Fate of Obama, Romney Now in Hands of Voters

BY Christina Bellantoni and Terence Burlij  November 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM EDT

Voters in New Jersey; photo by Matt Sullivan/Reuters

Voters cast their ballots Tuesday morning at Legend Elementary School in Newark, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Reuters.

The Morning Line

There is early voting, and then there’s early voting.

As is tradition, the small New Hampshire hamlet of Dixville Notch held its vote right at midnight Tuesday, and its residents rendered a split decision, with President Obama and Mitt Romney receiving five votes apiece. It’s the first-ever tie recorded there. Is it a harbinger of a long night? In another possible signal, several of the voters split their tickets between the president and Republicans down the ballot.

In Hart’s Location, the other Granite State town with first-vote status, Mr. Obama received 23 votes, while Romney took nine and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson got one vote.

New Hampshire, with its four Electoral College votes, is just one of the presidential battlegrounds that has been fiercely contested by both campaigns. Here’s a rundown of the states we’ll be watching Tuesday night, in order of poll closing times (All times ET):

  • Virginia (13 electoral votes): Last polls close at 7 p.m.

  • North Carolina (15 electoral votes): Last polls close at 7:30 p.m.

  • Ohio (18 electoral votes): Last polls close at 7:30 p.m.

  • Florida (29 electoral votes): Last polls close at 8 p.m.

  • New Hampshire (4 electoral votes): Last polls close at 8 p.m.

  • Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes): Last polls close at 8 p.m.

  • Colorado (9 electoral votes): Last polls close at 9 p.m.

  • Wisconsin (10 electoral votes): Last polls close at 9 p.m.

  • Iowa (6 electoral votes): Last polls close at 10 p.m.

  • Nevada (6 electoral votes): Last polls close at 10 p.m.

The outcomes in these states will provide answers to the central questions still hanging over this campaign: Does the president’s so-called “Midwestern Firewall” of Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin hold? Could Romney lose Ohio and still get to 270 electoral votes by blazing a late path through Pennsylvania? (And/or one Maine congressional district?) Will Virginia and North Carolina go blue as they did in 2008 or return to their traditional red hue? Is the race decided early or do the returns in Colorado and Nevada grow more important as the evening progresses?

We’ll have the answers to those questions and many others on the NewsHour’s special Election Night coverage, beginning with the show at 6 p.m. ET and continuing with coverage until both the winner and the loser have spoken. And make sure to check out our livestream. The lineup is below.

O-H-I-O

Judy Woodruff traveled to Ohio, the battleground of battlegrounds, in the final campaign weekend to see how it was all coming to a close. While both candidates want it badly, it’s Romney who needs it more. Watch her report here or below:

The NewsHour’s “political brain trust,” as dubbed by Gwen Ifill, discussed uncertainty in the electorate, historical trends and Election Day momentum for both camps. Watch Pew Research Center’s Andrew Kohut, Rothenberg Political Report’s Stu Rothenberg and USA Today’s Susan Page here or below:

You can game out Electoral College scenarios yourself in our Vote 2012 Map Center:

LIVIN’ LARGE IN THE LIVESTREAM

On channel 1, we’ll swap between our best-of political coverage and live on-air and after-hours analysis. In addition to our 6 p.m. ET broadcast and special election edition coverage, catch:

  • Christina and Hari Sreenivasan will kick off the livestream at 9 a.m. ET
  • The rest of the day we’ll show the best-of the NewsHour’s political coverage this year and fill the livestream with interviews. On the docket are historian Michael Beschloss, analyst Stu Rothenberg, political journalists, a look at the money with the Center for Public Integrity’s John Dunbar and a follow-up with former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary.
  • A look at young voters.
  • The Political Checklist with Gwen, Judy and Christina.
  • Video of voters in Prince William County, Va.
  • Dispatches from our teams in Chicago and Boston.
  • Plus, catch streams of our HatCams hitting up Washington parties hosted by the DNC and RNC.
  • And our robust liveblog.

NEWSHOUR ROUNDUP

  • Are you voting today? Send us a photo or anecdote from your polling location for our compilation of Election 2012 Voting Stories.

  • The NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown hosted a discussion about problems voters might face at the polls in light of legal battles on early voting and new voter I.D. laws.

  • We also took a look at ballot initiatives. Watch Judy’s segment here. NewsHour politics desk assistant Geoffrey Lou Guray examined a few of them in detail.

  • Judy has covered nine previous presidential campaigns; this marks the seventh for Gwen. Each wrote about their expectations for Tuesday night through the lens of their past experiences. Gwen looks back on her early days as the “political angel of death,” while Judy remembers the joy — and pain — she saw on the face of a young Jimmy Carter aide while covering his campaign. Don’t miss the priceless photo from the archives.

  • Historian Michael Beschloss recalls “one chilling commercial” in 1976 that never aired but could’ve conceivably changed the results of the presidential race between President Gerald Ford and Carter.

  • The NewsHour’s Jason Kane writes about how health has affected the U.S. presidency historically and what it would mean to have a first lady with multiple scerosis.

  • Where do you fit? Take the Pew Research Center/NewsHour Political Party ID quiz here and share your results with your friends.

  • NewsHour desk assistant John K. Wilson attended the Million Muppet March over the weekend and filed an audio report. Listen here. Marchers kept things upbeat with chants like, “Elmo! We won’t go!”

  • What are the top issues for college students heading to the polls today? The NewsHour traveled to two dozen schools around the country to find out. Watch what they had to say here or below.

TOP TWEETS

BEST OF THE WEB

  • Vice President Biden cast his vote Tuesday morning in Delaware. Asked by a pool reporter if it was the last time he would vote for himself, Biden grinned and said, “No, I don’t think so.”

  • Mr. Obama shed a tear at his final rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday night.

  • Team Obama said Tuesday that supporters have signed up for “more than 208,000 Election Day get-out-the-vote shifts” across “more than 5,000 staging locations in neighborhoods across battleground states.”

  • Mark Trahant of Native American Public Telecommunications takes a closer look at a voting bloc that doesn’t get much attention in the national campaign but stands to influence a big U.S. Senate race in Montana.

  • Salon looks into the installation of a suspicious software in some voting machines in Ohio.

  • Friend of the NewsHour Molly Ball of the Atlantic was in Ohio this weekend and wonders if organized labor could be the key to the election for Obama in the Buckeye State.

  • Nate Silver ran the numbers through his flux capacitor one last time. According to Silver, the odds have only gotten longer for Romney.

  • Huffington Post’s Jon Ward reports that New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie opted against attending a Romney for Pennsylvania rally 20 minutes away.

  • Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill rounds up all the hot parties in Washington, D.C., this election night.

FINAL MOMENTS ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend an election night party in Chicago.

  • Mitt Romney and Ann Romney voted in Belmont, Mass., at 8:35 a.m. The GOP nominee campaigns in Cleveland at 11:40 a.m. and in Pittsburgh at 2:55 p.m. before returning to Boston for an election night party.

  • Vice President Biden and Jill Biden voted in Greenville, Del., at 7 a.m. They will head to Chicago in the afternoon.

  • Paul Ryan casts his vote in Janesville, Wis., at 9:45 a.m. He will also make a stop in Cleveland and visit Richmond, Va., at 2:30 p.m., before heading to Boston.

Katelyn Polantz, Meena Ganesan and Alex Bruns contributed to this report.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:


For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.