Politics

US election night hour by hour – all the states to watch as results come in


Voting in the 2020 US election comes to a close on Tuesday, bringing to a close a long, bitter – often dirty fight between incumbent Donald Trump and frontrunner Joe Biden.

But Tuesday night will not be like other election nights.

In 2016, we learned the shock news that Donald Trump had enough electoral college votes to take the White House at about 7.30am the following morning.

But the signs were there much earlier in the evening – when Florida came back for Donald Trump sooner and in a bigger way than expected.

But not this year.

The huge increase in postal voting will slow down the counting process in many states.

And the President himself has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election.

Whatever the outcome, the 2020 election result is more than likely to see the inside of a court room.

And we almost certainly won’t have enough information to know for certain who’s won the election on the night.

But we should have enough information to know whether it’s been a good night for Joe Biden or not.

Here’s what we’re likely to know on the night – and what time we’re likely to know it.

Which of the key states are we likely to see results from on election night?


Some of the key states are likely to be called by network decision desks on the night.

For some of these states, that’s because they have a lower number of postal votes coming in, because state rules allow them to count postal ballots before election day or.

For others, like Florida, it’s because previous elections have been such a fiasco that they’ve got very, very efficient at counting over the years.

Here’s the states you should be watching through the night, along with the times polls close and current polling in each state.

There are a few other states which may be projected on the night – but they’re not considered battleground states.

(All times are UK)

00.00 – Midnight

Florida – 29 electoral votes

No state sends a chill down the spine of election watchers like the state of Florida. For further details, look up Bush vs Gore in 2000 or Google the words “hanging chad”.

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Since the early 1990s, Florida has been the biggest battleground in the United States.

Every Presidential election in Florida since George HW Bush’s victory in 1992 has been won by six points or less. In 2000 it was a matter of 537 votes out of six million cast in the state.

And if Biden wins it convincingly, it will go a long way to putting him in the White House.

Polling: Biden +2

  • Pollster: Florida Atlantic University
  • Dates and sample size: 937 Likely Voters between October 24-25
  • Biden: 50%
  • Trump: 48%

New Hampshire – 4 electoral votes

Donald Trump narrowly lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

And he’s currently at least ten points behind Biden in the state – more if you believe less reliable polls conducted after the second TV debate.

But that hasn’t stopped the President piling time and energy into the Granite State in the closing weeks of the campaign.

New Hampshire is unlikely to go in the President’s column, but it may give an indication of how accurate polling has been this year.

Polling: Biden +10

  • Pollster: Suffolk University
  • Dates and sample size: 500 Likely Voters between October 8-12
  • Biden: 51%
  • Trump: 41%


00.30

North Carolina – 15 electoral votes

While Biden is polling between 1 and 4 points ahead in North Carolina, that doesn’t make it a done deal – most polls have a margin of error of up to four points. That makes the race more or less tied.

Donald Trump hasn’t had a good campaign in the state – it was the site of his disastrous first TV debate, which saw him plunge the event into chaos with endless interruptions and shouting.

But he’s regained ground in the weeks since. He held rallies in the state last weekend and has more planned for this week.

It would be a mistake to discount a Trump win in North Carolina.

Polling: Biden +4

  • Pollster: Public Policy Polling
  • Dates and sample size: 937 Likely Voters between October 26-27
  • Biden: 51%
  • Trump: 47%

01.00

Maine – 4 electoral votes

Main is weird for a number of reasons.

But the main reason it’s weird in an election is that it’s one of only two states that distributes its electoral votes in a different way. Two votes go to the statewide winner, the other two are awarded to the winner of each congressional district.

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Most other states are purely winner-takes-all.

That said, most polls show Biden ahead in both districts – and leading the state overall.

Statewide:

Polling: Biden +13

  • Pollster: Colby College
  • Dates and sample size: 879 Likely Voters between October 21-25
  • Biden: 51%
  • Trump: 38%

First district:

Polling: Biden +22

  • Pollster: Colby College
  • Dates and sample size: 426 Likely Voters between October 21-25
  • Biden: 56%
  • Trump: 34%

Second district:

Polling: Biden +4

  • Pollster: Colby College
  • Dates and sample size: 453 Likely Voters between October 21-25
  • Biden: 46%
  • Trump: 42%

Texas – 38 electoral votes

Joe Biden’s big problem in Texas can be summed up in two words: Fossil fuels.

Biden has pledged to transition the United States away from the use of fossil fuels – particularly oil. And anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Dallas knows how much Texas likes oil.

That said, Trump’s lead in Texas is within the margin of error. If he doesn’t win the lone star state – and it’s far from certain that he will – he’s pretty much done for.

Polling: Trump +4

  • Pollster: Siena College/New York Times Upshot
  • Dates and sample size: 453 Likely Voters between October 20-25
  • Biden: 43%
  • Trump: 47%

Other battleground states which probably won’t declare on the night


Don’t necessarily expect any news from these states on November 3, even if you stay up really late.

But just in case, here’s when polls close and why they’re important.

00.30

Ohio – 18 electoral votes

Trump has extended his lead in Ohio in the closing stages of the campaign – but he’s still within the margin of error in most statewide polls.

The state is especially worth keeping an eye on because of its reputation as a ‘bellwether.’ It’s backed every winning Presidential candidate since 1964.

Polling: Trump +2

  • Pollster: Morning Consult
  • Dates and sample size: 2,721 Likely Voters between October 11-20
  • Biden: 47%
  • Trump: 49%

01.00

Georgia – 16 electoral votes

Georgia has backed a Republican every year since 1992 – but Biden’s increasing lead makes that record seem fragile.

The former VP even launched his final campaign push in the state – labelling the campaign a ’battle for the soul of the nation’.

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Polling: Biden +11

  • Pollster: YouGov
  • Dates and sample size: 1,365 Likely Voters between October 25-27
  • Biden: 54%
  • Trump: 43%

02.00

Wisconsin – 10 electoral votes

What’s so fun about Wisconsin is that it’s both a swing state and extremely volatile.

The latest polling puts Biden massively ahead in Wisconsin – but it should be noted the averages are somewhat lower, around 9 points clear of the President.

Trump won the state by a whisker in 2016. Before that, Wisconsin backed Obama in a big way – by 14 points in 2008 and 7 in 2012.

But John Kerry and Al Gore both carried the state by less than a percentage point.

Polling: Biden +17

  • Pollster: ABC News/Washington Post
  • Dates and sample size: 809 Likely Voters between October 20-25
  • Biden: 57%
  • Trump: 40%

Arizona – 11 electoral votes

Despite his lead being in the margin of error, analysts believe Biden winning Arizona is a real possibility.

As far as the electoral maths go, it’s a nice-to-have for Biden – but Trump needs to hold on to it as he did in 2016 if he’s going to have any chance of getting to 270.

Polling: Biden +3

  • Pollster: OH Predictive Insights
  • Dates and sample size: 716 Likely Voters between October 22-25
  • Biden: 49%
  • Trump: 46%

03.00

Iowa – 6 electoral votes

Trump won Iowa in 2016 by almost 10 points – and it had previously seemed like success in the state was unlikely for the Democrats.

But Biden seems to think he’s in with a chance on Tuesday, with a campaign trip to the state in the closing days of the campaign.

Polling: Biden +4

  • Pollster: RABA Research
  • Dates and sample size: 693 Likely Voters between October 21-24
  • Biden: 50%
  • Trump: 46%

Michigan – 16 electoral votes

Flipping the northwestern industrial corridor – the ‘rust belt’ – was key to Trump’s victory in 2016.

And while Biden’s polling appears to show the former VP well placed to turn the rust belt back to blue – polls in the last election gave Hillary Clinton a decent lead right up to the point where she lost the state by a whisker.

Polling: Biden +7

  • Pollster: ABC News/Washington Post
  • Dates and sample size: 789 Likely Voters between October 20-25
  • Biden: 51%
  • Trump: 44%





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