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IT'S ALMOST OVER: Slate's John Dickerson: "After a campaign where no fact, poll, or dependent clause was beyond debate, we’re going to start getting actual votes. Barack Obama’s ground game will either live up to the hype or it won’t. Mitt Romney will either win Ohio’s 18 electoral votes and prove almost every poll wrong or he won’t. Obama will either win Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota or David Axelrod will have to shave his mustache. The voters will finally speak, which reminds me of Mo Udall’s line after losing: 'The voters have spoken. The bastards.'" Click here for the 16 biggest questions that will decide tomorrow's election.
STATE OF THE RACE: Real Clear Politics national average: Obama up by 0.4 points, 48.5 percent to 48.1 percent. RCP Ohio average: Obama +3.0 points, 49.7 percent to 46.7 percent. RCP Electoral College with toss-ups excluded: Obama 201, Romney 191. With toss-ups assigned: Obama 303, Romney 235.
FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Nate Silver's latest projections: Electoral College forecast: Obama 307.2, Romney 230.8 (Obama +10.6 since last week); EC now-cast: Obama 308.4, Romney 229.6 (Obama +8.6 since last week). Chance of winning forecast: Obama 86.3 percent, Romney 13.7 percent (Obama +11.7 since last week); Chance now-cast: Obama 88.0 percent; Romney 12.0 percent (Obama +7.9 since last week). Chance of winning Ohio forecast: Obama 86.8, Romney 13.2. Ohio now-cast: Obama 88.2, Romney 11.8.
ON THE UNDERCARD TOMORROW: Gay Marriage Backers Could End Their Lengthy Ballot Losing Streak In a Big Way
HAPPY DAY BEFORE THE ELECTION DAY and welcome to The Slatest PM. Follow @JoshVoorhees on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
99 PROBLEMS: The Associated Press: "Jay-Z has a fix for his lyrics that meets parental guidance requirements—and President Barack Obama’s approval. The rapper and producer performed his hit '99 Problems' as he and Bruce Springsteen opened for an Obama rally in Columbus, Ohio. He changed a key word that rhymes with 'witch' to make his own political endorsement. He sang: 'I got 99 problems but Mitt ain’t one.'"
WHAT THE CANDIDATES WILL BE DOING TOMORROW: The Associated Press: "Romney's team announced a last-minute Election Day push that will take him to Cleveland and Pittsburg for get-out-the-vote efforts before he returns to Boston to await the outcome. ... A spokeswoman said Obama would not campaign Tuesday, but would remain in Chicago and reach out to swing-state voters through a series of television and radio interviews."
WHAT THE CANDIDATES SHOULD BE DOING TOMORROW: Slate's Dan Kois: "You know where the candidates won’t be today or tomorrow? The places that could really use their visit: the areas of New York and New Jersey hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. ... Imagine if one or the other of the presidential candidates scrapped his plans for the rest of the day. What if Mitt Romney loaded up his campaign jet with contractor bags and batteries, flew to JFK, and spent the day on Staten Island cleaning up the debris-covered streets? What if Barack Obama hung out in Hoboken, N.J. handing out blankets to the needy? Or, if they’re afraid their entourages might do more harm than good, what if they both suspended all advertising until Election Day and sent that money to the Red Cross instead?" Read the rest here.
OBUMMER VS. MITTENS: The most popular nasty nicknames for the candidates—a Slate infographic.
IS SANDY PUSHING OBAMA TO A WIN?: Silver: "The theory has some appeal. The last three days of polling have brought what is almost certainly Mr. Obama’s strongest run of polling since the first presidential debate in Denver. ... And increasingly, it is hard to find leads for Mr. Romney in national surveys — although several of them show a tie. ... But, while the storm and the response to it may account for some of Mr. Obama’s gains, it assuredly does not reflect the whole of the story. Mr. Obama had already been rebounding in the polls, slowly but steadily, from his lows in early October — in contrast to a common narrative in the news media that contended, without much evidence, that Mr. Romney still had the momentum in the race."
SPEAKING OF THE STORM: With Gov. Christie Sidelined by Sandy, Romney Finds a New Attack Dog
TO THE VICTOR: Slate's Matthew Yglesias: "Partisans always prefer victory to defeat, but in retrospect some elections look like poisoned chalices. Jimmy Carter’s narrow victory over Gerald Ford in 1976, for example, merely saddled the Democrats with the blame for economic problems that were global in scope and paved the way for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election. ... While anything’s possible, 2012 is shaping up to be the reverse kind of election: Whoever wins is poised to preside over a return to economic normalcy that’s bound to make any kind of basically competent governance look fantastic compared to the last decade of misery."
POINT: Slate's Emily Bazelon on why no one should have to wait two hours to vote.
COUNTERPOINT: Slate's Rachael Larimore on why Ohio is not a backward, vote-suppressing, Third World banana republic. And you never need to wait in line.
MORE ELECTION QUICK HITS FROM SLATE—
Victory Lab: Why Obama Is Better at Getting Out the Vote
Map of the Week: In Which State Is Your Vote the Most Powerful?
XX Factor: Women To Watch: Congressional Race Edition
CHECKING THE TRAPS—
AP: "The soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in a nighttime rampage in Afghanistan returned to his base wearing a cape and with the blood of his victims on his rifle, belt, shirt and pants, a military prosecutor said Monday."
NYT: "Syria was convulsed by one of the most violent days in months on Monday, with heavy fighting reported around Palestinian neighborhoods in southern Damascus, at least two car-bomb explosions and strikes by government aircraft on numerous rebel targets."
WSJ: "Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul's requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a fee."
Reuters: "Netflix Inc adopted a poison pill defense to prevent a hostile takeover, acting just days after activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed he had bought a stake in the streaming video and DVD-by-mail subscription service."
ELSEWHERE IN SLATE—
Brow Beat: Four Score and 17 Years of Lincoln in Film
The Reckoning: The Katrina-Sandy Learning Curve
The Completist: The Best Bond Movies, Books, Villains, and Songs
Future Tense: How YouTube Is Leaving Amateurs Behind
See you back here tomorrow. But until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.