Razor thin margins for Trump and Biden as White House race nears finish

Polls in a historic US election have started to close, as Donald Trump and Joe Biden prepare to find out who has won the race for the White House.

Several battleground states – including Georgia, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvanian – have seen voting end, but many more “toss up” races are still all to play for.

Counting of today’s in-person votes is now underway, along with the record nearly 99 million ballots submitted before 3 November largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Trump is waiting in the White House to discover if he will get four more years there or become the first one-term president since 1992.

The Republican incumbent admitted earlier losing would not be “easy”, but is still publicly optimistic about his chances.

When will we know the result - and could there be delays?

When will we know the result – and could there be delays?

He said the result should be declared as soon as possible, telling campaign workers at their headquarters in Virginia that: “I think we should know what happens on the night…

“You can’t have these things delayed for many days and maybe weeks, you can’t do that.

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“The whole world is waiting, this country is waiting but the whole world is waiting.”

A "Trump 2020" signs sits in a lot in Sierra Vista, Arizona on November 3, 2020. - Americans were voting on Tuesday under the shadow of a surging coronavirus pandemic to decide whether to reelect Republican Donald Trump, one of the most polarizing presidents in US history, or send Democrat Joe Biden to the White House. (Photo by ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP) (Photo by ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:The US president is hoping to get another four years in the Oval Office

His Democrat challenger is in Wilmington, Delaware, where a podium has already been erected for him to make an “address to the nation” in front of a drive-in rally of supporters.

Mr Biden spent the day in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania – the same state he paid three visits to on Tuesday in a sign of how highly he values its prize of 20 Electoral College (EC) votes.

So bullish is he that the former vice president wrote a note on the wall of the living room in the house he grew up in that said: “From this house to the White House with the grace of God.”

The message written by Joe Biden on a wall in his childhood home in Scranton. Pic: Biden pool/Axios
Image:Mr Biden signed and dated the message on his old living room wall. Pic: Biden pool/Axios

The national early exit poll of 12,600 voters appeared to favour Mr Biden, showing the proportion of white voters is down by 6% to 56% compared to 2016, while the number of college graduates of all ethnicities is up by 5% to 45%.

White non-college educated voters are therefore down by 6% to 33% compared to the last election – potentially problematic for Mr Trump given they were his core vote.

In Georgia, the regional exit poll suggests Mr Biden has won over more white voters – 30% – compared to Hilary Clinton’s 21%, while Mr Trump’s support among them fell from 75% at the last election to 68%.

A Democrat has not won the state since 1992, but Mr Trump last time achieved the lowest share of the vote of any Republican since 1996.

NORCROSS, GA - NOVEMBER 03: Gwinnett county voters including Menar Hague (C) wave Biden-Harris campaign signs at the entrance to Lucky Shoals Park polling station on November 3, 2020 in Norcross, Georgia. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Image:Mr Biden returned to his hometown of Scranton on Tuesday

In Kentucky, another state where polls have closed, the president is holding his vote in rural, small population areas. But in places like Fayette – urban and where 43% have degrees – Mr Biden is currently leading by 73% to 25%.

The figure is expected to change but Ms Clinton only achieved 51% in the same area.

In Ohio, the exit poll shows white non-college educated people made up 53% of voters – up by 10% from 2016. Mr Trump is leading with that group on 58% – but took 63% of them last time.

Ten results have already been projected:

For Mr Trump

  • Indiana (11 EC votes)
  • Kentucky (8 EC votes)
  • Oklahoma (7 EC votes)
  • Tennessee (11 EC votes)

For Mr Biden

  • Vermont (3 EC votes)
  • New Jersey (14 EC votes)
  • Delaware (3 EC votes)
  • Maryland (10 EC votes)
  • Washington DC (3 EC votes)
  • Massachusetts (11 EC votes)
EFFINGHAM, SC - NOVEMBER 03: Voters wait in line to cast ballots at Savannah Grove Baptist Church on November 3, 2020 in Effingham, South Carolina. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Image:Many Americans cast their ballot on Tuesday despite a record nearly 99 million voting early

There was no widespread voting chaos like some feared, though there were a few hinderances.

In Michigan, the attorney general said some constituents received automated calls telling them to “stay home” because of the coronavirus.

“Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote,” she tweeted.

The paths to power for Biden and Trump

The paths to power for Biden and Trump

In North Carolina, polls will stay open up to 45 minutes longer in some areas because they opened late due to “printer issues”.

And the US postal services ordered some sites to “sweep” facilities to “ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery”.

Meanwhile shops and offices in California, Washington DC and New York boarded up their windows for fear of violence breaking out on the streets.

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US election: Why you should care

While all eyes will be on whether Mr Trump or Mr Biden gets the top job, all the seats in Congress and a third of the Senate is also up for election.

Democrats are hoping to increase their majority in the House of Representatives, and flip a minimum of three seats in the US Senate to take control there.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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