Eleven states with 63 electoral votes have not voted Democratic in the 10 elections since 1964: Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana and Virginia. On election eve, Obama is competitive in Virginia and Indiana, which Bush carried in 2004 by margins of 8.2 and 20.7 percentage points, respectively. In Nebraska, which is one of two states (Maine is the other) that allocate an electoral vote to the candidate who carries each congressional district, Obama might win the 2nd District (Omaha). In 2004, George W. Bush beat John Kerry there by 22 percentage points.
Seven states with 60 electoral votes have voted Democratic only once since 1964: North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Colorado and Arizona. It will not be startling if Obama carries two -- Colorado and North Carolina. In 2004, Bush carried them by 4.7 and 12.4 percentage points, respectively.
Coloradans and Nebraskans will vote Tuesday on measures to ban government-administered racial preferences in public employment, public education and public contracting. Voters have emphatically passed such measures in California (1996), Washington (1998) and Michigan (2006). If Colorado and Nebraska pass those measures, that will be evidence -- not counter to, but in addition to, the Obama candidacy -- that Americans are eager to put racial politics behind them.
The most radical measure at issue Tuesday is on the Massachusetts ballot. Question 1 would abolish the state income tax, which raises $12.5 billion a year -- more than 40 percent of the state's budget. In 2002, a similar measure, although not much debated or even noticed, won 45 percent of the vote. Abolishing the tax would save the average taxpayer $3,600 a year, a sum that looms larger as taxpayers' investment portfolios become smaller.
Tuesday night might be chaotic: Elections are government undertakings, so they are not expected to be well run, and judging by the multiplying warnings that voting arrangements might buckle under the weight of predictably large turnouts, Election Day seems to have taken many state and local governments by surprise, yet again. Such dreary developments, anticipated with certainty, must be borne philosophically.
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