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Passage Almost Certain, But Number of Votes Unclear

UPDATE: Sorry — this information is already out-of-date and comments have been shut off. Please see the new thread.

The New York Times currently lists 217 218 votes for passage of health care reform, with 6 4 legislators undecided. Of the 217 218 yes votes that they count, one is at least a little tenuous: Loretta Sanchez, who has been flaky, and Bobby Rush, who still insisted on calling himself undecided as of this morning. They also list Tennessee’s Lincoln Davis as undecided, who said earlier he’d vote no. On the other hand, they list Republican Joseph Cao as a no, but he could be brought back into the fold after the compromise on abortion language.

David Dayen, meanwhile, had 213 yes votes, although that total did not account for Indiana’s Joe Donnelly or Pennsylvania’s Paul Kanjorski, who has since been revealed to be on board with the bill. Technically, then, passage is not assured by Dayen’s count, although he believes that several of the 7 undecideds that he list are likely to come on board.

CBS News splits the difference by listing 215 confirmed yes votes and 8 undecideds; like the New York Times, they count Lincoln Davis as undecided, Joseph Cao as a no, and Sanchez as a yes, although they do keep Rush at undecided.

The Hill, whose whip count has been somewhat deceivingly pessimistic throughout the health care debate, lists 214 yes votes and 4 undecided; they classify several lawmakers as no or leaning no that most other sources regard as undecided.

Lastly, the White House has said it expects to get about 220 yes votes. That’s my best guess too, although there will be two different dynamics pulling on legislators once the roll call is taken. On the one hand, if passage looks assured, anybody who had an objection to the bill will have the opportunity to vote against it without seeming to kill it; on the other hand, some other legislators might want to be on the “right side of history” and will get caught up in the momentum. It still wouldn’t completely surprise me if representatives who would suffer little electoral consequence from voting no — such as John Tanner, who is retiring, Mike Arcuri, who is highly vulnerable to a primary challenge, or Stephen Lynch, who comes from a quite liberal district, to wind up voting yes on the bill after all.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.