: I was going to write a final post for the night congratulating the victors. But considering all the hemming and hawing on the networks, it’s still a bit too soon to do that. I’ll bet I’ll be posting it in the morning. But right now, I’m going to call it a night (or part thereof).
Too close for comfort
: At almost 2a, CNN just declared Ohio too close to call. Yes, you read that right. Too close to call.
: CNN also says they hear that the Kerry campaign is ready to ship lawyers to both Ohio and Iowa for challenges.
: Pat Buchanan on MSBNC says if he were Kerry, he would not concede tonight.
Please don’t drag it out
: Ohio’s secretary of state was saying they won’t count the provisional ballots for 11 days. Let’s hope that he and Kerry don’t drag this out. We need to move on and quickly.
What won it
: The NBC exit poll includes some fascinating and surprising data. Among the issues that mattered most to voters, the top issue was not terrorism or Iraq.
The top issue (21%) was “moral values”; 78% of those who cared about that went for Bush, 19% for Kerry. That’s a huge difference. Read this one as you will (MSNBC commentators see it as code for Vietnam and the Swifties).
Next: economy/jobs at 20%; 81% preferring Kerry, 17% Bush. So Kerry got much better marks on the economy.
Terror comes in third at 18%; 85% preferring Bush, 15% Kerry. That’s the one that amazes me — not in the Kerry/Bush split but in the importance voters gave it. Bush ran on terrorism; it wasn’t No. 1 in the minds of voters; yet he still won.
Iraq comes in next at 15%; 75% preferring Kerry, 24% Bush. No surprise.
Health next at 8%; 79% preferring Kerry, 21% Bush.
Taxes next at only 5%; evenly split at 52% preferring Bush, 47% preferring Kerry.
Finally, education at 4%; 76% preferring Kerry, 23% preferring Bush. So much for the education president as a defining issue.
53% say we’re safer from terrorism now; 43% said not. That appears to be why terrorism came in No. 3 above; it’s hardly a nonissue, but it’s an issue declining in the priority list.
Iraq is similarly split: 53% say it’s going very/somewhat badly and 42% very/somewhat well. Not a landslide.
52% say Iraq is part of the war on terrorism; 45% say not.
One voter gone[Your headline here]
As if in tribute, [Your lede here] Texas executes a man tonight.
: See the comments.