Without considering tiebreakers, which I haven't even tried to calculate yet, here are the scenarios in the contest:

If Obama wins both Missouri and North Carolina, then Curran and Gilman would remain perfect, and the contest would be decided by Nebraska's second district! If McCain wins NE-2, Gilman beats Curran, 538 to 537; if Obama wins NE-2, Curran beats Gilman, 538 to 537.

If, on the other hand, McCain wins both Missouri and North Carolina, there's a five-way tie for first place, regardless of the NE-2 result, among Eric Bowers, Evan Vaida, Julia H., Mike Wiser and Ricardo Valenzuela.

If Obama wins Missouri and McCain wins North Carolina, NE-2 is again decisive: Jocelyn Mitchell and Mike Quinn finish tied for first if McCain wins it, but if Obama wins it, Thomas Haire wins outright.

Finally, if McCain wins Missouri and Obama wins North Carolina -- as currently appears most likely -- Kevin Curran wins the contest (despite missing Missouri, which is equivalent to other folks' Indiana error) if Obama wins NE-2; but if McCain wins NE-2, there's a ten-way tie among Alec Taylor, Andrew Hunter, dcl, Jenn Pease, Joe Loy, Ken Stern, Patrick Cullen, Roger Snyder, Samuel Minter, Sean Wilkinson and Jason Gilman.