The US Election: The Key Facts & Figures

The US Election: The Key Facts & Figures

Dubbed one of the closest presidential elections in living memory, the fight rages on to see who will become the next leader of the United States. With US citizens heading to the polls yesterday, votes are still being counted, while millions more postal votes – a by-product of the 2020 coronavirus crisis – have yet to be tallied. The latter could make all a difference in this tight race, but in the meantime, here’s what you need to know.

The latest...

As of 10am GMT, both Donald Trump and Joe Biden could still win the 2020 US presidential election, despite the current president prematurely claiming: “As far as I’m concerned, we’ve already won this.” In the race to win 270 of the country’s 538 electoral college votes, Biden currently has the edge, with 224 to Trump’s 213. It’s a closer outcome than many had predicted, but the final result might not be known for days thanks to a slew of postal votes which have yet to be formally counted. The switch-up in voting patterns has largely been the result of the global pandemic, with many US citizens opting to send their vote by post ahead of time to avoid the crowds and queues at polling stations.

What’s left to play for...

As it stands, Trump’s chances of success have been significantly boosted by a projection that he will win and retain Ohio and Texas – having already held on to his adopted home state of Florida, thanks to a surge in Latino support since 2016. Biden, meanwhile, looks set to win Arizona for the Democrats for only the second time since 1952. If Biden is successful there then, having also taken part of Nebraska from Trump, he would need to turn two of the fiercely contested Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania battleground states back to the Democrats to win.

What the candidates have said...

With the final result uncertain, Biden said he was “on track” to victory and Trump claimed “a big win”. Addressing supporters in Delaware, Biden said: “We knew this was going to be long. But look: we feel good about where we are. We really do.” Trump tweeted: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” 

In an extraordinary address to the nation from the White House at around 7:30am GMT, Trump then repeated the accusation of electoral fraud – without offering any supporting evidence – and declared himself the winner: “This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.” The president also claimed to be well ahead in Pennsylvania but, on the ground, votes are still being counted and remain too close to call.

Other notable developments...

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is projected to win re-election in New York, condemned Trump’s claim of victory as “illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian”. She is not the only progressive candidate to make her way to the Senate either – Democrat Mark Kelly defeated incumbent Republican senator Martha McSally in the crucial state of Arizona, while Sarah McBride of Delaware has become the first openly transgender state senator. However, Trump ally South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham is projected to win re-election over his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison – a race which at one point looked like he might lose – while Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, the first open supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, has won a seat in Congress after standing unchallenged.

The people's reaction...

Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, the country was braced for civil disorder – in either event and on both sides, there’s a considerable amount of emotion, anger and passion among supporters and opponents. As polls closed and votes were being tallied, protests against President Trump were held on the streets of Washington DC, with hundreds marching through parts of the Capitol, sometimes blocking traffic and setting off fireworks. The demonstrations were largely peaceful, but there were reports of skirmishes and confrontations outside the White House. Elsewhere, there were reports of scattered protests in Los Angeles, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and New York City.

Next steps...

Unless there’s a sudden and swift uptick in Democrat state wins, the American people – and the world – face waiting up to a week to hear who has won once and for all. Even so, political commentators are saying Trump has cast a pall on the result by undermining the democratic process and threatening to mount a legal challenge in the Supreme Court in the event that he loses.


It should also be said that several high-profile Republicans have openly condemned Trump’s accusations of voter fraud. Speaking on ABC News, former New Jersey governor and Trump adviser Chris Christie called the president's speech the wrong move. “It's a bad strategic decision," he said. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator for Pennsylvania, said he was “very distressed” by Trump's comments. “Using the word fraud... I think is wrong,” he said on CNN. Finally, Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator and critic of Trump, called the comments “deeply irresponsible” on Twitter.

And finally, three main takeaways…

  • Mr Biden and Mr Trump are projected to win the states they were comfortably expected to win.

  • The race is still very close in a few crucial competitive states.

  • In some of those tight races, officials haven't even started counting postal votes, and those could change everything.

To keep up with the latest daily developments in the US presidential race, subscribe to SL’s The Daily News In Brief newsletter.

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