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US election on a knife's edge

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The US election is set to go down to the wire, with the presidency hinging on the Midwestern states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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“We believe we’re on track to win this election,”: Biden

Joe Biden has come out and defiantly predicted an election victory.

“Tonight, we believe we’re on track to win this election,” Biden said in Delaware.

“We knew because of the unprecedented early vote in the mail-in vote, that’s going to take a while

“It’s not my place or Donald Trump place to declare who’s won this election, that’s the decision of the American people.

“But I’m optimistic about the outcome.”

Biden also said he was confident of winning Michigan and Wisconsin, and also shouted “we’re gonna win Pennsylvania”.

Meanwhile, the President has weighed in:

Trump’s other tweet tonight, which claimed “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election”, was labelled as misleading by Twitter.

“Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process,” Twitter’s label read. 

US election to come down to Midwest states that may not announce winners till end of the week  

The US election will once again come down to the Midwest, with Trump on track to win the swing states of North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa, while Biden has flipped the state of Arizona and held on to win in Minnesota.

Trump leads in North Carolina by around 80,000 votes, in Ohio by more than 400,000, and in Iowa by more than 100,000.

Biden’s win in Arizona leaves the race poised for a nail-biting finish hinging on the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – all of which are expecting to announce election results late due to a high-level of mail-in ballots.

Some counties in Pennsylvania are not due to start counting mail-in ballots until tomorrow.

Democrats to keep House majority

The Democratic party is projected to maintain a majority in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the US Congress, according to projections from media outlets.

NBC News and Fox News said the Democrats will hold enough seats to keep the majority they won in the 2018 mid-term elections. The extent of the gap over the Republicans is still unclear.

The Democrats used their majority in the House to carry out numerous investigations of the Trump administration, including, most significantly, the impeachment.

While the Democratic majority in the House voted to impeach Trump over allegations he used US aid to Ukraine to push that country to dig up dirt on his rival, Joe Biden, the Republican-held Senate acquitted their party’s leader.

New Hampshire to Biden, Missouri and Louisiana to Trump

Biden has won the state of New Hampshire (4 electoral votes), while Trump has picked up Missouri (10 electoral votes) and Louisianan (8 electoral votes).

Biden’s win in New Hampshire, which is projected to be by a nine-point margin, is a significant improvement on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 victory margin of 0.3 points.

Betting markets move to Trump as North Carolina goes down to the wire

Betting markets across the world have moved in favour of Trump as he solidifies his lead in Florida and remains competitive in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Sportsbet currently has the incumbent President at $1.22 to win the election, while TAB has him at $1.25

North Carolina, where Biden held a polling lead before the election, is currently a toss up, with both candidates locked at 49 per cent each with 84 per cent of the vote counted.

In a positive sign for Republicans, incumbent North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis looks set to retain his seat against Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, although the state’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has secured reelection as well.

Elsewhere in the Senate, Republican Senator from South Carolina Lindsay Graham retained his seat, while former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper overturned the first Senate seat of the night, defeating Republican Senator Cory Gardner.

Election result not likely by tonight: pollsters

Pollsters from US polling website FiveThirtyEight say Trump’s probable win in Florida has made it unlikely we will know the election winner by tonight.

Elections journalist Nathaniel Rakich said a Biden win in Florida could have led to an early race call, but now we are set for a long night.

“I strongly suspect we won’t know the identity of the next president tonight,” Rakich said.

“The number of ‘safe’ electoral votes for Biden and Trump don’t even come close to 270, meaning someone (probably Biden) was going to need to get states like Florida projected for him in order for us to get a call tonight. But now that looks unlikely.”

FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver said the unique demographics of Florida make its results hard to extrapolate nationwide.

“I just think it’s really tricky to get an overall sense of the state of things across the country,” Silver said.

“Florida is likely to go for Trump. Beyond that, the big shift to early and mail voting makes it hard to calibrate models and expectations and hard to know what to think.

“My best guess is that the polling error in Florida may not be as large elsewhere in the country, especially since it seems to have been concentrated among Cuban voters, a group not present in big numbers elsewhere.”

Trump holds strong lead in Florida, other states too close/early to call

President Donald Trump is leading Democratic rival Joe Biden in the vital battleground state of Florida, while other swing states that will help decide the election outcome remain up in the air.

The two contenders split the first US states to be projected in the White House race, with conservative Indiana and Kentucky going to Trump and Democratic-leaning Vermont and Virginia going to Biden, according to projections by television networks and Edison Research.

But in Florida, a must-win state for Trump in his quest for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Trump was leading Biden 50.3 per cent to 48.7 per cent with about 89 per cent reported.

Biden still has multiple paths to the 270 electoral votes he needs without Florida despite having spent lots of time and money trying to flip the state that backed Trump in 2016.

There were no signs of disruptions or violence at polling sites, as some officials had feared.

The winner may not be determined for days.

A third of US voters listed the economy as the issue that mattered most to them when deciding their choice for president while two out of 10 cited COVID-19, according to an Edison Research exit poll on Tuesday.

In the national exit poll, four out of 10 voters said they thought the effort to contain the virus was going “very badly.”

In the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina, battleground states that could decide the election, five of 10 voters said the national response to the pandemic was going “somewhat or very badly.”

The poll found some signs of slippage in support for Trump. In Georgia, Trump was winning with five of 10 white men with college degrees, down from 8 in 10 in 2016, and five in 10 college graduates, down from 7 in 10 in 2016.

Biden, 77, the Democratic former vice president, has put Trump’s handling of the pandemic at the centre of his campaign and has held a consistent lead in national opinion polls over the Republican president.

Opinion polls show Trump, 74, is close enough in several election battleground states that he could repeat the type of upset he pulled off in 2016, when he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton despite losing the national popular vote by about 3 million ballots.

“I’m hopeful,” Biden told reporters in his home state of Delaware.

“What I’m hearing,” Biden added, “is that there’s overwhelming turnout, and overwhelming turnout particularly of young people, of women” and in some states of older black voters – groups expected to favour him.

“I think we’re going to have a great night,” Trump said in Arlington, Virginia where he thanked campaign workers. “But it’s politics and it’s elections, and you never know.”

“Winning is easy. Losing is never easy – not for me it’s not,” Trump added.

Ahead of Election Day, just over 100 million voters cast early ballots either by mail or in person, according to the US Elections Project at the University of Florida.

The total has broken records and prompted some experts to predict the highest voting rates since 1908 and that the vote total could reach 160 million, topping the 138 million cast in 2016.

In anticipation of possible protests, some buildings and stores were boarded up in cities including Washington, Los Angeles and New York. Federal authorities erected a new fence around the White House perimeter.

Among the most closely contested states that are expected to determine the outcome are Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia, with Democrats hoping that Biden may even threaten Trump in states that once seemed certain to go Republican such as Ohio, Iowa and Texas.

Voters on Tuesday will also decide which political party controls the US Congress for the next two years, with Democrats narrowly favoured to recapture a Senate majority and retain their control of the House of Representatives.

-AAP

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