COLUMBUS, Ohio — As I head to Republican victory headquarters, here`s the starter kit.
National exit polls from 2008.
National exit polls from 2004.
74 percent: The white proportion of the 2008 electorate. If it`s higher this time, it`s good for Romney. Sorry, folks, it just is.
31 percent: The proportion of the Hispanic vote that went to John McCain. If it`s stuck there, or lower, for Romney, it`s terrible news in Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia.
+7: The raw Democratic advantage in the 2008 election. In 2004 and 2010, there was no Democratic advantage—it was tied. If there`s a Democratic advantage of 3 points or more, even considering all the moves voters have made and the regional party differences, it indicates an Obama comeback.
- 46 percent: The proportion that Barack Obama won of the white vote in Ohio last time. He can afford to drop to 43 percent, and still win, if nonwhite turnout is constant.
- 74 percent: The proportion of white "evangelical/born again" voters won by the McCain-Palin ticket, when they made up 26 percent of the total vote. These voters have never been asked to support a Mormon before. Mormon-baiting turned out to be the dog that didn`t bark this year, but we have no great handle, yet, on this aspect of the vote, which will be crucial in the Rust Belt and Virginia.