If you're looking for the 2014 midterm results, look no further than the Empire State Building. The illustrious landmark not only serves as the top tourist destination for liberals, but will also be commandeered by CNN on Tuesday evening to show Americans which party has won control of Senate. The GOP hopes to regain control of Congress with a sweeping victory across a number of key battleground states, while the Democrats are fighting to maintain their grip on the Senate and keep the Republicans at bay for the last two terms of President Obama's administration. But don't strain your neck looking at the Empire State Building — this election will be a close one, and we might not know much tonight.
This latest election day hack, cleverly engineered by CNN weeks ago in anticipation for the big night, was described by the cable news network as a veritable "take over" of the skyscraper. In a statement last week, CNN said,
As the Senate results are projected and allocated to candidates, a vertical LED illuminated “meter” located atop the spire of the building will ascend in either red or blue—reflective of the party. Once an illuminated color—red or blue—reaches the top of the spire, that party will take control of the Senate.
So basically, it's like the New Year's Eve ball dropping, but in reverse? The Empire State Building strategy will certainly ensure that New Yorkers are made hyperaware of exactly how tight the races are, and will also allow you to remain politically aware even as you wander around the streets of the city. Technology and politics, you see, are everywhere.
While the Empire State Building may be one of the most visible and public manifestations of election night results, cable news networks and other tech companies are also pushing their data teams into high gear to make sure that Americans remain informed throughout the evening. Here are a few of our personal favorites.
The Magic Wall
Ah yes, John King's giant iPad is back with a vengeance, and while it may not be any bigger than it was the last time it came around in 2012, it's certainly become more interactive. This year, CNN is gamifying the elections by urging viewers and voters to participate in the at-home version of the Magic Wall. As you move your mouse around each state, CNN will tell you who's winning and the percentage of areas reporting — thus far, Kentucky is the only state with any story to tell. Mitch McConnell, unsurprisingly, has a 20-point lead over his Democratic opponent with 1 percent of the state reporting.
To go along with your personal Magic Wall will be John King's live version, which, at eight feet long, is one of the largest interactive screens featured on television today. When it was first introduced in 2008, viewers were delighted by its touchscreen capabilities and, let's be honest, its sheer size. John King will be able to provide all the CNN commentary you want on Tuesday evening on his Magic Wall, and you'll be able to follow along on your miniature version from your computer or your phone.
Fox News' answer to CNN's Magic Wall is the Bill-Board, run by — wait for it — Bill Hemer! Get it?! Operational since 2012, the Bill-Board will monitor exit poll data and determine which candidates are ahead in their various states as the night progresses. The only drawback is that there doesn't appear to be an interactive home version, probably because most of your names' aren't "Bill."
Have a question? Ask Facebook. Say what you will about their data collection policies, but it does make for some pretty amazing — and frighteningly accurate — political maps. In 2010, "likes" on Facebook predicted more than 70 percent of key race results, and it is likely that 2014 will see a repeat performance. During the last midterms, Facebook claims that "74 percent of the candidates with the most Facebook fans won their races," and more impressively, "82 percent of the 34 Senate races that have been decided were won by the candidate with more Facebook fans."
This year, Facebook has released an interactive map in anticipation of the midterms that tracks the changes in number of likes for each candidate. By clicking on a state, you're able to see exactly how each congressional district is discussing and "liking" its various candidates. Thus far, Facebook activity is not looking so hot for the Democrats. If Facebook is to be trusted, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, and Alaska are all going for the GOP. On the bright side, though, Iowa may elect Bruce Braley over Joni Ernst, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire looks poised to defeat former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.
So whichever outlet you choose to watch or follow for your 2014 midterm results, curl up with some popcorn and watch the drama unfold. It's going to be a long night.