November 8, 2016

Races to Watch

What to look for as election night unfolds.

All times E.S.T.

7 p.m.

If Trump wins Virginia he's going to win the White House unless later on in the evening he manages to lose Florida.  However, should Trump win Virginia Florida seems far more likely to land in his column than Clinton's.  If Trump even keeps Virginia close, then it bodes well for more likely swing states like Colorado or Michigan, Pennsylvania or  Wisconsin, as there would be evidence of a rising tide that may carry across all states.

If Clinton keeps Georgia closer than predicted, then it bodes very badly for Trump's prospects in true swing state must wins for him, particularly geographically proximate Florida.

7:30 p.m.

North Carolina is critical for Trump, if he loses this close state it could be game over unless he pulls out a rabbit from his hat in Michigan or Pennsylvania.  However, I suspect this race not to be called until much later as it is likely going to be a close race.

8 p.m.

Florida - see North Carolina at 7:30.  Trump will not win if he doesn't land Florida.  Again, I expect a very late call on Florida, possibly after midnight, especially if Trump is overperforming in other states.

New Hampshire - if Trump wins tiny new Hampshire and their 4 electoral college votes it helps him enormously mathematically since the race could be very tight.  Additionally, it bodes well for Trump more generally, in terms of a rising tide of support across swing states.

Pennsylvania - if Trump wins here, the race is over.  He'll win other subsequent swing states most likely.

Maine Congressional District 2 - if Trump wins the 1 vote from this rural district it helps just as New Hampshire does.  It could be the 1 EC vote that moves him from 269 to the needed 270, and it could portend good things in states with a healthy rural mix of voters such as Colorado later in the night. 

9 p.m.

Colorado - some late polling puts this state in Trump's grasp after last week it looked out of reach and a blown opportunity.  If Trump does win here as I think he might, he holds Florida and N.C. and takes N.H., all ahead of this state, it's over. Nevada won't matter.  

10 p.m.

If we get this far without upsets it will be critical to see if trump's election day voters can surmount the early voting lead Hillary Clinton has likely logged ahead of election day.  If It's a tight race, this state could end up the decider.

How it games out as these poll closings pass still has a lot of variability.  Other states that could surprise (and turn out to be important) are of course Michigan and Wisconsin and possibly even Minnesota.  States that likely are set but still considered as swing states are Iowa and Ohio, which Trump will very likely carry handily.
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