Here's a little mandatory reading for every resident of the state of Ohio before the next election. No pressure, but……the fate of the country and the free world for the next four years is in your hands.
No pressure. Take your time.
Here is a map representing current exit polling and the 2000 election results combined to yield a very accurate predictor for 2004, provided by the fantastic David Liep at The US Election Atlas. The only deviation from year 2000 results in this model is that New Hampshire goes to Kerry, which is a reasonable guess.
Now, this model gives 264 for John Kerry and 274 for Bush. All is lost, you say. Well, not quite. According to the polling (over 1000 different polls were used for each state), Ohio is a complete toss-up. No one really has any firm idea of which way it will go. The Kerry campaign needs to divert 90% of the resources they have on hand to making sure Kerry wins that state. How important is it?
If Kerry wins Ohio, its 20 electoral votes will mean that of the three states in which his winning margin is smallest in this model (Iowa, Oregon, and New Mexico), he can lose two and still win the election. And Florida will be completely irrelevant. Kerry is currently leading in Oregon (7) and Iowa (7), but even if he were to lose both, a win in Ohio would give him 270 electoral votes to Bush's 268.
So, in summary, if you live in Ohio or know anyone who does, take it upon yourself to beg, cajole, bribe, threaten, and beat them into voting for Kerry.
And just for electoral kicks, the states in which Bush's margin is smallest at the moment are West Virginia (5) and Nevada (5). If Bush wins one but loses the other while keeping all other states in this model constant, both candidates will have exactly 269 electoral votes, Congress will vote for Bush, and we will have a fucking national crisis on our hands.
The Electoral College: as fraught with dangers as it is archaic and stupid. I mean FOR CHRIST'S SAKE you'd think someone would have been smart enough to draw it up with an odd numbered total so there couldn't be a tie. The election of the leader of the free world should not be able to end like a soccer game.