Monday, Nov 3, 2008
Some of the earliest returns in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election could provide big clues about the outcome.
Trends in the race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain could become clear soon after the first polls begin to close at 6 p.m. EST in Indiana.
Obama and McCain are locked in a surprisingly tight duel in Indiana, a Midwestern state that has voted Republican in every White House race since 1964. A breakthrough win for Obama, or even a neck-and-neck struggle, would be an encouraging sign of broad strength for the senator from neighboring Illinois.
But if McCain appears to be cruising to a relatively easy win in Indiana it could signal trouble for Obama, who is challenging McCain in about a dozen states won in 2004 by Republican President George W. Bush.
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The first public sign of Democrat John Kerry’s loss in 2004 came from a worse-than-expected 20-point blowout in Indiana.
“If Obama wins Indiana, the election is over,” Democratic consultant Doug Schoen said. “Even if it’s close, within 2 or 3 points, it probably suggests a big Obama win nationally. If it’s more than 4 points for McCain, it’s going to be wait and see for a while.”
The next round of tests is at 7 p.m. EST when voting ends in Georgia, parts of Florida and the battleground state of Virginia — another place where Democrats have not won a presidential vote since 1964 but have made gains in recent statewide races.