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Bellwether Concept Big Loser Election Day

The notion of bellwether voters took a big hit this election day.

Before Tuesday, one state (Missouri) and six counties from Indiana to Washington could boast bellwether status. They consistently matched the nation in their choices for president.

But Tuesday voting knocked almost all of them off the bellwether perch. Only Vigo County, Indiana, kept its remarkable voting record intact.

Missouri was the only bellwether state, before this week. Now it's likely off the list. Voters there have chosen the national winner in almost every presidential election since 1904. The lone exception was 1956, when Missouri voters made Adlai Stevenson their presidential favorite by less than one percent. Dwight Eisenhower won the national vote.

Something identical happened in 2008. Defeated Republican John McCain leads the Missouri count by less than one percent. Only provisional ballots are uncounted and state officials say it's highly unlikely president-elect Barack Obama will win enough of those to win the state.

The following counties also fell off the bellwether list:

Ferry County, Washington (Obama 42% - McCain 55%)
Eddy County, New Mexico (Obama 35% - McCain 64%)
Logan County, Arkansas (Obama 29% - McCain 68%)
Van Buren County, Arkansas (Obama 32% - McCain 64%)
Lincoln County, Missouri (Obama 43% - McCain 55%)

Vigo County, Indiana, not only joined the nation in selecting Barack Obama as the winner. It also closely matched the national margin, which it has done in the 12 presidential elections since 1960. Vigo County's bellwether status goes back to 1892. It has voted against the nation only twice since.

Vigo County is the only public entity left with any claim to the bellwether mantle.

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