So the exit poll crosstabs have been dribbling out on the networks for the last hour and a half (it is 6:45 pm eastern time right now), and there is an art form to decoding these before the polls close. The networks won’t tell you who’s going to win where, but they’ll tell you how certain issues and voting groups are unfolding, such that--wink, wink, nudge, nudge--if you are a political junkie you can decode them to tell what is going to happen.
That said, the early exit polls point to an Obama victory as expected, but with some weirdness and post-election openings for Republicans. It looks to be closer than the last polls thought (don’t count out the Mac just yet!), and on some issues it seems many voters are going with Obama the Image rather than the substance. 43% say the government tries to do too much. That looks to me like a solid base on which to build, and is likely higher than the number of people who would have said that in 1964 had there been exit polls back then. And there are other odd results of the exit polls I’ve seen so far that testify to the cognitive dissonance (and hence volatility) of the American electorate.
Now, I’m going to crack open a bottle of Palin Syrah to watch the real returns roll in.