Welcome to the 13th Floor's Election Night 2005 coverage! Here are a few thoughts on some contests where we might see an upset.
NJ GOV: Democrat Jon Corzine has led in every survey, but pollsters differ on whether he is above the critical 50% threshold. Corzine closed poorly in his 2000 U.S. Senate race, barely hanging on after leading comfortably most of the election season. If he repeats that performance, he could be in for another nailbiter. Additionally, undecided voters typically break against the incumbent (at least according to conventional wisdom). Though this is an open-seat race, Corzine is a quasi-incumbent as a prominent statewide elected official. Don't count out Republican Doug Forrester just yet.
OH Issue 4: Nothing on the ballot today is as important to Democrats nationally as this vote, which would establish a commission to redraw congressional and legislative districts, and likely cost the GOP a handful of congressional seats in the process. Although Issue 4 has trailed in every poll I've seen, polling on referendums is notoriously unreliable. Plus, Democrats may be motivated to come to the polls after their party's narrow loss in the presidential race. Ohio Republicans could be demoralized by the scandals their party has faced in the state.
VA Down-Ballot Democratic Candidates: My impression is that most observers think Republicans Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell have the advantage in the contests for lieutenant governor and attorney general, respectively. Still, there have been some signs that Tim Kaine could have opened a bit of a lead in the governor's race, in which case he might drag his ticket mates, Leslie Byrne and Creigh Deeds, across the finish line. On the other hand, if the Republican get-out-the-vote operation is as good as advertised in the state, Kaine will be lucky to beat Republican Jerry Kilgore.
California Referendums: If Arnold is going to get a win, it will be on Proposition 74, which establishes a probationary period for teachers, or Proposition 75, which prohibits the use of public employee union dues for political purposes without written consent. Neither seems likely to pass, but neither (especially 74) can be ruled out.
I was also going to mention Kwame Kilpatrick here, but polls are showing that Freeman Hendrix appears to have solidified his lead in the final days. A Kilpatrick upset is not impossible, though.