Before we get started

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Before we get started today, a quick election day survival guide.

First, the final polls are trending to Kerry. I’m not just speaking about the public polls, but the private ones — specifically the Republican ones. Does that mean Kerry will win? No, not necessarily. It’s too close for that. But the Bush campaign has a lot of incentives to try to get this one into overtime. And we’ll see various bogus stories and funny-business throughout the course of the day.

To start with, for instance, don’t rely on right-wing agit-prop sites for your news about alleged instances of ‘voter fraud’. Wait till you hear real information from real news outlets.

The GOP is going to be pulling this stuff through the course of the day trying either to use it to ramp up their suppression activities or lay the groundwork for challenges to what some are starting to fear won’t be good results. (For more on how that works, see Josh Green’s always invaluable expose of the Rove election shenanigans playbook.

Second, exit polls.

Exits come out in a several batches over the course of the day. Democrats, on average, tend to vote later in the day than Republicans. Not always, but that’s the pattern, for fairly straightforward demographic reasons. And for that reason their exit poll numbers tend to get better over the course of the day. That was strikingly so in 2000. So if you see less than perfect numbers plastered around in the early afternoon, don’t let that rattle you.

As we’ve been saying, this is all about the ground game. So get out there and vote and do the GOTV work for whomever it is you’re supporting, and don’t get flustered by any through-the-course-of-the-day mind games.

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