The polls are opening across the US, and CBS News is reporting that Barack Obama has already cast his vote in the presence of his family. John McCain is expected to cast his vote in about an hour from now.
We’re not going to see any results coming in until at least late this morning Canberra time, and we probably won’t see anything substantial until mid-afternoon, especially as polls in the western states won’t close until then. Regardless of the outcome, there is going to be a lot of history made today. We’re either going to have the first black president, or the oldest person to start their first term as president, plus the first female vice-president.
As for who will win, well I’m sticking by my prediction of a narrow McCain/Palin victory, and I think the thing which will push them over the line is the tape which got a very strong run in the US media yesterday  where Barack Obama was talking about his carbon trading plans, and said that anybody can build a new coal power station, but the carbon trading scheme will send them bankrupt…he also talked about how the price of electricity will “necessarily skyrocket” under his scheme. I’ve linked to an op-ed piece rather than a news article here simply because the op-ed piece has the audio of the quotes whereas the news articles seem to mostly be focussing on one quote, or the other, or the reaction of Sarah Plain who has been visiting some of the “coal states” to hammer the tape home.
Barack Obama is still leading almost every poll out there by about seven points, and he is obviously a very good chance of winning, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a bit of a sympathy vote in his favour due to his grandmother passing away in the last couple of days. I think that the vast majority of people voting will be doing so on issues of substance rather than a sympathy vote, but a 1% sympathy vote wouldn’t surprise me.
That said, as I’ve said before, I think this is going to be a lot closer than the polls indicate, and I note that the US mainstream media are speculating about the possibility  of Obama/Biden winning the popular vote (eg, receiving more votes than McCain/Palin) but still losing the election based on the electoral college distribution system . If it were to happen, it would be a repeat of the 2000 election where Democratic candidate Al Gore received 537,179 more votes than Republican candidate George W. Bush but lost the election due to the electoral college distribution by 271 votes to 266 votes. Prior to 2000, the winner of the popular vote lost the election in 1876 and 1888.
A few things of interest which I’ve noticed or had my attention drawn to in the last few days:
A Fox News pre-election poll  shows Obama leading by seven points, but only by one point amongst the poll respondents who claim to have already voted:
With just one day to go before Election Day, Barack Obama has a 7 percentage point lead over John McCain — 50-43 percent, according to the final FOX News pre-election poll of likely voters.
At the end of October, Obama led by 47-44 percent among likely voters, and by 49-40 percent about ten days ago (Oct 20-21). The last time McCain led was immediately following the Republican Convention when he had a 45-42 percent edge (September 8-9 among registered voters).
Looking at the preferences among key groups, the most important has to be independents and Obama has a slim 43 percent-38 percent advantage. Obama has had a single-digit edge among independents for the last month.
Party loyalty is fairly balanced. Obama receives the backing of 89 percent of Democrats and McCain has 88 percent of Republicans.
Obama’s lead among those who say they have already voted has almost disappeared. He has a 1-point edge — just 48-47 percent — in this latest poll, down from a 52-43 percent lead previously (Oct 28-29).
Election analyst Paul N. Marston, who has apparently been correct about the outcome of every election that he has had a prediction on in the last 45 years, is predicting a massive 52 electoral college votes victory by McCain/Palin .
A possible omen bet for the day. Outgoing first lady Laura Bush  is having a birthday today. She turns 62. Will her birthday wish be for a McCain/Palin victory, and will she remember to not tell anyone about her wish?
Centrebet , a few days ago when I placed $20 on John McCain, were offering odds of $1.05 for Barack Obama, and $9.00 for John McCain. 24 hours ago, not long before they closed the market and removed the odds from their website, were offering $1.08 for Barack Obama and about $7.50 for John McCain. It’s still a large lead for Barack Obama, but it shows that a significant number of people have been willing to part with their hard-earned money in support of John McCain in the last few days.
KXNT Las Vegas ‘ webpoll currently has McCain/Palin on 90% (no change from two days ago) and Obama/Biden on 5% (one point up from two days ago).
2GB’s poll  has McCain/Palin on 62% and Obama/Biden on 38% (a four point gain to McCain/Palin in the last two days).
As per tradition, the tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire was the first to open its doors to voters. The results, Obama/Biden won 15 votes to 6 .
I intend on updating this blog during the day as results come in. I had plenty of sleep yesterday in expectation of not getting much (if any) sleep today. It’s an exciting day…and just think, there an election in New Zealand on the weekend to keep my excitement levels up there. I’ve barely checked in on that one, but at the moment, Centrebet believe that incumbent Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark ($3.50) will lose to the National Party’s John Key ($1.30).