Live Blog: Joe Biden wins the US Presidential Election 2020
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has tweeted to congratulate Joe Biden on his win.
Congratulations to @JoeBiden on winning the presidential election in a record turnout. And to @KamalaHarris; the first female, black and Indian-American to hold the country’s 2nd highest office. Look forward to working with you to build on the strong links between Wales and USA.
— Mark Drakeford (@fmwales) November 7, 2020
Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies has also weighed in:
Llongyfarchiadau i @JoeBiden a @KamalaHarris ar ennill yr etholiad yn glir yn yr Unol Daleithiau. Congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris for clearly winning the election in the United States. I have no doubt that the special relationship with the UK will continue.
— Paul Davies MS/AS (@PaulDaviesPembs) November 7, 2020
As well as Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price:
Here’s one US citizen in Wales who’s very happy just now. Too young for an absentee ballot – thankfully it wasn’t needed! Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris and thank you America for putting so many smiles on so many faces across the world today🇺🇸🏴🏳️🌈🇺🇳 pic.twitter.com/sUBeYpdMGA
— Adam Price (@Adamprice) November 7, 2020
Well, at long last, the first major network has called it – ABC news has declared that Joe Biden has won the Presidential election. They have been followed quickly by CNN, where Van Jones is in tears.
It seems to have been the inevitability of a Joe Biden win in Pennsylvania which has sealed the deal.
President-elect Biden will be the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris the first female Vice President.
More evidence that Biden is going to win in Nevada. Clark County ballots are in, and Joe Biden has doubled his lead to 22,000 votes.
It may well be moot now but Arizona has released a new 60,000 tranche of votes and while it closes the gap between Trump and Biden, it only does so by around 3,000 votes of the 50,000 between them. Trump probably isn’t on track to close the gap between them. There are 220,000 uncounted votes left.
Joe Biden’s digital director as reports come in that he had won the Presidency:
— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) November 6, 2020
For context, Donald Trump’s campaign director called their campaign the ‘Death Star’.
It’s difficult sometimes in Wales to appreciate the scale of some of these areas we’re talking about in the US. So here is Pennsylvania in context. if Philadelphia was Cardiff then Joe Biden’s home town of Scranton would be Y Bala.
You can play around with this yourself on the True Size website.
Biden now leads in states worth 306 electoral votes, which would be two more than Donald Trump won in 2016 and which he called a ‘landslide’ at the time.
He leads in:
Georgia (99% in): Biden +1,097
Pennsylvania (95%): Biden +5,587
Nevada (89%): Biden +11,438
Arizona (90%): Biden +47,052
It’s also a big, historical moment as Kamala Harris makes history as the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American person to be elected vice president of the United States.
It’s taken 231 years of men to get to the first woman…
Joe Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania. There’s no stopping him now.
That’s that really – he’s the President-elect.
Not much change to report since this morning as much of the US is only just waking up and going about their day (it’s 5am in Arizona and Nevada). Biden is 20,000 votes behind in Pennsylvania, but Trump’s tally is expected to be wiped out in one fell swoop as more Philadelphia numbers come in. Biden is also creeping up in Georgia, taking the lead by over a thousand votes.
The direction of travel seems clear but one gets the impression that, for the sake of the ratings, the media are waiting until everyone is up and plonked in front of their TVs before declaring the race for Biden.
A big moment as Biden takes the lead for the first time in Georgia:
Biden: 49.39.% ( 2,449,371 votes)
Trump: 49.37% ( 2,448,454 votes)
I suspect that taking Georgia will make the Democrats feel quite differently about the election overall, if they can maintain their advantage there. It also gives Biden an effective cushion against Trump falsely challenging results elsewhere. There are too many fires burning for Trump to put out at the moment.
Things have continued to move in Joe Biden’s favour overnight. On their present trajectories both Nevada and Pennsylvania are essentially certain for him, or as certain as states can be while the votes are still being counted.
Biden was of course already leading in Nevada, but the Trump lead has been cut in Pennsylvania to 22,576 with more than 170,000 votes still to count, more than 50,000 of them in Philadelphia which is heavily pro-Democrat.
Meanwhile, Biden has maintained a lead in Arizona by 47,052 and it doesn’t look like Trump is getting the numbers he needs there to close the gap. Trump’s lead in Georgia is also down to only 665 votes.
It could take a few days yet to untangle all of this – particularly in Georgia if the margin is in the hundreds. But if Biden can score a clear win in Pennsylvania in the next few hours, that’s the ball game.
But after Donald Trump’s news conference last night in which he falsely claimed without evidence that he was winning easily, Biden will be hoping to get over the line in a few states so that the result can’t be contested.
Joe Ralston, Editor of the Nevada Independent and very much ‘Mr. Elections in Nevada’ has called the state for Joe Biden. Others have not yet followed, perhaps because they earlier called Arizona for Biden too, and a hiccup there means that it’s still in the balance. Calling Nevada for Biden, therefore, would mean essentially saying that Joe Biden has 270 Electoral Votes and could be a ‘Dewey defeats Truman’ moment if things go wrong in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Those last three states look like they’re going to be decided by quite thin margins by US standards. The uncertainty with Arizona is that despite Biden being some 80,000 votes ahead the final votes to come in could be quite Republican-leaning. In Pennsylvania and Georgia, there is the opposite issue which is that Trump is ahead but the final votes coming in look like they will be very Biden-leaning.
What do North Wales, Lower Gwynedd, Lower Merion, Upper Merion, Narberth, Bala Cynwyd, Radnor, Berwyn, Haverford, Tredyffrin and Uwchlan have in common? They are towns in Montgomery, Chester and Delaware Counties, part of the ‘Welsh Tract’ of Pennsylvania.
They may prove decisive over the next day or so in swinging the US election towards Joe Biden as they’re some of the final counties in the west of the state whose mail-in ballots are expected to put the Democrats over the top there.
The narrative of this race is around an extremely close election which is still in the balance. But in fact, Joe Biden has done extremely well historically, with the highest vote share of someone running against an incumbent President since Franklin D Roosevelt in 1932.
What is responsible for the electoral college tightness is just how much it favours the Republicans in small rural states (smaller states get an automatic three votes despite their tiny population), and also how geographically politically divided the US has become with much of the Democratic vote in very large urban states on the coast.
As an example of the latter point, when Reagan won 50.7% of the vote against Cartrer in 1980 the map showed an absolute landslide in the electoral college. Joe Biden is currently due to win around 53%.
Well, having to put day as well as time stamps on the blog is an indication of where we’re at – the count drags on in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona!
Meanwhile, Joe Biden sits on 253 officially declared electoral college votes. Pennsylvania has 20, Georgia has 16, Arizona 11 and Nevada six.
Pennsylvania alone would put Biden over 270 electoral college votes but clearly he would like to win as much as possible. Any combination of the others would also put him over the top. Just Georgia would put him on 269!
The US is sleeping right now and we’re not expected to receive any new vote numbers until the country wakes up. In the case of Nevada and Arizona, which are eight hours behind us, that’s around 6pm our time.
In Georgia, Biden needs around 64% of the remaining votes to win. The remaining vote is expected to be quite blue, but Trump is still expected to win there.
Biden remains ahead in Arizona and Nevada, by about 60,000 in Arizona but only 8,000 in Nevada, so it’s a case of seeing whether any remaining votes swing things away from him.
Meanwhile, Biden is expected to win Pennsylvania quite comfortably, once all the votes are counted. There are some 750,000 heavily Democratic votes left to count and Trump leads by fewer than 200,000.
So I would say that Pennsylvania is pretty certain, Nevada and Arizona semi-certain, but Georgia still more unlikely. So the final result might something like Biden 290, Trump 248.
Clearly, Biden would like as big a cushion as possible as Trump is likely to try and overturn every tight result through recounts and potentially litigation.
What has stopped any shenanigans so far is that Biden is behind in Pennsylvania and Georgia but ahead in Nevada and Arizona, so it’s difficult for the Republicans to articulate any particular ‘Stop counting!’ or ‘Keep counting!’ message. That might change if any particular combination of states do declare for Trump first.
But with three states leaning towards him, one very strongly, and just one leaning against but still up for grabs, the counting would have to go quite calamitously from here on in for Biden to lose the election.
CNN have just called Michigan for Joe Biden. He now needs Arizona and Nevada or Pennsylvania to get over the line. Georgia remains a less likely backup option.
Psephologist Nate Cohn of the New York Times is suggesting that Biden should win Pennsylvania. The situation in Arizona will continue to be unclear until around 2am our time.
This blog has been running for near 24 hours now but I’m afraid it could be another 24 hours until it can be said with complete certainty that Biden is the President-elect.
If Trump has managed to hold on it could be Friday as he holds on to Nevada or Arizona eeks out a lead in Pennsylvania.
It looks like Arizona is back in play with some real uncertainty about the nature of the ballots left to be counted. They are absentee ballots but late ones, which tend to favour Republican voters.
If Donald Trump does clinch Arizona – after Associated Press which is usually quite conservative in its calls named Biden the winner this morning – then it turns the race upside down to a large extent.
Biden goes from already having effectively won the contest to needing another big state. Trump would then have a not-impossible path to the Presidency through North Carolina, Georgia and then Pennsylvania.
At the end of the day, it looks like it will all come down to Pennsylvania, as was predicted right from the very beginning.
Biden has won Wisconsin by 20,697 votes. All the ballots there have now counted, officials say.
There is some question about Arizona however where it was thought Biden had won, but because of a data error, there are more votes left to count than formerly thought.
All eyes now on Michigan, Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania… any two of those five would be enough for Biden.
The Democratic Party have briefed the press on how they see things panning out in the remaining states. They had two main messages which were ‘Biden will win the election’ and ‘We think it is possible that Biden will still go way beyond 270’.
They said that they expected to win Wisconsin, Nevada, Michigan and Pennsylvania, while they considered Georgia a ‘toss-up’ and North Carolina a possible win but one that was leaning towards Trump.
Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia would be announced today, they said, and Nevada tomorrow. North Carolina and Pennsylvania would take several days, they suggested.
It’s possible therefore that Biden would be confirmed as President-elect today, if Georgia falls his way. Otherwise, it may be a wait for the Nevada results.
While Biden supporters will no doubt let out a sigh of relief that he has likely secured enough electoral college votes to become President, his margin only adds up to 271 electoral votes.
That would be one of the slimmest margins ever, only matched by George W. Bush in the year 2000 (and we all know how that went). It’s likely therefore that Biden will be hoping for more to give him a decent cushion and avoid Trump sending in the lawyers and demanding recounts in close states.
Joe Biden is now ahead in Michigan. This is the first time he’s been ahead in enough states to net him 270 electoral votes. If that lead holds – and given it is Democratic-leaning absentee ballots still being counted that is likely – he has won.
All he needs to do now is maintain those leads in Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada and the Presidency is his. Pennsylvania and Georgia could give him another big boost.
Not much has happened over the past hour as the count continues in Michigan and Wisconsin. It currently looks like Biden will win both based on the last remaining vote to come in being mostly Democrat-leaning absentee ballots.
If he wins both and Nevada holds steady for him (there’s a similar dynamic there although the race has already been called for Biden) then he’s got the 270 electoral votes in the bag.
And Pennsylvania and Georgia are still up for grabs.
If Biden wins, one thing we may come to appreciate in hindsight is that it’s really, really hard to get rid of an incumbent President. Only Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George HW Bush haven’t managed it since WW2, and Ford never won a first election.
Biden is now up 52.47% to 45.21% against Trump in Minnesota. The polls had him at 53% to 44%. When all the votes are counted across the mid west it may turn out that they didn’t get the election that far wrong. It’s just that early perceptions of a Trump surge, and whatever went wrong in Florida, skewed perceptions very early. Unfortunately for the US polling industry, the die may be cast to a certain extent, however.
I think there is delineated a concern however that there is so much focus on polls in the run up to the election that they may well be influencing how people vote. In both the last two elections voters have been told Clinton and Biden were a dead cert to win. What does that do to turnout in super-marginal seats?
Nevada which was previously considered something of a lock for Biden is having something of a wobble with Trump back within 8k votes.
However, much of the votes are still to come in from a heavily Democratic county and are mail-in votes which should favour Biden.
If everything pans out in Nevada and across the mid-west, this election, for all the drama, may turn out largely as expected in terms of the states that are red and blue – and much of the drama will have been caused by the early on the day Trump votes and the later surge in absentee Democratic ballots.
Biden is now narrowing the gap in Michigan too as the absentee votes come in. He has closed the gap from 245,850 to just 70,200 in the last hour. It is squeaky bum time there but if he pulls off Michigan as well as Wisconsin he could be President-elect by lunchtime. Fail in Michigan however – and there are still some majority Trump counties outstanding – and it looks like he is facing a tougher job in Georgia and Pennsylvania to get the job done.
Psephologist Nate Silver currently places Biden’s odds of winning at ‘around 83%’ although given that there’s clearly been quite a big polling error I’m not sure how much faith to put in him at the moment.
Is the American mid west the new Carmarthenshire?
Reminds me of the Welsh devolution referendum in 98, this does. Ah, those were the days. 🏴
— Glen O’Hara (@gsoh31) November 4, 2020
Fact check: The referendum was in 1997.
It’s starting to look like the mirror image of 2016 in the mid-west where the Democrats are now eeking out what currently look like very narrow victories across Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania based on their strength in absentee ballots.
It was broadly predicted that we would see a ‘blue shift’ in these states as the absentee votes were counted. We will have to see whether they will be enough.
A clear result in Wisconsin and Michigan (and a possible boost in Georgia) would be very helpful to Democrats after Trump’s declaration of victory, as Pennsylvania could be a more protracted process and ripe for interference.
Biden has pulled ahead in Wisconsin by the slimmest of margins and there are still outstanding urban absentee ballots to come in, which are expected to be overwhelmingly Democratic. A similar dynamic is in play in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
If Biden wins any two of these three he’s won and has the Georgia result to come. However, it must be stressed that *tiny* margins could make the difference between losing, a very narrow win and quite a healthy one here.
It may not make much of a difference in the long run but unless there’s a huge dump of Democratic ballots in the last 5% of the vote there sees to have been a big polling error here – 538 had Biden winning Wisconsin by 8%.
While Wales has woken up it’s currently 4am in Michigan where we’re expecting some decisive results to come through. Essentially Biden now has two paths to the Presidency:
1) Win two of Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania
2) Win Georgia, and one of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania
At the moment he could well do all four, or he could narrowly lose all of them. Until we start seeing those absentee ballot numbers in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania it’s hard to call.
In other news:
2020 in one sentence… pic.twitter.com/Ur13tPhl1A
— Roger Awan-Scully (@roger_scully) November 4, 2020
I’m not sure I entirely agree with this take.
— Wyre Davies (@WyreDavies) November 4, 2020
The one remarkable thing about the race from a polling point of view is how steady it has been, with the present result – whatever it will be – largely baked in all year, if not before then. There may have been a -2 to -3 polling error so the horizontal lines may have been in the wrong place but they still haven’t moved much.
I think people who were concerned about Trump’s competence were probably concerned a long time before the pandemic came along. It hasn’t been a huge surprise and just hardened opinions on both sides.
We’re back! So what happened while we were away? Well, not much from an electoral point of view, which probably justified my decision to have two hours’ sleep before taking the kids to school.
I started this blog by saying ‘It’s 2020 – anything can happen!’ and it seems like 2020 is doing a 2020, at least in terms of the politics swirling around this election. Donald Trump has claimed victory and called for a stop on counting ballots in those states where he’s ahead – but not those where he’s currently behind. Both utterly predictable and chilling that it has come to this.
In terms of the electoral votes, however, on paper Biden is in a strong position: He’s won Nevada, Arizona and NE-2, and is currently the favourite to win Georgia although it is extremely close there. All he needs now are two of three midwestern states to fall for him, something that – based on the polling at least – should be very doable unless there’s been a historically large polling error in Trump’s favour.
All very promising for Biden then, but as we know this is 2020 and anything can happen.
I think Arizona is the last swing state that is going to be called tonight. Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania are going to take much of tomorrow or even beyond to count all their ballots.
As a result, I don’t think there’s much point carrying on with this blog for now – better to pick things back up in the morning.
At the moment and if the Arizona result holds I would say that Biden is an 70/30 favourite to win. We’re left in a weird spot where the map as it currently looks is the one that most reasonable people would have suggested before the election began – but Biden supporters must feel like they’ve been through agony to get here.
There’s no certainty that Biden will pick up those final midwest states, of course. But things are looking much better for him than they were a few hours ago.
But what we’re hearing about Trump’s increased vote in rural areas of Ohio suggests he can still definitely thread that needle to the Presidency, despite the blow of losing Arizona.
Has Wales come through for Joe Biden? Lackawanna County, which includes Scranton, Joe Biden’s birthplace and a magnet for Welsh coal miners and their descendants, has gone for him by almost 10,000 votes.
Well, well: Fox News has just called Arizona for Joe Biden. That is a big win for him, the first there for the Democrats since 1996, and if correct dramatically increases his odds of winning the presidency. All he would essentially need now is a few of the midwest states where he is heavily favoured to fall his way.
It looks like Democratic candidate Mark Kelly has won the Arizona seat in the US Senate. He is a former astronaut and husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who survived an attempted assassination in 2011. That’s a promising sign for Biden – if he wins Arizona he may not even need Pennsylvania.
The polls have now closed in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
So what do we know at this point? It’s certainly not going to be a Biden landslide. The most likely Biden path to the Presidency, through Arizona (where things currently look promising for him) and Pennsylvania (where very few votes have been counted) still looks quite plausible. But at best it looks like a narrow Biden win from some 290 electoral votes or so, rather than the blowout some polls had suggested.
It currently looks quite certain that he will win the popular vote by some 4%, but of course, it’s not the popular vote that matters but the extremely tight margins in multiple swing states.
By this point in 2016 there was quite some certainty that Donald Trump had won. I’m starting to think it would be easier to be put out of our misery and get a result, one way or another!
Having been earlier left for dead, it seems that Joe Biden’s hopes in both Georgia and North Carolina are not completely over. Large parts of Atlanta are still expecting their votes to be counted and it appears that Biden has done considerably better than Hillary Clinton there. In North Carolina, the race remains close and not all mail ballots have been counted. There have also been reporting errors in the New York Times’ coverage of North Carolina that undercounted some Democratic votes.
It’s fair to say that there are mixed messages coming out of the midwest at the moment. A lot seems based on incomplete data from which people are extrapolating across entire states. There has been some suggestion that Biden may be underperforming Hillary in areas with lots of non-college-educated voters in Ohio, while overperforming in areas with lots of college-educated voters. The issue for Pennsylvania might be that there are many such counties in the state, particularly in the west of the state. It should be emphasised however that there are unlikely to be any solid results from Pennsylvania for some time.
While things continue to look fairly positive for Biden in the midwest, there is also some good news eeking out of Arizona, which the Democrats have not won since 1996.
Biden has a decently big lead in the state’s most populated county, Maricopa, which has a population larger than Wales at about 4m. Trump won it in 2016.
It does not mean that he is certain to win there but he’s leading among over half the state’s population.
I popped into Twitter for a look at it seems to be very gloom and doom among Biden supporters. Perhaps understandable after 2016, with many muttering about polling errors. But with Ohio extremely close there doesn’t seem to have been a significant polling error in the midwest which has always been Biden’s main path to victory (Florida, Georgia and North Carolina were always in the ‘reach’ category).
Things may yet go belly up for Biden very quickly if there is bad news from the midwest but if not it looks like he should still win.
Essentially, so far there’s nothing to suggest that Biden’s path to the Presidency is any less viable than it was three hours ago. It’s just that the Florida result has scared Democrats silly and given Republicans renewed hope, which given that it was always an extremely tight state and the deciding factor so localised and unexpected may not be entirely rational.
We are still waiting for any good, reliable data out of the midwest states, however. But currently, while it’s clear this won’t be a Biden landslide there is nothing *yet* to suggest polling has been wrong where it will really count – such as Pennsylvania – and there is plenty for Biden to be positive about in some places he was not expected to win, such as Ohio.
The Biden campaign speaks, to say that they’re not worried and that Miami in Florida was something of an outlier and that Hispanics in other parts of the country are likely to vote differently. They were encouraged by their gains in Florida’s suburbs and believe they bode well for the rest of the country.
Of course, they are unlikely to say that they are worried at this point.
Wisconsin has just announced that the final results from the presidential election will not be done earlier than 10am our time.
With some of the faster-counting southern states beyond Biden’s reach, it looks like this race may well be decided not tonight but in the morning here or in a few days.
Some have also raised concerns about what Biden bombing with Hispanics might mean for the Democrats’ hopes in Arizona and Nevada – the latter being an absolutely must-win state they even got in 2016.
While things look more positive in the midwest, it looks like we’re in this for the long haul!
Fox News are calling the House of Representatives for the Democrats. They already held it of course and were heavily favoured to do so. The Senate was a much tougher battle, and as the Presidential election tightens may be slipping out of reach.
Looks like Biden is doing as badly among Hispanic voters in parts of Texas as he did in Florida. Who expected that to be the story of the night? In 2016 we had a huge amount of focus on the Obama to Trump working-class white voters – I wonder if we going to see a similar flurry of books, op-eds and articles on the concerns of Clinton to Trump Hispanic voters?
It also rather drives off course the Democrats’ argument that demographic chance would naturally deliver the sun belt for them as well.
The polls have now closed in Michigan, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, New York and Wisconsin. Of those, Michigan, Arizona and Wisconsin are key swing states for Joe Biden.
Democrats say they are happy with the way the race is going so far, despite – it now seems almost certain – losing Florida. It has been suggested that a similar dynamic will play out to the 2018 mid-term elections, where they did poorly in Florida at the start of the night then largely as expected elsewhere.
Currently, the numbers coming out of Ohio, Pennsylvania and suburbs of Atlanta in North Carolina look good for the Democrats, but it’s still very early. If Biden narrowly misses out on Ohio and North Carolina, the race may well drag on for a few days if it comes down to Pennsylvania.
It doesn’t look like it at the moment, so we’re stuck with Italy.
If Georgia goes for Biden I say we let them join the 6Nations
— Graham Love (@glove931) November 4, 2020
So, at this point in 2016 the Democrats were having a little bit of a nervous breakdown after both losing Florida and seeing very bad data come in from the midwest. I think it’s fair to say that for the moment we’re not seeing that, with the data looking reasonable for Biden across the so-called ‘rust belt’. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic leading to a big rise in absentee voting it is very difficult to know how representative the early information is.
There also seems to be some disagreement between different news sources at the moment. For instance, the New York Times currently have Trump as the favourite in George and North Carolina (two states that were always going to be very tight) while the BBC have just declared that the data there is looking bad for the incumbent. It’s possible the BBC are simply looking at the numbers as they come in rather than county by county comparisons, of course.
Some evidence that the polling miss in Florida may not be replicated elsewhere. Joe Biden is ahead by 10% in New Hampshire, a state where the different kinds of votes are counted at the same time, which is essentially precisely where the polls put him. That may give him hope in the key not-too-far-away state of Pennsylvania where the polls put him 5% ahead.
Kellyanne Conway, the former White House counsellor, has said that Donald Trump will speak from the East Room of the White House tonight. Biden might want the midwestern states to put the result beyond doubt before then.
One slight oddity in all of this has been Virginia. It was called for Joe Biden very early in the night, just after polls closed. It used to be considered something of a swing state and won by Republicans as recently as 2004, and was called very late four years ago. Have demographic changes made calling the state a matter of routine or does it suggest some Biden strength along the east coast? The New York Times also has Biden as the favourite in North Carolina, which was thought to be more of a reach than Florida.
Well, that was an eventful hour! We said that we would have a good idea by 1.30am if it was time for Democrats to panic, and one half of the 2016 panic jigsaw is in place which is a very likely loss in Florida. However, given the circumstances there – a big Hispanic pro-Trump blowout – it’s very difficult to know if similar factors play out in other key states.
What happened in 2016 at this point was that after losing Florida some very ominous numbers began flooding in from rural and ‘rust belt’ USA suggesting that turnout among Trump-supporting white voters was much higher than expected. Ohio has now closed and Pennsylvania. We’ll hopefully know more in a few minutes.
Trump is currently predicted to win Florida by 3% which would be around a 5% polling miss by sites such as 538, which had Joe Biden ahead by around 2%.
Even that big a polling miss, however, would likely give Biden victory in the states he needs. The question in Florida, however, is how much the issue is a localised one because of Biden’s unexpected problems with Hispanic voters where he is down some 11 points on 2016.
The number coming in from Florida so far suggest that Biden is doing better with white voters and seniors than Hillary, but much, much worse with Hispanic voters.
That is very bad news in Florida and means that Trump is now favourite to win the state. But the strength with white and seniors could bode well for other states such as North Carolina where there are, obviously, fewer Hispanic voters.
Things aren’t looking as hopeful for Biden in Florida as expected after disappointing results in Miami-Dade county, perhaps because he has done worse than Clinton with Latino voters.
I said earlier not to pay much attention to early votes as they were likely to be very good for Biden. But it’s worth paying attention to ones that were supposed to be good for Biden but aren’t as expected.
There is concerning news in Georgia as well where a burst water pipe means that 1/10th of the results, in Democrat-leaning Atlanta, will be four hours behind schedule.
Uh-oh, the New York Times’ much-hated needles of doom that slowly crept over to squeeze the life out of Hillary Clinton’s hopes in 2016 are back.
It’s currently showing Trump ahead in Florida but Biden winning North Carolina and Georgia, which would be a reversal of what was generally expected. Give it time and data.
It’s worth pointing out that a Biden win in any of these states would point to a clean victory, however.
The first votes from Florida are starting to come in. Based not on these but rather the turnout, 538 psephologist Nate Silver (think an America Roger Awan-Scully) has just said that “We’ll probably end up just to the Biden side of the line.” Make of that what you will!
The New York Times has called Kentucky for Trump and Vermont for Joe Biden – both essentially a formality as deep red and deep blue states. The last polls have now closed in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia, and a few in Florida.
So it begins!
Voting stations have started closing across Florida and Georgia and we should start to see the totals being tallied up very quickly. If Florida shows a Biden victory, in as little as an hour and a half we could have a good idea who will be the next president – or if Trump wins, we’re in for a longer night.
It’s quite concerning to see serious news channels such as CNN making much of very partials results coming in from places like Kentucky. I know they have time to fill before Florida polling stations close, but it doesn’t bode well for when more important results start trickling in as early results could heavily favour one candidate over another depending on whether they come from polling stations or absentee ballots. If the case of Pennsylvania, if the state proves decisive, much political mischief could be created.
We haven’t had many tenuous Wales-USA related facts on the blog so far to make it more relevant to our audience. So as we await some concrete results from Florida on the hour we’d better ‘stick a leek on it’ as they (well I) say.
Professor Daniel G Williams of Swansea University notes that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida was built by a man of Welsh descent, Joseph Edward Davies.
Joe Biden was, of course, brought up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, one of the US’ Welshest cities on account of the coal industry there attracting a large number of Welsh workers.
I am 1/8th American as my great-grandfather was born in Colorado.
That’s enough random Welsh-USA facts, I think.
The Hiraeth podcast are recording their own live discussion of the night which you can catch up on here:
Even in Florida where things are moving very quickly, it could take some time for a full picture to emerge. For instance, it is expected that some more Democrat areas, such as Broward County, will declare their ballots at midnight our time. I recall a lot of excitement among Democrats in 2016 as the early results came in, only for those to be off-set soon after as big Trump majorities came in from the panhandle and more rural areas.
Even the first results from deep-red Kentucky, with 5% of the votes declared, are showing Biden ahead by 67% to 32% – very likely for a similar reason which is that more urban areas are reporting first.
Turnout data for Florida indicates that it is going to be an extremely tight result there, but that voting by Republican registered voters has waned somewhat as the day has gone on while voting by Democrats have strengthened. Republican registered voters ate still ahead on ‘on the day’ voting but Democrats are expected to have a lead in the absentee ballots, and that combined with a predicted majority for Joe Biden among independents could carry the state for him.
But it’s squeaky bum time. Again if Biden wins it could be a very short night before we know who will be the next President, if he loses marginally it could be a very long night – or week.
The very first polling stations have begun to close in Kentucky and Indiana, two solidly red states, although results here could roughly indicate how things will pan out elsewhere.
It may seem mad from our point of view that polling stations anywhere would begin closing at 6pm! The rules have been condemned as a form of voter suppression that discriminates against younger, working people but campaigners have not yet succeeded in changing them.
One county in Georgia is keeping polls open for an extra two hours after having technical problems this morning.
CBS News is citing an internal Biden camp source saying that they are confident in Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia, but that Florida is a ‘toss up’.
Biden only really ‘needs’ Pennsylvania to become President of course. But my advice from covering elections is to take anything any campaign says while polls are still open with a very hefty pinch of salt. They will very often start saying completely different things the second they close.
My daughter’s suggestion seems to be going down quite well on Twitter:
I asked my 8yo daughter who would win the US Presidential election. ‘Mark Drakeford.’ Seems unlikely based on current polling, but it is 2020.
— Ifan Morgan Jones (@ifanmj) November 3, 2020
Although some are suggesting that the First Minister may not be able to stomach the processed cheese.
As well as plenty of significance to look out for in this election there will also be plenty to ignore. I’ve been watching people on Twitter confidently extrapolate the final vote in Florida based on the number of ballots cast in different parts of the state since an hour after voting opened. These are mainly just messages to try and cajole their own sides to the polls and keep spirits up.
Even after the voting booths close early data could be very misleading, in either direction, because some states will have already counted the bulk of absentee ballots or will not have even begun. In North Carolina, for instance, much of the absentee ballot counting has already taken place so people might start screaming about a Biden landslide before the ‘on the day’ Republican vote begins to eek out.
On the other hand, Pennsylvania could see a lot of early Trump-friendly data because they will not start counting absentee ballots until after the polls close. That means ‘on the day votes’ which lean Republican are likely to be tallied first.
The state that will combine both quick absentee data and on the day votes is Florida, so keep an eye on that state, see how it goes and then wait for other results to eek out over the following hours would be my advice.
Just saw this tweet:
So when do we find out??
— Sian Harries (@sianharries_) November 3, 2020
My advice would be that if you want a good idea of which way the wind is blowing, we might know between 1am-2am. That is when the data from Florida will be adding up to a conclusive picture and solid information will be coming in from across the ‘rust belt’.
It was at about 1.30am in 2016 that the Democrats ‘freaked out’ as they realised they had lost Florida and the rust belt was slipping away from them – and with it the presidency.
To break it down, there are essentially four different possible outcomes here:
1.) The polls are underestimating Biden’s support. This may be the case as they shifted their methodology after the 2016 error to weigh much more on the basis of education. But if fewer Trump voters turn up or they decide to vote Democratic in sufficient numbers, Biden could overshoot his poll numbers and even win states such as Texas, Georgia and Ohio which currently seem out of reach.
2.) The polls are about right. If so Biden either wins Florida or loses it by a very slim margin and is doing sufficiently well elsewhere, particularly in the rust belt states, to point to a relatively comfortable victory.
3.) The polls are wrong by a 2016 margin. If this is the case it’s likely that Biden would still win but it could come down to a nail-biting finish in Pennsylvania played out over some days and with plenty of politics and possible legal battles thrown into the mix. We could see a constitutional crisis and the Supreme Court involved for the second time this century.
4.) The polls are spectacularly wrong by a margin unheard of in modern US elections, and Donald Trump eeks out a victory by winning Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and possible victories in Michigan and Wisconsin too. According to 538’s election forecast, there is an about 10% chance of this, so it’s not impossible by a long shot.
A Joe Biden win in a state like Florida would likely make this a short night for those without a massive interest in the election, as Trump really needs Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohia, North Carolina and everything up to those states to stand a chance of taking Pennsylvania and crossing 270 electoral college votes.
If Donald Trump wins however the night is going to develop in much more slow motion. Arizona doesn’t close until 2pm Wales-time. And as already mentioned below, Pennsylvania could take days to count all its absentee ballots and it could be very close there.
If Trump looks likely to win however we may well know by around 4am our time.
Here in Wales we’re exactly five hours in front of the east coast of the USA, where most of the states that are going to decide the election are located. So here’s a brief timeline of events over the next few hours:
11pm here – 6pm EST
The polls close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky and the results start rolling in. Neither of these states are likely to be up for grabs tonight – they’re solid Trump. But if Trump has a poorer or stronger showing than expected it could tell us how things are likely to go across the so-called ‘rust belt’ that makes up states that are extremely important such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
12pm here – 7pm EST
At this point the polls will start closing in many states across the east coast including, crucially, Florida and Georgia. These votes are likely to be counted very fast and if Joe Biden has a clear lead in Florida the TV stations could start calling the presidency for him within a few hours. Trump essentially has no path to the presidency without Florida. In 2016 we knew which way the wind was blowing by around 1.30am Wales-time.
If Joe Biden wins Georgia too, where polls have indicated the race could be close, we are into landslide territory.
If it looks like Biden is going to lose both, then we may be in for a very long haul as some other key states such as Pennsylvania could take days to count their votes.
12.30pm here – 7.30pm EST
At this point another possible swing state in the ‘rust belt’, Ohio, will close the voting booths. Ohio has looked out of reach for Joe Biden and again he doesn’t need it to claim the presidency, but if it’s tight or he’s ahead then again he has likely won easier pickups like Pennsylvania and Michigan.
North Carolina will also close shop at this point – another potential Biden gain from 2016 if he’s having a spectacular blow-out, but again a state he may not need to reach 270 electoral votes.
1am here – 8pm EST
At this point the polls will close in 16 states as well as the District of Columbia, including Pennsylvania and the rest of Florida. By this point a lot of the vote in Florida will be in and if Joe Biden has carried the state it may be Game Over for Donald Trump. If he hasn’t it will be all eyes on Pennsylvania which is probably the state both need to win to claim the presidency.
Pennsylvania is an odd one because officials aren’t allowed to start counting absentee ballots until the polls close, which could mean we see a sudden surge of Trump votes tallied (as Republicans are more likely to vote in person) and then a slow trickle of Democratic ballots counted through the next few days.
Some have speculated that if it comes down to Pennsylvania, Trump may attempt to declare victory early, after the votes on the day are counted but before the absentee ballots are.
Texas will also close at this point, usually a solid red state, but if Biden has won there (which looks unlikely) then it will be a historic blow-out unmatched in the last few Presidential elections.
Hello and welcome to the Nation.Cymru 2020 US Presidential Election live blog! It’s Ifan Morgan Jones here, Nation.Cymru’s editor. This is the fourth US Presidential election I’ve liveblogged, but am reminded how long a time four years really is. Back in 2016 there was no Nation.Cymru, for one thing.
When I began the 2016 live blog I said ‘Everyone is predicting a Hillary Clinton win – but of course, Donald Trump still has a good chance’. And we all know how that went.
So I’m going to start this year’s live blog by saying ‘It’s 2020 – anything can happen!’
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.