I've missed a lot of stuff this weekend while I've been trying to convince the greater Chicagoland area that yes, indeed, I closely resemble Tina Fey and yes, I would like people to buy me drinks as a reward. It started out as Snooki, but I couldn't bring myself to admit that I actually own an Ed Hardy shirt. So here's a roundup of things you need to know as we waddle our way into the last 24 hours:
- Experts are predicting turnout to be well below 50%, which means that it'll be less than it's been in the last several off year elections. I'm not so sure. If there was ever a year where people who have never voted before will stumble out from under their rocks and cast a ballot, it would be this year. You only get one chance to knock the Obama agenda and send the country careening into a two-year deadlock, and this is it.
- Nationally, Pew is predicting a huge turnout for those voting Republican, self-identifying or not. I say that last part because Pew is also showing a huge swing in Independents, straight into the loving arms of the GOP. In Illinois, this turnout advantage will probably make all the difference on Tuesday.
- That last poll could explain why Speaker Mike Madigan appears to be freaking the f**k out. Republicans need a net gain of 12 to pick up the state House. If they pick up 8 or more (definitely NOT out of the realm of possibility, though a longshot) they can make life pretty darn tough for the state Dems. In the state Senate, a Republican pickup of just two seats would kill the current veto-proof majority.
- Speaking of Tuesday, you're looking to crash a few victory parties, you'd best start downtown and work your way out. Quinn's starts at 6pm at the Allegro Hotel, which means you can actually drink before you vote if you have a conveniently located polling place. Mark Kirk's is out in the 'burbs and Bill Brady's probably ends at 9:30 so he can go to bed.
- People are spending a buttload of cash trying to win this election.
- While I was losing a costume contest at Durty Nellies, the President was turning out the vote in Hyde Park. Both the crowds and I listened to someone implore them to "Don't Stop Believin.'" My evening featured booze. Their evening may have featured desperate longing for some.
- In a related story, Pat Quinn's new slogan is "Guard the Change." I'm not sure that, were I him, I would close my campaign by begging Illinois voters to keep the status quo. The crushing irony would drive me slowly insane.
- Speaking of driving someone to drink, MoveOn.org has sent me an email every half hour since yesterday. Apparently, they're two thousand volunteers short for GOTV efforts. Either they were at the Stewart rally in DC, or the "enthusiasm gap" is rearing it's ugly head.
- Early voting number are out, and SHOCKER, they favor Dem candidates by a huge margin, with Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn leading by double digits and counting. In other news, Republicans disagree with these numbers.
I hesitate to make a lot of predictions, since I've been in this game long enough to know that no matter what I think, I'm probably totally wrong, and I don't want to look stupid, like I was Maureen Dowd desperately clinging to a metaphor involving a cult film she's probably never actually seen. The only think I know for sure? If we're all idiots, no one shows up to vote and everything stays exactly the same, I'll be in business here for another two years at least.
The following are predictions and assessments from smarter people than me at Real Clear Politics and are based on averages taken from a number of polls (click to make them bigger):
Tags: Alexi Giannoulais, Barack Obama, Bill Brady, chicago, Democratic Party, Democrats, elections, Governor, gubernatorial, House, Illinois, Illinois legislature, Jason Plummer, Mark Kirk, Pat Quinn, Politics, Republican Party, Republicans, Senate, Senate race, Sheila Simon