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Measuring A Massive Impact As Election Results Come In

NPR having decided in its infinite wisdom that I need my beauty rest, I am actually watching the returns at home so I can be up bright and early for the program tomorrow.

What can I say?

It's a presidential smack down almost two years in the making. How many debates, how many rallies ... how many town halls have we observed leading up to tonight?

If we counted the number of people who actually attended a political rally this year, do you think we'd reach the population of Houston? How about Los Angeles? New York, even?

It's possible. In my precinct in D.C., I am told that, by 5 p.m. today, we'd reached an 80 percent turnout. As I mentioned in my earlier post, we waited in line to cast a ballot for two and a half hours — and it was somewhere between church and a party the whole time (fueled by coffee and sugar, it has to be said).

We know from early voting data that African Americans increased their turnout by 20 percentm; from 11 percent of the electorate in 2004 to 13 percent of the group.

But there are still so many questions:

Did young voters come out as they suggested they might? And did first time voters come out?

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What did white women do? What did rural voters do? Did Latinos give McCain any love?

Did all the negative campaigning, in the end, make a difference?

So much we won't know until tomorrow, at the earliest. But by the time you hear from me again, we ought to know who our new President is. Let's hope we don't have a repeat of the 2000 drama, when it took three weeks before we figured out who would be living in the White House.

So much emotion poured into this election, and so much money. So many tears, and so much sweat, with no shortage of anger at times ... and the burden of history and hope for the future, added with fear ... is there a better way?

We can think about that tomorrow. But tonight, fasten your seatbelt.

Take it away, Lee. He and the rest of the crack TMM team are BLOGGING THE NIGHT AWAY.

Go for it.

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