A different sort of stalement

Now, with the deeper perspective gained by two and a half hour hours of sleep and three cups of coffee, everything still looks ... blurry. It seems that Bush has an unassailable lead in Ohio and is likely to win at least one more state, such as Iowa, and that should put him over the top. NBC and Fox have called Ohio for Bush, and that alone would give him 269 votes in the electoral college, enough for a tie that would be broken in Bush's favor in the House.

It feels a bit like 2000, but the analogy only goes so far. At this point in the tally four years ago, Bush had the slimmest of margins in Florida. The recount and uncertainty was frustrating but understandable, especially considering the fact that Gore led the popular vote. This year, Bush has a lead of 121,000 votes in Ohio, and he's enjoying a 51-48 margin in the national popular vote. Could Kerry win? It's possible, I suppose. There are 250,000 provisional ballots that must be counted. Assuming that all of them turn out to be valued, Kerry would need to capture nearly half of them just to break even. Then, he'd have to win another 60,000 or so to pull ahead. In other words, he'd need nearly 80% of the remaining Ohio votes. That's unlikely to happen, despite his strong support in some parts of the state and an army of lawyers looking to mold the results like modeling clay.

I can hear the chants now: Four more weeks! Four more weeks! (of grinding conflict and frustration.)

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.