1. The state of Missouri. ACCURACY: "Missouri is a traditional bellwether that has picked every presidential contest since 1960" and "all but one election since 1904." ADVANTAGE: Currently: Obama. But everyone knows Missouri is full of white people who are totally unreliable!
[Obama] he will have to overcome latent racism among rural whites, an element more than one expert described as an "unknown quantity" in Missouri particularly because residents have seen so few black candidates run for state or national office.2. Chillicothe, Ohio. ACCURACY: "No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio ... Inside the bellwether state is the bellwether town of Chillicothe, a town that often mirrors the state's election results." Often? How scientific. ADVANTAGE: Split. Ohio in general is pretty blue these days, though.
3. Hillsborough County, Florida. ACCURACY: Doesn't say. Its claim to be a bellwether may be bullshit. Still, it's Florida, which we know is an important state. Let it stand. ADVANTAGE: Currently Obama.
Obama not only won 49 percent of women voters, to McCain's 43 percent, but he captured a plurality of male voters, beating McCain 45 percent to 39 percent.Florida's looking pretty good too -- the conservatives are freaking out! and even Gov. Charlie Crist, still pouting about not being tapped for Veep, went to Disney World instead of helping McCain! -- but I don't trust it. FL's biggest import is old white people, and they are even more racist than regular white people.
4. The size of the candidates. Apparently the bigger candidate almost always wins, except when the smaller/lighter candidate is George W. Bush, who is a magical elf. ADVANTAGE: Obama has several inches and about 15 lbs on McCain. But Teddy Roosevelt was shorter than the other guy in 1904 and won, and was heavier than the other guy in 1912 but lost. What a maverick. (BTW: Who knew Roosevelt ran again in '12? I didn't and I majored in American History!)
5. The Scholastic kids election. ACCURACY: "Since 1940, the results of the student vote in the Scholastic Election Poll (online voting was added in 2000) have mirrored the outcome of the general election, except twice: in 1948 when students chose Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman and in 1960 when more students voted for Richard M. Nixon than John F. Kennedy." E for Effort, kidlets. ADVANTAGE: Colbert.
Boys favored Obama 49% to 46% for McCain, while girls chose Obama more definitively, 57% to 39%. Rounding out this year's vote, 4% of students voted for other candidates, the highest percentage of write-in votes in the history of the poll. Student write-ins included Senator Hillary Clinton, Congressman Ron Paul, Independent candidate Ralph Nader, and a handful of votes for television personality Stephen Colbert.ALSO: Obama, who is like Colbert in that he is young and looks good on the teevee.
BONUS FUN: I say the real bellwether is just what folks expect to happen. So what do Republicans think will happen this year?
"A poll of 100 leading Republican political consultants by the conservative National Journal found that 80 believe Mr McCain will lose the election, while the remaining 20 think it could go either way."Margin of error: +/- 20%.
Three nerve racking weeks to go! Bellwethers are known to be all mavericky so there will be no counting of chickens. Also, did I miss any, also? Feel free to point out your favorite other ways we can tell what's going to happen and so don't need to bother to vote.