On the eve of the U.S. Presidential election, please allow me to diverge from my regular focus on opening up the Social Web in order to go on record with my prediction…
Most folks are now, based on polls, predicting a sizable win for Obama, with clarity of the outcome emerging early tomorrow evening, perhaps shortly after the polls close in Virginia.
I predict a *very* different outcome. If I am correct, avid followers of this election should prepare for a later night — and perhaps something more akin to the chaos, confusion, and limbo of the 2000 election. Why? I believe that the turnout will be so historic that the voting system will be severely tested. Polls will be swamped. Irregularities will occur (not out of malice, but out of inability to respond to the surge). I also happen to believe that the polls are overstating the gap between Obama and McCain, which is to say that I believe the *actual* margin of error in many of the polls is as large or larger than the projected gap.
In particular, look to Pennsylvania (my home state, but not current residence) and Ohio as this year’s Florida.
My prediction is not whether Obama or McCain will win. (I suspect it will be Obama, but by a narrower margin than most predict.) My prediction is that the outcome will not be clear early tomorrow evening, and that it may well come down to fancy footwork of lawyers, rather than a simple tally of votes.
By the way, I hope I am wrong, but couldn’t resist putting my thoughts down in public.