Missouri Finally Calls Its Election

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From TIME’s David Von Drehle:

You can color Missouri red–finally. Half a month after the polls closed, all of the Show Me state’s 114 counties (plus the independent city of St. Louis) have delivered their certified election results to Secrettary of State Robin Carnahan. As expected, Republican John McCain narrowly won the state’s 11 electoral votes.

How narrowly? Out of almost 2.9 million ballots cast, McCain’s edge was 3,632–a skosh above one-tenth of one percent.

Obviously, the final count means nothing in terms of the next presidency. But it’s a bit of a jolt to Missouri pride, because the state has enjoyed an almost-perfect record of picking winners over the past century. The last time Missouri missed was 1956.

The key voting bloc may have been white evangelical voters, who made up nearly 40 percent of the electorate, according to exit polls. They voted more than two-to-one for McCain. Exiit polls also indicated that last-minute deciders tended to choose McCain, just barely lifting him across the finish line.

Missouri officials insisted that their counting procedures were routine. “This is what we do every time–but people were paying attention this time because it was so close,” said Laura Egerdahl, communications director for the secretary of state.