• Here's a cute observation from the social media area: Each time polls close in a set of states, the phrase "Stay in Line" spikes on Twitter.


    Read More »from Twitter users beg their followers: “Stay in line!”
  • As liftoff approaches Tuesday evening, the Signal will be focusing (like everyone else) on a small handful of states whose outcomes are not certain or nearly certain well before polls close. Here's a viewer's guide:

    The no-drama states

    There are 37 states, plus Washington, D.C., who we consider certain for one candidate or another. President Barack Obama controls 14 states and D.C., totaling 186 electoral votes. Gov. Mitt Romney controls 23 states, totaling 190 electoral votes. Virtually every news organization agrees on this list, with only minor variations. The only way Obama or Romney picks off one of these states is if the polls are wildly, wildly wrong and the entire country has shifted dramatically to one side.

    The only-a-little-drama states

    Seven more states are leaning hard toward one of the candidates (poll closing times in parentheses): Pennsylvania (8 PM ET), Michigan (8 PM and 9 PM ET), Minnesota (9 PM ET), New Mexico (9 PM ET), Wisconsin (9 PM ET), and Nevada (10 PM ET) are leaning heavily toward Obama, for a total of 67 electoral votes. North Carolina (7:30 PM ET), with 15 electoral votes, is leaning heavily toward Romney.

    If there are no surprises there, that gets us to 253 electoral votes for Obama and 205 for Romney. Therein lies the central challenge that the Romney campaign has faced since the beginning.

    The lots-of-drama states

    Six states remain that will probably not be called for hours after the polls close. They are: Virginia (7 PM ET), Ohio (7:30 PM ET), New Hampshire (8 PM ET), Colorado (9 PM ET), and Iowa (10 PM ET) and Florida (7 or 8 PM, depending on county.)

    So … who's going to win?

    Currently, we predict the following scenarios, each with a certainly likelihood of panning out:


    Read More »from The Signal guide to watching election results
  • Obama still poised to win 303 electoral votes on Tuesday

    As the last full day of the 2012 presidential campaign gets under way, the Signal's prediction remains the same as it was nearly nine months ago: President Barack Obama will win reelection with 303 electoral votes, winning Ohio and Virginia but losing Florida to Gov. Mitt Romney.

    There is only about a 15 percent chance that we'll actually be correct, based on our prediction model, given the many combinations of close states that could go either way. Obama has a 24.8 percent likelihood of winning Florida, while Romney has a 40.8 percent chance of snagging Virginia and a 19.9 percent chance of securing Ohio. Romney needs to sweep all three states to secure the election.

    This may make it seem like all hope is lost for Romney — the odds of him defending Florida and taking Ohio and Virginia are about 6 percent if you simply multiply the probabilities. While the Signal is predicting an Obama victory, we're not calling it with 94 percent certainty. That is because state elections are not entirely independent events. The polls could be systematically biased toward Obama based on faulty assumptions about voter turnout, or the final polls could fail to capture a late surge in support for the Republican candidate.

    Here's a rundown of where those three states stand:

    Read More »from Obama still poised to win 303 electoral votes on Tuesday

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About The Signal

The Signal is the Yahoo! News predictions blog featuring real-time forecasts and sentiment on politics, economics, and more. MEET THE TEAM: David Pennock, David Rothschild

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