All the polls say how close the election is - Bush and Kerry zip up and down within a percentage point or two of each other. And yet...
Remember that all these polls have a margin of error - typically 2-4%, depending on the method. They may also miss out on the new voters - more than a million have been registered in Florida alone this year and many more across the country. Those voters will typically go 60/40 for the Democrats, just like the 3/4% of voters who are undecided.
In the end, it will all come down to how easily all these voters can be persuaded to turn out - and whether they all get to vote. I'm expecting queues at the polling places and I'm also expecting legal action to ensure those doors are closed at 7pm, when polling is supposed to end. Watch out for voter intimidation - Greg Palast did another of his reports on Florida on Newsnight a few days ago, but there will be other ways of 'persuading' voters not to exercise their rights. Rumours are spread warning that if you vote, you will be immediately pulled in for any minor traffic tickets unpaid, voters are 'challenged' by poll watchers to prove that they are US citizens and that they live where they claim. Michael Moore claims to have over 1200 professional and amateur cameramen across the swing states ready to film anything going wrong. Both sides have thousands of lawyers on standby to rush to any incident and to file lawsuits on demand.
IF the polls are fair (and that is a big if) I think Kerry will win - and the scale of the victory might yet surprise us.
That being the case, I'd guess that John Kerry can afford to grab a few hours of sleep. We seem to have escaped an 'October Surprise' this year, apart from Osama's unscheduled video released last week.
Helen Thomas, for whom the word doyenne may have been coined, has come out with a brief article warning of the darkness that could descend with another four years of Bush. Bear in mind this is the woman who spent decades as the White House correspondent for UPI and invented the style of ending presidential press conferences with 'Thank you, Mr President' with JFK. She is a voice you can't ignore.
Other voices being raised come from Republicans shocked at the path their party has chosen and prefer Kerry to Bush. State governors, people linked to the Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush Snr administrations, congressmen and even capitalist gods like Lee Iacocca are supporting Kerry. Read on here.
It comes to something when Nixon's own lawyer says that the present incumbent is worse.