The political fortunes of Barack Obama and
Mitt Romney could be determined today in little-known counties with
names like Loudoun, Lucas and Larimer.
After 17 months and more
than $2 billion spent crisscrossing the nation in search of votes, the
two presidential candidates, their staffs and an army of journalists and
political junkies will huddle tonight over county maps and precinct
reports to gauge the voters' verdict.
It won't be New York,
Chicago or Los Angeles that decides the election. Instead, swing
counties such as Virginia's Loudoun, Ohio's Lucas and Colorado's Larimer
will play outsized roles in picking the next president. (More on those
Today, turnout among Democrats' and Republicans'
base voters will begin to tell the tale of the 2012 election. Turnout
was above 65% in 10 swing states in 2008 and 61.6% overall, slightly
higher than 2004.
Then the TV networks and other news
organizations will begin releasing the results of "exit polls" taken
outside polling places, which will shed light on the choices made by men
and women, whites and minorities, young and old, urban and rural. More
so than in the past, that information is likely to spill out on Twitter
and other social media outlets.