The US election still hangs in the balance despite Donald Trump appearing to have the upper hand in his battle for a second presidential term.
Millions of votes are still to be counted – and may not be counted for days to come – and many will be in the key “battleground” states.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Donald Trump has retained Florida, a “must-win” for his re-election that narrows Joe Biden’s path to victory, as well as Ohio. A Biden landslide is out of the question.
- No states have been “flipped” as projected victories have so far followed the 2016 pattern.
- A Biden victory appears to depend on winning Mid-West states from Trump, namely Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin.
- Arizona could also come into play if Biden takes it from Trump.
- Biden addressing the nation from Delaware, with Trump expected to make a statement from the White House later.
Of the swing states that will likely decide the outcome of the election, Trump was declared the victor in Florida, seen as one of the crucial states with its 29 electoral votes.
And the early counts in battlegrounds including appeared to be going Trump’s way.
Trump had appeared ahead early on in what was for him the must-win state of Florida, with part of his strength in Florida coming from an improved performance relative to 2016 in the state’s counties with large Latino populations.
If Georgia does stay in Trump’s column, as well as Texas – which was seen as an outside shot for Biden and now seems unlikely – focus will move to the states that secured Trump’s unexpected win in 2016.
His victory was predicated on narrowly winning “safe” Democrat states in the Mid-West and dismantling the so-called “blue wall”. Some 79,646 votes made up Trump’s combined margin of victory in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan in 2016.
In 2016, Trump enjoyed a comfortable victory over Clinton in Ohio by nine percentage points, but Biden appeared to be performing better in the state’s suburbs – giving some optimism for Pennsylvania-Wisconsin-Michigan with its similar demographics.
Attention on those states also pushes back the timetable for getting a result – although this was always expected given the massive increase in postal voting as a result of the pandemic.
State leaders in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan have all said they believe they can finish counting by Friday, meaning we could be days away from the election drawing to a close.
For months there were complaints from Democratic Latino activists that Biden was ignoring Hispanic voters and lavishing attention instead on Black voters in big Midwestern cities.
The Biden campaign disputed this but in the weeks leading up to the election, opinion polls in key states showed Biden underperforming with Latinos.
But Biden’s efforts in the Mid-West could be key to victory. Arizona, too, is still in play for Biden and a combination of wins in these states could be enough for him to squeeze a victory and the 270 electoral college seats. In fact, he could lose Pennsylvania but still win Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as Nebraska’s second congressional district, and get to exactly 270.
But in the negative column, Biden still has to defend close-run states including Minnesota and Nevada, which Trump has the chance of flipping.
In short, a lot to play for – and even the prospect of a 269-269 tie is not being ruled out.
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