by Max Brantley
The secretary of state has started posting returns. Too early to mean anything, but I'll take comfort that, in the first tally, Barack Obama has 66 percent of the vote — 1,392 to 716— despite an avalanche for free publicity for crank candidate John Wolfe. But when the 4th District comes in, who knows?
Mitt Romney has 71 percent in early going on the Republican side. AP declared him the victor early on.
With three counties of 75 reporting, Obama is standing at 59 percent of the vote. If that holds, spin is everything. Republicans will style it — no matter the outcome — an embarrassment to a sitting president with only token opposition. But when you consider he's a black man in a state that disliked him deeply four years ago, when he rode a wave of euphoria most other places, and when you consider Wolfe got more free press — three front-page articles and multiple columns in the largest daily paper and free exposure on major TV stations — than Mitt Romney and that Wolfe spent money on robocalling while the Obama campaign did no overt campaigning, then I'd say it wasn't so bad.
IF, he actually still has a majority after all the votes are in.
Obama got 89 percent of the early Democratic vote in Pulaski County, if that tells you anything about anything. Maybe that the local newspaper's true base are Hog fans in the sticks?
UPDATE: With 38,000 votes counted at 9 p.m. according to the secretary of state, Obama was up 63-37 with an 8,000-vote lead, about 4,800 of those from Pulaski's early vote.
RE COUNTING THE VOTE: The secretary of state put up a nice website. As I figured, results were slow to come in. AP results were far ahead. Pulaski County, the usual screwup. They went solely with the SOS system on the web and it wouldn't update. Oddly, you could reach their summary through a mobile link. It had later numbers.