@FactsOnly | How to watch today's election results
What do we mean when we say “key states”? This explainer will help you follow along and get a jumpstart on knowing who won.
By Amrit Singh
IT HAS ARRIVED. Election Day is upon us. First of all: GO VOTE. You don’t want to be the one to say you forgot or you were too cool to care — not with everything that’s at stake this time. This post is your guide for AFTER you’ve voted, for the time when you want to make sense of all the polling results that will be rolling in on your phones and televisions all day. So you know what to look for, what to expect, and when to celebrate.
It’s going to be easier than ever to get the jump on these results. Unlike previous years, we are going to get real-time exit polling (when people tell pollsters who they just voted for on their way out of the voting booth — not official results, but suggestive). In the past, media outlets would hold on to this info so that they wouldn’t affect voters who were on the West Coast, or voting after work. But in this information age, internet entities are flouting that old media moratorium on exit polling and conducting their own. If you’re interested, keep tabs on Votecastr’s experiment on Slate.
So now, which states to watch. Let’s talk about the country in terms of a “blue wall” (traditionally Democratic states, like California, New York, etc.) and a “red wall” (traditionally Republican states, like Texas, Kansas, and Tennessee) and “tossups.” Every state is a special snowflake, but it’s that last category that gets all the attention today. And so, we’re going to give a quick checkpoint rundown on the key states that will give you a jumpstart on knowing who won.
Florida: If Hillary wins, it’s essentially over. We’ll know at 7 p.m. ET, when polls close. It’s looking good for her here, as the larger number of Hispanic voters is a good thing for her cause. (If Florida goes for Hillary, Trump needs to win both Ohio and Pennsylvania, at the very least. The former looks good, the latter’s looking like a long shot.)
Ohio: The home of Kasich (who hates Trump), the site of the RNC. No Republican has ever won without it. (Good news for Trump is that it’s leaning his way.) No wonder Jay Z, Beyoncé, Big Sean, and J. Cole pulled out the stops with their concert there.
North Carolina & Virginia: If Hillary holds the blue wall and adds these two, it’s all over — even if Trump wins Florida or anything else. The good news for Hillary here: The “bathroom bill” is one of a few factors tipping NC toward the Democrats, and Tim Kaine is from Virginia, helping mobilize votes there.
Other states to watch: Nevada, Arizona, Utah, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ne Hampshire, Georgia.
Other notes: Hillary has sought to re-create the Obama coalition wherein he won blacks (93%), Latinos (71%), and millennials (60%), which represented 13%, 10%, and 19% of the turnout, respectively. As we know, the millennial vote is far bigger this time around — on par with the baby boomer generation — the question is, as it has been all campaign season, can she turn out the vote? If the Obama coalition turns out big, it’s HRC. Meanwhile, Trump is relying on the non-college-educated white male vote in the “rust belt” (industrial center of the USA, where workers are losing their jobs to globalization and automation) in a major way. Will his constant claims of a “rigged system” excite his base to the polls, or will it make them think, What’s the point if it’s rigged anyway? and stay home? This is the other key demographic to watch.
We are going to find out soon enough. Here we go!
@FactsOnly is a recurring column by REVOLT Chief Political Correspondent and host Amrit Singh. For more on the election, hit up #REVOLT2Vote and follow him on Twitter.