President Donald Trump narrowly led Democratic rival Joe Biden in the vital battlefield state of Florida on Tuesday while other competitive swing states, such as Georgia and North Carolina, which will help determine the election result, stayed up in the air.
The two competitors split the first U.S. states predicted for the White House race. Conservative states like Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee went after Trump, and democratic-minded Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia went to Biden and Edison Research.
But in Florida, seen by electoral professionals as a must-see for Trump in his quest to find the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win the presidency, Trump led Biden at 50.5% to 48.5%, based on about 90% of the estimated total number of votes. The votes of the electoral college are assigned to each state, based in part on its population.
Part of Trump’s strength in Florida was based on improved performance compared to 2016 in counties in the state with large Latino populations.
Biden was a leader in counties where Hispanics make up more than 20% of the population, but Trump’s vote in those counties was higher than in the 2016 election. More than four in ten Hispanic voters in Florida said one, according to a poll by Edison Research Having cast a ballot for Trump.
77-year-old Biden still has multiple avenues to the 270 electoral college votes he needs to win without Florida, despite spending a lot of time and money turning the state that backed Trump, 74, back in 2016.
Biden took the lead in other battlefields. He led Trump in North Carolina at 52.5% to 46.4%, with 68% of the estimated votes reported. Voting experts have warned that early vote counting in North Carolina could benefit Biden as election officials begin processing postal ballot papers weeks before election day. Reuters / Ipsos polls show that people who have already voted in North Carolina support the Democratic challenger by more than 2 to 1 over the president.
In Ohio, Biden led 55.3% to 43.5% with 43.5% of the estimated votes. And in Texas, Biden led just under 49.4% to 49.3%, with 55% of the estimated votes reported.
Voters, many of whom wore masks and socially distanced themselves to protect themselves against the spread of the coronavirus, flocked to polling stations throughout the day, seeing long lines in some places and short waits in many other places. There was no sign of disturbance or violence at polling stations, as some officials feared.
The winner – who may not be determined for days – will lead a nation ravaged by a pandemic that left more than 231,000 people dead and millions more unemployed, racial tension and political polarization that only worsened during a campaign to have.
Biden, the former Democratic vice president, put Trump’s handling of the pandemic at the center of his campaign and had a constant lead over the Republican president in national opinion polls.
However, a third of US voters named the economy the topic they cared about most when deciding on the president’s election, while two in ten cited COVID-19, according to a poll by Edison Research on Tuesday.
In the national Exit poll, four in ten voters said efforts to contain the virus were going “very badly”. In the battlefield states of Florida and North Carolina, battlefield states that could vote, five out of ten voters said the national response to the pandemic was “somewhat or very bad”.
The poll found that nine out of ten voters had already voted on their election before October, and nine out of ten voters said they were confident that their state would count the votes accurately.
The poll found evidence that Trump was losing support from his core base of supporters in Georgia and Virginia.
Edison’s polls showed Trump won seven out of ten white men in Georgia, eight to ten against Hillary Clinton in 2016. And while Trump won with six out of ten voters who were 65 or older in Georgia, that was less than one seven in ten to four years.
In Virginia, Trump wins six out of ten white men without a college degree in Virginia, from seven to ten in 2016. Trump also wins six out of ten white men in Virginia, from seven to ten in 2016.
Opinion polls show Trump is close enough in multiple campaigning states to replicate the kind of excitement he caused in 2016 when he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton, despite losing the national referendum by about 3 million ballots.
“I’m hopeful,” Biden told reporters in his home state of Delaware after appearing in key state Pennsylvania to address 11th hour voters.
Ahead of election day, just over 100 million voters, according to the US election project at the University of Florida, pretended to be either by mail or in person, amid concerns of overcrowded polling stations during the pandemic and the extraordinary excitement.
The total broke records, leading some experts to predict the highest voting rates since 1908 and that the total number of votes could reach 160 million, surpassing 138 million in 2016.
In anticipation of possible protests, some buildings and businesses in cities such as Washington, Los Angeles and New York have been boarded up. Federal authorities put a new fence around the White House.
A REFERENDUM ABOUT TRUMPF
Supporters of both candidates called the election a referendum on Trump and his tumultuous first term. No US president has lost a re-election offer since Republican George H. W. Bush in 1992.
Voters will also decide on Tuesday which political party will control the US Congress for the next two years, with the Democrats barely in favor of regaining a Senate majority and maintaining control of the House of Representatives.
Trump is aiming for another term after a chaotic four years marked by the coronavirus crisis, an economy ravaged by pandemic shutdowns, impeachment drama, investigations into Russian election disruption, racist tensions in the US and controversial immigration policies.
Biden plans to win the presidency on his third attempt in five decades of political career, including eight years as vice president under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
Biden has re-pledged efforts to tackle the public health crisis, repair the economy and bridge the political divide in America. The country was also rocked that year by months of protests against racism and police brutality.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)