Sunday, October 31, 2004

By 6:00pm pt

I think Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Robert Novak may have nailed it with his prediction that we will likely know who won the presidency much earlier than conventional wisdom expects--that is, by 6:00pm Pacific Time. Yes, Tuesday.

Novak thinks that the race will be decided by Florida (27 electoral votes) and Ohio (20), and he sees three possibilities:

(1) "The early returns show either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry has clearly won both of these two states. In that case, you can call the double winner 'Mr. President' for the next four years";

(2) "Bush is the clear early winner in either Florida or Ohio. That probably guarantees Bush's re-election. Kerry then would have a steep hill to climb, forced to pick up states where he now seems to be trailing"; or

(3) "There is no early outcome in either of those two states, or Kerry clearly wins one state and the other state's results are unclear. Then, look for a long election night -- or perhaps a long month of November -- before the winner of the presidential race is determined."