Live Blog Preview: Obama vs. Romney; Final Swing State Polls

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama at the first presidential debate.

STF/AFP/GettyImages

Tonight we’ll be live blogging presidential results,  U.S. Senate races, hotly contested House seats in California, propositions, select State Assembly results, and local  contests around the Bay Area. A look at the presidential picture, below. Also see 9 Key Senate Races.

The other day one of our reporters who drew the assignment of gathering local reaction to the presidential election asked the practical question, “Should I go out on the streets or go into the bars?”

The answer, of course: depends who wins. If it’s Obama, I say our reporter should head for the celebrations in the street. If it’s Romney, hit the drinking establishments and home in on the sad sacks throwing down double bourbons like a bereft Humphrey Bogart trying his best to forget Ingrid Bergman. And don’t forget to keep your ears open for mumbling about “moving to Canada” and “goddamn Ohio.”

Meaning, of course, it’s no secret who a sizable majority of the people within the sound of KQED’s radio signal will be rooting for. The Bay Area is sort of the home field for the Democratic team, which you can confirm either by looking out your window at the political signs, checking your Facebook friends’ status updates, or browsing the 2008 election results by California county; Obama’s majority ranged from 63.5 percent in Solano to 84 percent in San Francisco. Because the left-of-left constituency here may grumble about the Democratic squad during the season, but when it comes to the World Series, everyone’s wearing the correct hat. That’s not to say there are no supporters of the Romney/Ryan ticket in these parts; they may just be lying a little lower, obscuring their bumper stickers underneath the ones about their kid being  an honor student.

California, of course, is not the issue, anyway. Once the state’s treasure trove of electoral votes was reliably harvested by Republicans: Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush the First. Not anymore; a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t taken the state since 1988. California is so off the GOP radar, Republicans have taken to using it as a punchline.

So as we live blog the night away, we’ll be focusing, like everybody else, on the swing states, keeping in mind there’s not always agreement on which ones still swing and which don’t. (New Mexico has been taken off lists this year, as the polls show a hefty lead for Obama in the state.) We’ll especially be keeping an eye on Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and of course, the swingingest of the set, Ohio. The New York Times’ polling guru Nate Silver, who called 49 out of 50 states correctly in 2008 and has become something of a cult figure — albeit a controversial one — has written that Ohio has a 50% chance of being the deciding state in the election. He also gives Obama a 92 percent — that’s right, 92 percent — chance of winning.

If you’re a Republican, you think that’s a bunch of eggheaded hooey. If you’re a Democrat,  you’re probably not counting your chickens before they’re, well, counted.

But whoever wins, just a little advice:

Whether you’re the type who has celebrated Obama’s first-term accomplishments (health care, stimulus, auto bailout) or has vilified him for his political crimes (health care, stimulus, auto bailout), if your particular guy is the one who loses, please remember…

Canada’s really cold.

Final swing state polling data: