According to this story at News Online, citing this story at MSN Slate, exit polling shows Kerry leading Bush in a tight contest in the late afternoon in the US. Of course, exit polls are dubiously reliable. But pending meaningful real results, they at least give us something to speculate about.
I must say that a Kerry victory, even though he’s certainly a flawed and uninspiring figure, would go a long way to making up for Howard’s re-election here in Australia. In fact, if I had been forced to choose in advance which incumbent leader I’d prefer to see deposed (and it couldn’t be both), I would certainly have opted for a Bush loss and a Howard victory. Why? Howard’s policies don’t really frighten me, and they won’ t do any damage that can’t easily be reversed by a future Labor government. Indeed, if Howard resigns in the next couple of years and is replaced by Costello, that would be pretty much my ideal situation (leaving aside Coalition control of the Senate). A Bush victory on the other hand is a scary prospect given some of the neocon loonies who surround him and the likely demise of moderates like Colin Powell and Richard Armitage in a second term Bush cabinet.
An apparently very heavy voter turnout may well also favour Kerry, and exit polling also seems to be reflecting much higher levels of voter concern with jobs and the economy than pundits were previously suggesting. That too would seem to be a factor in favour of Kerry. In contrast to the Australian election, where Howard was able to campaign on a record of ongoing economic good news and (ostensibly) sound management, Bush’s record is much more equivocal, with jobs lost, a huge deficit and a minor economic downturn contrasting with the extraordinary prosperity over which Bill Clinton presided.
PPS – On the other hand, West Virginia seems to have gone to Bush, which looks less promising for Kerry.