POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - That's All She Vote

11/06/2012 05:39 pm ET | Updated Jan 06, 2013

America felt like a giant pediatric office as people waited in line for hours and received stickers in return. On Google, "who is running for president" queries spiked, though the popularity of "what is the president" searches remains unknown. And we uncovered three easy steps to getting your face on Fox News: 1. Loiter outside a polling station. 2. Wear a beret. 3. Be black. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, November 6th, 2012:

We'll be back in a few hours with a special election night (more likely morning) edition of HuffPost Hill. In the meantime, read on and follow the results on HuffPost Politics' election liveblog and watch HuffPost Live.

EXIT POLLS: DON'T TRUST THEM - Like CNN and Supreme Court decisions or the Daily News and vice presidential picks, you probably should not take exit polling too seriously. Mark Blumenthal: "It may be tempting to assume the numbers will tell you who is going to win the presidential election. They probably won't... exit polls are an incredibly valuable resource. Conducted every two years by Edison Research for the National Election Pool partnership of ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and the Associated Press, the exit polls are easily the best measure available of who voted for each candidate and why...But as tools to predict the outcome of close races just before the polls close, they are blunt instruments at best. Here's why: First, an exit poll is just a survey. Like other polls, it is subject to random sampling error... Second, the networks almost never 'call' truly competitive races on exit poll results alone. The decision desk analysts require very high statistical confidence (at least 99.5 percent) before they will consider calling a winner...Third, the initial results of the exit poll interviews have had frequent problems with non-response bias, a consistent discrepancy favoring the Democrats that has appeared to some degree in every presidential election since 1988." [HuffPost]

That said, here's what the exit polls are saying so far: "Preliminary results of an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press show that the presidential election hinges once again on the economy. The survey of voters as they leave polling places Tuesday shows 6 in 10 voters say the economy is the top issue facing the nation, with unemployment and rising prices hitting voters hard. About 4 in 10 say they think the nation's economy is on the mend, but more say that things are getting worse or are bad and stagnating. About half of voters say the previous president, George W. Bush, shoulders more of the blame for economic challenges than President Barack Obama. Just a quarter of those surveyed in the exit poll say they are better off than four years ago." [AP]

If the exit polls that are now circulating turn out to reflect the final vote, Obama will have at least 275 electoral college votes, enough to eek out a win, even if he loses the three listed as a tossup -- Virginia, Colorado and Iowa.

WHY YOU MIGHT BE UP ALL NIGHT - Obama won Ohio in 2008 by just over 200,000 votes. That includes all the provisional ballots, which lean heavily Democratic. So Obama has to win by a fairly wide margin to keep the provisionals from coming into play, and to counteract the systemic voter suppression the GOP has now built into its electoral strategy. If provisionals need to be counted, it drags into the morning and maybe beyond.

While you're up all night, here's a national map, you can play around with, courtesy of Andrei Scheinkman and his interactive team. It's really the only thing you need.

POLL CLOSING TIMES (ALL TIMES ELITIST EASTERN) - 7:00 pm: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia; 7:30 pm: North Carolina, West Virginia; 8:00 pm: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee 8:30 pm: Arkansas; 9:00 pm: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming; 10:00 pm: Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah; 11:00 pm: California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington; 1:00 am: Alaska; Five weeks from now: Ohio (Kidding, it's actually 7:30 pm...maybe).

Maker Of 47% Video Finds Things Calm In South Florida - The guy who filmed Romney talking shit about nearly half the country offered to ride around South Florida and film the chaos at Florida polling places for us. He found nothing exciting. "Unbelievably scary slow," he texted. "Been all over today haven't seen a line anywhere. Very worried. Heading home now to watch. I'm not a very good reporter." Actually, 47%-filmmaker, you're the best political reporter of the cycle, bar none. Everybody has an off day. (We can confirm he's the actual filmmaker because we were in touch with him before he released the full video.)

John Boehner, who only owns golf clothes (higher synthetic content means less cigarette absorption!) and suits, votes in painfully awful sweater.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: NOT ENTIRELY DISENFRANCHISED - HuffPost DC: "Here are the top candidates and races to watch as District of Columbia returns come in tonight." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Mitt Romney can count on the personal irresponsibility vote. Frank Bass: "Seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. They include Republican strongholds like King County, Texas, which in 2008 backed Republican John McCain by 92.6 percent, his largest share in the nation; and fast-growing Douglas County, Colorado. That means Romney is counting on votes from areas where lower-income people have become more reliant on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps." He'll never convince those people to take personal responsibility and care for their lives, but right now, as you read this, they are voting for him. [Bloomberg]

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FINAL POLLS: ACORN - Last-minute surveys of the national and swing state electorate give President Obama a narrow lead. Factor in the beret-wearing, shiv-wielding New Black Panther Party members casting menacing glances at elderly ladies and mustached union thugs asking people if they're sure they wanna vote for Romney, the president has this thing in the bag. Mark Blumenthal: "The HuffPost Pollster tracking model... finds that if polls fall within the historical ranges of polling accuracy, Obama stands a 91 percent chance of victory... In Ohio, which continues to be the most important tipping point state in the race to win 270 electoral votes, 13 of the final 14 surveys show Obama nominally ahead, with one showing a tie... the polls also give Obama narrower but statistically meaningful advantages of roughly 2.5 points in Iowa and nearly 2 points in New Hampshire, Virginia and Colorado. If Obama wins in all of the states where he is leading, his electoral vote total would rise to 303 electoral votes." [HuffPost]

Magnificent side effect of yesterday's Jay-Z concert for Obama: Video of Sherrod Brown bouncin' to Hova

@GlennThrush Romney camp now saying internals attributed to their pollster showing Mitt up in Ohio, tied in WI, PA "are incorrect."

ROMNEY FINISHES CAMPAIGN IN MOST APPROPRIATE WAY POSSIBLE: EATING FAST FOOD AND SAYING AWKWARD THINGS - Actually, it'd be more appropriate if he rode into a steel manufacturing plant on Rafalca, fired everyone, laughed awkwardly, expressed how much he enjoyed firing all those people, bet someone $10,000 and then sang "America the Beautiful." WaPo: "After stopping at a campaign office in Richmond Heights, Ohio, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan stopped for some Wendy's. 'What a great day this is. As fun as any. Yesterday, though, was a great day,' Romney told employees. He noted that the burger chain started in the Buckeye State: 'We figured because Wendy's was invented in Ohio, what better place to get lunch than Wendy's, right?' One of the workers offered to pay for the Republican ticket's lunch; Romney politely declined. His last campaign trail lunch: a quarter-pound burger, chili and a Frosty." [WaPo]

Meanwhile, President Obama visited his campaign's Hyde Park field office and played basketball with, among others, Scottie Pippen. Mitt Romney was unable to squeeze in a quick game of croquet with... um... er... who's the Scottie Pippen of croquet? Chicago Tribune: "At around 1 p.m., Obama's motorcade arrived at the Hope Athletic Center on Chicago's West Side, where the president played basketball with staff and friends. Former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias tweeted that he was playing on a team with Obama and former Bulls Pippen and Randy Brown. Their team reportedly won by 20 points." [Chicago Tribune]

Frosty. Frozen. Good.

BIDEN MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO OHIO - Though, sadly, Uncle Joe didn't arrive in a Camaro that came to a screeching halt in front of a Columbus-area Hooters -- nor did he emerge from said non-existent Camaro in a Members Only jacket. It's like... what's the point? CNN: "The vice president descended the plane's steps at 11:49 a.m. ET, with the Romney campaign plane a couple hundred yards away. The plane for Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, was also landing as Biden's motorcade began rolling on the tarmac. Around 12:15 p.m. ET, Biden arrived at Landmark Restaurant for a campaign stop, where he greeted and took photos with supporters. One woman asked if he had plans to run for president in 2016. 'Oh, I'm going to go back home and run for county council,' he said, drawing laughs." [CNN]

Biden got a jumpstart on 2016 speculation earlier in the day when he was asked a if this was the last time he'd vote for himself in the First State. "No, I don't think so," the vice president said with a grin, according to the pool report. So come January 2017 will we be seeing Delaware Auditor of Accounts Biden? Time will tell. [HuffPost]

The election by the numbers: "Number of female bikers spoon-hugged by Vice President Joe Biden: One"... and more from Dave Jamieson.

THE NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY: STILL FOX NEWS' FAVORITE FEVER DREAM - It should be said, for the sake of our impressionable youth, that an ACTUAL black panther party would be extremely dangerous. Hunter Stuart and Josh Hersh: "Fox News reported Tuesday morning that a member of the New Black Panther Party was standing outside a polling place in Philadelphia, dressed in the group's quintessential uniform of black clothing and black beret. 'Fox and Friends' aired the footage multiple times, raising concerns that the man's presence on Election Day constituted voter intimidation...Ben Brink, a former Navy SEAL who is the leader of a group of conservative special operations veterans traveling to swing states in search of signs of liberal voter intimidation, told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that so far their sightings had been limited to 'one dejected, unarmed' man." [HuffPost]

BUDGET CUTS: DOWNGRADING VOTING FROM 'BURDENSOME' TO 'NIGHTMARISH' - Budget cuts: they aren't just that thing forcing you to contribute to your school district's "The Marching Band Needs Tubas" fundraising drive, they're also hindering the electoral process. Governing Magazine: "As states and localities struggle with decreased revenue, elections offices haven't been spared from budget cuts. Across the country, state and local election officials say they're anxious about an almost inevitable increase in problems at the polls during the presidential election scheduled for Nov. 6, 2012. More than 40 percent of respondents to a National Association of Elections Officials (aka the Election Center) survey said their budgets are down at least 10 percent from their peak. With state and local governments making system-wide cuts, elections departments aren't unique in that regard...Voters can also expect to see fewer polling places and shorter early-voting periods than what they're used to says Doug Chapin, who leads the election administration program at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs." [Governing]

It's like a hologram... but solid!: "CNN tells POLITICO that it has taken control of the lights on the Empire State Building, where it will measure electoral votes in real time for all of New York City -- and the nation -- to see. The tip of the building will feature a red bar for Mitt Romney and a blue bar for President Obama. As the votes go up, so go the lights." [Politico]

@ryanbeckwith: Seriously. Google Trends for "who is running for president" spiking right now.bit.ly/YQVqCw

CHRIS CHRISTIE HATES THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN - The New Jersey governor once held his party's nominee for president in high esteem (more or less). Now Chris Christie more or less lumps Mitt Romney in the same category as "drunk opinionated Eagles fan in a Seacaucus bar" and "idiots." Sasha Belenky: "On Monday night, The Huffington Post's Jon Ward reported that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie turned down a request by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to appear with him at a rally on Sunday night. Christie responded to the report during a press conference on Tuesday, saying that Romney had called him last Sunday to get an update on the situation as Hurricane Sandy headed toward New Jersey. '...So all this other noise, I think, is coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who, you know, don't like the fact that I said nice things about the President of the United States. Well, that's too bad for them,' Christie said." [HuffPost]

IT MIGHT BE ILLEGAL TO INSTAGRAM YOUR BALLOT - All across the country, civically-minded tech nerds and hipsters are taking photos of their ballots as if they were a braised pork dish at their neighborhood's hottest new restaurant. These people are going to jail. ProPublica: " But before you snap a shot of your vote, you might want to check your state laws. As the Citizen Media Law Project points out as part of their guide to documenting the 2012 election, showing your marked ballot to other people is actually illegal in many states. Laws against displaying your ballot are motivated by concerns about vote buying, since voters being bribed might need to be prove they voted a certain way. While laws vary from state to state, the penalties for showing your ballot can be stiff...The penalty, according to Colorado law: a fine of not more than $1000, imprisonment in county jail for not more than one year -- or both." [ProPublica]

@kzaleski: AP says Sean Hannity commited a misdemeanor in New York. He tweeted his ballot. bigstory.ap.org/article/tweet-.... #knowyourvote

During his radio and TV blitz today, the president weighed in on "Gangnam Style," the South Korean crossover pop hit. "I just saw that video for the first time," he told WZID in New Hampshire. "I think I can do that move. But I'm not sure that the inauguration ball is the appropriate time to break that out." No "Call Me Maybe" jokes were made, thank God. [AP]

GARY JOHNSON HITS CRUCIAL BATTLEGROUND: WASHINGTON, D.C. - HuffPost DC: "Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson spent Tuesday morning outside Precinct 15 near Dupont Circle, 'which boasts an electoral history as one of D.C.'s higher-performing Libertarian polling places.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Kitten evicts cat from its home.

THAT TIME JOHN MCCAIN SHOWED AMERICA HIS TONGUE - We all knew that the Arizona senator is grumpy in a get-of-my-yard-you-measly-kids kind of way, but we had NO IDEA he could be grumpy in a deranged, Anthony-Hopkins-at-the-end-of-"Legends-of-the-Fall" kind of way. Elise Foley: "Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) does not like hecklers. In fact, he told them to 'shut up' Monday while campaigning for Republican Senate candidate Jeff Flake, then stuck out his tongue at them. 'Ah, there they are,' he said as someone in the audience yelled, inaudibly on video." [HuffPost]

Champion: "Ty Houston, 48, a home care registered nurse, was toiling on his absentee ballot Monday afternoon when things got strange at township offices on 13 Mile...'He was dead,' Houston said. 'He had no heartbeat and he wasn't breathing. I started CPR, and after a few minutes, he revived and started breathing again. He knew his name and his wife's name.' What happened next astounded Houston and the victim's wife. 'The first question he asked was 'Did I vote?'" [Detroit News]

COMFORT FOOD

- A compilation of presidential fails. Happy Election Day, everyone. [http://bit.ly/SVj2Tf]

- Foursquare has an interactive map that shows everyone who checked in at their polling place. [ivotedmap.com]

- Obama and Romney battle, Street Fighter-style. [http://bit.ly/SQ8o2M]

- A very paranoid spoof of the "Schoolhouse Rock!" civic songs. [http://chzb.gr/PziCDO]

- How do videos go viral? Click slaves. [http://bit.ly/SWxhHq]

- College students send a hamburger into space. [http://bit.ly/PUelMP]

- This might come as a shock but Albert Einstein is alive and he's driving a cab in New York City. [http://bit.ly/SxkaMg]

TWITTERAMA

@elisefoley: Would be funny (not really) if the candidates went to vote and had to wait for hours.

@KenJennings: Romney could still win this if too many Dems accidentally write-in "Nate Silver" with little hearts around it.

@indecision: http://www.motherjones.com/

@dceiver: Thousands of voters report difficulty today writing in "revenge" and "love of country."

@delrayser: If you're asked for ID at the polls today, start flipping through your wallet muttering "No, already used that one..."

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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