This is an example of our set-up for tonight. I’m going to be categorizing the states into five categories as we progress through the evening:
Called — states actually called by the Associated Press
Safe — states that look almost completely safe, e.g. a 99.5% probability of victory or higher.
Likely — somewhere in the 80% certainty range
Lean — 60-80%
Toss-Up — No clear favorite
…what we’re interested in is when the Called + Safe states total 270 for one or another of the candidates.
I may change the characterization of states at any time for any reason — if, for instance, we find that Obama is underperforming among Hispanic voters in Texas, that might lead me to change my characterization of New Mexico.
Anyway, you guys should get the basic idea. We’re busy here!