An Early Night

Like I was saying, make sure you’ve got a line on a glass of champagne early (Steinberg, Jacques, “Networks May Call Race Before Voting Is Complete,” The New York Times, 4 November 2008, p. A24):

A senior vice president of CBS News, Paul Friedman, said the prospects for Barack Obama or John McCain meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes could be clear as soon as 8 p.m. — before polls in even New York and Rhode Island close, let alone those in Texas and California. At such a moment, determined from a combination of polling data and samples of actual votes, the network could share its preliminary projection with viewers, Mr. Friedman said.

“We could know Virginia at 7,” he said. “We could know Indiana before 8. We could know Florida at 8. We could know Pennsylvania at 8. We could know the whole story of the election with those results. We can’t be in this position of hiding our heads in the sand when the story is obvious.”

Similarly, the editor of the Web site Slate, David Plotz, said in an e-mail message that “if Obama is winning heavily,” he could see calling the race “sometime between 8 and 9.”

“Our readers are not stupid, and we shouldn’t engage in a weird Kabuki drama that pretends McCain could win California and thus the presidency,” Mr. Plotz wrote.

There’s no need to mention Barack Obama or John McCain meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes by as soon as 8:00 PM. Either Senator Obama is going to be declared the President Elect early, or it’s going to drag on all night.

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