What To Watch For On Election Night

By: CBS
By: CBS

(CBS) On Tuesday night, you are going to settling in to see what's happening with the election results. But do you what are you looking for? Here's CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield to tell you what he's watching for hour-by-hour.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7 P.M. ET
Polls close in the first six states. We're pretty sure that South Carolina and Kentucky will go to McCain and Vermont to Obama, but three of the states bear close watching. Obama has been leading in Virginia and he's even in Indiana -- both states have gone Republican since 1964. If McCain wins both, he's still in the game. If either of them goes for Obama, his campaign is on life support.

Read more about the campaign in the battleground states: Indiana | Virginia

7:30 P.M. ET
There's more potential drama here. Ohio was always destined to be a key battleground just as it was in 2004. This is a state McCain must win. North Carolina has seen a massive infusion of Obama's money and volunteers, so a McCain victory is a hint of real late movement toward the Republican.

Read more about the campaign in the battleground states: North Carolina | Ohio

8 P.M. ET
A floodtide of polls close at 8 -- fifteen states and the District of Columbia. We know where most of those states will go -- at least we think we do. But there are three to keep an eye on:

Florida is another one of those contests McCain must win; it's where Obama's money advantage has been overwhelming. Missouri, a state that mirrors national results usually, became more Republican in 2000 and 2004. This year, it's a dead heat.

And Pennsylvania -- Democratic for the last five elections -- is the 'blue" state McCain has to win to make his road to the White House plausible. Keep this one in mind, if McCain cannot win Pennsylvania, he almost certainly cannot win the election.

Read more about the campaign in the battleground states: Florida | Missouri | Pennsylvania

9 P.M. ET
Fifteen more states close at 9 -- we've assigned most of them, by the map, to where we think they're going to wind up. If you're looking for what may be the story of the night, though, go West. Obama has been leading in Colorado and New Mexico; both went for Bush last time. But remember, the real drama of this may be taking place to the East, where votes in the early closing states are still being counted. By 9 o'clock, we should know if we've got a clear-cut winner, or if we'll be up into the morning.

Read more about the campaign in the battleground states: Colorado | New Mexico

10 P.M. ET
At 10, four states close. I'll be watching Nevada, usually an easy win for Republicans. It's another state where Obama has thrown a lot of money and manpower, and has worked the rural areas very hard.

Read more about the campaign in the battleground states: Nevada

11 P.M. ET
Take this to the bank - I promise 11 p.m. will bring 77 electoral votes from California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii into Obama's pocket. You need to remember this throughout the evening. Because if Obama has won Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado by 11 o'clock, he will be declared the winner of the presidency as soon as votes from California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii are tabulated for him.

Ways To Win: Calculate your own path to the presidency with our Electoral Vote prediction map.

Of course, there's always a chance that this will come down to a handful of votes in a state or two, and we'll have days or weeks of court challenges and recounts... Well, good luck. I will have fled to an out-island in the Bahamas, but I'll be back in time for the inauguration.

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 33725529 - wibw.com/a?a=33725529