Live thread: Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and Susan Collins’s Senate race (Updates… sort of)

UPDATE: Well, not much of an update, really. At least not for these races. All of them are close and rumors abound. Numbers in Philadelphia for the Democrats look lower than anticipated, but it’s simply too early to say. Same thing for North Carolina and Ohio. We’re keeping an eye on it.

Here’s another one. One congressional race shows that GOP candidates are not being damaged down-ballot as much as Democrats might hope.

10:15: Trump is pulling ahead in Ohio, though not in the clear yet. CNN has now put North Carolina at a virtual tie. Pennsylvania remains the big sticking point with a lot of counting to do. As I predicted in the original post below, we may not know the final result in any of these states before midnight eastern time and I’m not going to last this long. Maine looks like it’s trending blue, but we’ll obviously do updates in the morning.

Original post continues below:

The finish line is in sight. Well… unless we’re still counting or recounting votes a week or two from now. In this thread I’ll take a look at the best and worst predictions for the four races mentioned in the title and update them if we have any sort of results at a decent hour for old men to be awake. I’ll even include my (probably heavily overoptimistic) map of how I see the presidential race finishing up. We’ll also have widgets at the top of the main page where you can get live updates on all of the key races.

Let’s kick things off with Pennsylvania, where most of Donald Trump’s hopes lie tonight. If he doesn’t pull out a win in the Keystone state, his path to victory becomes incredibly narrow. The last poll from NBC/Marist came out yesterday and they had Biden up by five. But on the same day, both Susquehanna and Trafalgar had Trump in the leady by one and two points respectively. In other words, it’s a crapshoot. Two factors I’m looking at is that Trump has spent a ton of time in Pennsylvania and he also sent the First Lady there to campaign for him on her own multiple times. He’s put in the work. Secondly, Pennsylvania is notoriously hard to poll, as we learned in 2016, particularly out in the wilds of Pennsyltucky where the majority of Trump’s support will come from. Call it a hunch, but I don’t think it’s as close as the polls are saying and Trump will carry PA again, partly on the back of Joe Biden’s promise to wipe out fossil fuels in a state that was saved from financial ruin by fracking.

Ohio isn’t looking much clearer in the magic eightball tonight. The final two major polls out of the Buckeye State were from Quinnipiac and Rasmussen. The Q poll has Biden up by four and Rasmussen has Trump up by four. Take your pick. Rasmussen is always far kinder to Trump than most other polling outlets, so he could be in some trouble here. But the Democrats always overestimate their chances in Ohio and it winds up being a Lucy and the football scenario. I’m going to wager that happens again and Trump pulls it off.

North Carolina is yet another nail-biter. Yesterday we heard from Reuters/IPSOS and CNBC. They both have Biden in the lead, but only by one and two points respectively, well inside the margin of error. Trump is far from a sure bet with the Tar Heels and I think he could be in trouble here. But it’s going to be close. I mean ugly close. It’s not beyond Trump’s reach and if he can manage to pull this off and I’m right about Ohio and Pennsylvania, the race is almost over and Joe Biden’s path to the Oval Office is as slender as a needle. If Trump carries Florida (which two of three polls yesterday still show him holding onto by a couple of points) then Biden is an also-ran. But all of these are so darned close that they could all slip away at the last moment just as easily.

Finally, there’s Susan Collins’ Senate race in Maine. Collins hasn’t held a lead there over Democrat Sara Gideon in many months. Two of the final three polls we’ve gotten out of Maine have shown Gideon leading outside the margins. And historically, the pollsters have done pretty well with races in Maine. Collins has pulled off some miracles in the past when people were counting her out, but it really does feel like her lucky streak may be coming to an end and the last of the famous Republican “Maine Sisters” may be heading back to the private sector. That means we have one more Senate seat that the GOP will need to pick up or hold in order to keep Cocaine Mitch in control. And if Donald Trump doesn’t manage to win, that’s going to be even more crucial than holding the White House. Wouldn’t it be ironic, though, if Collins’ last big vote in the upper chamber was a fruitless bid to stop Amy Coney Barrett from being confirmed to appease her voters and they gave her the boot anyway? Not exactly a shining moment to build your legacy on.

As promised earlier, here’s my projection map for the presidential race. Am I just a silly dreamer or do you smell something in the air tonight as well? I still think Donald Trump can pull this off, though the margin won’t be as large as last time in the electoral college. (Click for full-sized image)

Cross your fingers and toes, folks. I’m confident I won’t be able to stay awake long enough to cover all the final results if we even know them tonight. But until I fade, updates will be provided as applicable.

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