Feature

Obama's early lead

... and what it doesn't mean.

Barack Obama has racked up his first victory, said Alex Koppelman in Salon. The citizens of Dixville Notch, N.H., always vote at midnight as Election Day starts. By a vote of 15 to 6, Obama won the town. Dixville Notch overwhelmingly backed President Bush four years ago, and this was the first time voters there had backed a Democrat since 1968.

"That would seem to be an ominous sign for John McCain, said The Economist online, except for the fact that, for whatever reason, Dixville Notch's population has shifted, and Democrats now outnumber Republicans. Still, it's worth noting the results in this tiny town, which always gathers to cast the nation's first votes—it's "sort of endearing, like the Whos down in Whoville."

Sure, it's a tradition worth noting, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, as long as you remember that it doesn't mean anything. And it's especially meaningless when you consider that we always figured "New Hampshire would be blue this year."

"There's no historical relationship" between candidates' performances in Dixville Notch and the rest of New Hampshire, said Nate Silver in the FiveThirtyEight electoral prediction blog, never mind the rest of the country. "Still, you'd rather be up 15-6 than down, wouldn't you?"

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