After months of campaigning, one million ads and $1 billion in campaign spending, the race for the White House comes to a close tomorrow (unless of course, it doesn't). The final month was marked by two October surprises--one courtesy of Mother Nature (Hurricane Sandy), the other self-inflicted (the Oct. 3 Denver Debate)--that turned a contentious, albeit steady race coming out of the conventions, into a tumultuous horse race. As the candidates frantically sprint toward the finish, the race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney is finally just a few hours away from being over.
As the race concludes, here are the final polls, projections and voting information you need to know:
- Four years, 10 months and two days after winning the Iowa Caucuses, Obama returns to the state that started it all. The President holds the last campaign event of his political career in Des Moines, Iowa this evening.
- One year, five months and three days since he formally announced his campaign, Romney will hold his last "Victory Rally" in New Hampshire accompanied by musician Kid Rock.
While the race for the Electoral College only hinges on a handful of key battleground states, national polling indicates that the popular vote will be the closest its been since the 2000 election. What does that mean? If for no other reason than to ensure there is a clear winner, every vote counts. But with a Hurricane, new voting laws and long lines, that might be easier said than done.
In New Jersey, voters displaced by the storm may now cast their ballots by email and fax. A directive from New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno allows votes to be counted as absentee ballots until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Saying “There’s no reason why anybody shouldn’t vote," Governor Chris Christie ordered polling stations open on Saturday and Sunday and will allow residents to cast provisional ballots from any polling station.
More than 60 polling stations have been relocated and there's a possibility that Election Day could be extended past Nov. 6 in New York. If fewer than 25 percent of voters make it out to the polls, county election officials could ask the New York state Board of Elections to hold an extra day of voting.
Today, the last day before the election, the average of national polls shows the popular vote is incredibly close. A final Pew Research poll shows Obama with an edge over Romney, 50 percent to 47 percent. A CNN/ORC poll released yesterday shows the race dead even, with both candidates at 49 percent.
Romney vs. Obama Nationally (via RealClearPolitics.com)
Methodology: Average of 12 polls from 10/22 – 11/4
- 47.9% - Obama (D)
- 47.4% - Romney (R)
Advantage: Barely Obama
While the popular vote may be close, it doesn't really matter in determining the election's outcome. The race to the White House goes through the Electoral College, and in that race it appears Obama has a more pronounced advantage going into the last day of the race.
Nov. 6 Forecast (via FiveThirtyEight.com/NYTimes.com)
Methodology: Statistican Nate Silver's forecast model runs simulations of the Electoral College to project the probable outcome of a particular candidate reaching, out of the 538 votes available, the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Silver's model, which was very accurate in 2008, factors in national and state-level polling in addition to economic outlook and demographics.
Projected Electoral College Votes (270 to win):
- 307.2 – Obama (D)
- 230.8 – Romney (R)
Projected Chances of Winning:
- 86.3% - Obama (D)
- 13.7% - Romney (R)
Projected Popular Vote:
- 50.6% - Obama (D)
- 48.5% - Romney (R)
- The Washington Post also published a list of predictions.
- Karl Rove's Projected Outcome
Electoral Calculator: Make Your Own Map!
Who do you think is going to win tomorrow? Tell us in the comments.