And perhaps you won't have to wait long, says the Wall Street Journal, which covers expectations that the data will leak long before the networks' "quarantine" lifts at 5:00 pm ET.
"Turnout should increase from 39.7% in 2002 and may exceed the most recent midterm high of 42.1% in 1982, according to Curtis Gans, director of American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate. Gans does not expect this year's turnout to top the all-time benchmark of 47% in 1970," per USA Today.
"Federal poll watchers will be in 22 states today, safeguarding against fraud or discrimination in election districts marked by tight races, large numbers of minority voters and faulty ballot machines... Poll watchers will be in several major cities - including Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, San Francisco and New York City - where minority voters have claimed they were denied access to the ballot box."
"For political spectators, the bad news is this: Razor-edge contests can spark legal challenges and recounts that can take days to sort out," says the Wall Street Journal. "The good news: Many of the most important races are in the Eastern and Central time zones. If an angry tide is poised to swamp Republicans, it could be apparent before most political junkies call it a night."
The AP echoes: "Most of the heavily contested, down-to-the-wire races are east of the Mississippi River, in states with relatively early poll closing times. If a Democratic rout is going to happen, it will be clear from the first votes… Showdown contests in Virginia, Rhode Island and New Jersey should be harbingers of trends in the Senate. House races in Indiana, Kentucky and Florida will provide election-watchers initial clues as to which party will control that chamber."
US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad tells the Financial Times in an interview "that the outcome of the election would have no impact on the war strategy of George W. Bush's administration... 'The president has told them [the government of Iraq] not to pay attention to that,' said Mr Khalilzad. 'The president will be the commander in chief and the architect of US foreign policy regardless of the outcome.'"
The Washington Post profiles Bush the decider on the brink of a crucial and probably painful election: "Now the voters are the deciders, and it's a verdict Bush can no longer influence... Bush insists he's not worried. But at least one person who saw him in private a few days ago interpreted his body language to mean that he did not think Tuesday will be a great day for him."
The Washington Times reports that Bush's stops on his 10-state tour were "attended by a total of more than 75,000 Republicans." http
The New York Times, noting that this will be Bush and Karl Rove's last election together, speculates about what will happen if Republicans lose control of the House. "Indeed, what happens after Tuesday is something of a sore subject with several of Mr. Bush's advisers. They refuse to discuss the possibility of life with a Democratic speaker… And whenever the subject of the president's last two years come up, the aides make sure everybody knows that Mr. Bush intends to go out with a bang, not a whimper."
The Times also considers what might happen if Democrats don't pick up the seats they're expected to. "Some Democrats worry that those forecasts, accurate or not, may be setting the stage for a demoralizing election night,... sapping the party's spirit and energy heading into" 2008. And if they don't gain control of the House? NBC political analyst Charlie Cook said, "'I think you'd see a Jim Jones situation - it would be a mass suicide.'"
If Democrats win more than 15 seats in the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be poised to break through the "marble ceiling" of Congress. But if she doesn't, the San Francisco Chronicle says, "Pelosi could find her leadership of the party in jeopardy."
Western Democrats are expected to make strong gains today, but as the Boston Globe points out, these victories may cause some friction within the party. "With their libertarian bent, Western Democrats do not view the party's potential gains in Congress as an opportunity to enact a liberal wish list. On certain issues -- such as gun control and some environmental programs -- they have a very different view than do members of the party's Eastern base… And while Democrats appear to be poised to expand their numbers in the Northeast, Westerners believe that they represent the party's future," writes the Boston Globe.
The Chicago Tribune looks at the impact that women candidates, especially Democrats, could make tonight. "Of the 140 women running for House seats, 98 are Democrats, with at least 18 Democratic challengers vying for upsets in some of the most competitive districts in the nation. In the Senate, two Democrats, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, could boost the total number of women senators from an all-time high of 14 to a record 16 if they are successful."
The Wall Street Journal looks at what illegal immigration has become the issue that wasn't. "By attacking illegal immigration, Republicans could look tough on border security and please their conservative constituents and many independents. In the process, they could force votes in Congress... that would divide the Democrats and their Hispanic allies, and, ideally, trap some Democratic lawmakers into votes that could be turned into 30-second attack ads... It hasn't exactly turned out that way."
The Los Angeles Times notes how tonight's results will be the starting gun for 2008. "The midterm results will go a long way toward shaping the political landscape... A Democratic takeover of the Senate - which seems a longer shot than control of the House - could elevate several contestants who 'would have a different type of voice' as a member of the majority, said John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster from Alabama... On the Republican side, David Carney, a GOP strategist in New Hampshire, said losing the House or Senate could result in a quicker resolution of the Republican nomination fight, so the party can channel its energies into regaining control of Capitol Hill."
And the Boston Globe's Canellos points out that Sen. John "Kerry has to hope that the Democrats get a big enough victory to wash away any recriminations" over his "botched" joke. "But if the election returns fail to meet the party's skyhigh expectations, Kerry would be among the biggest goats."