The 2020 U.S. presidential election is neck and neck between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, with everything coming down to a handful of swing states.
As was the case in 2016, pre-election polls were unreliable.
For weeks, Biden held a wide lead in the national polls, with narrower advantages for the Democrat in key battleground states. But just as he did in 2016, Trump defied predictions, with the Republican holding red states across the Rust Belt as well as the major battlegrounds of Florida and Ohio.
In most scenarios, that leaves the race up to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — three states Trump wrestled away from Hillary Clinton to win four years ago. Trump’s lead in Michigan and Wisconsin vanished during the early hours of Wednesday as more mail-in ballots were counted.
Trump claimed victory and vowed to call on the Supreme Court to halt further voting in a midnight speech. Biden, for his part, called on his supporters to “keep the faith.”
Vote counting is still underway in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina. In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 can still be received and counted for the next few days.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, at least 101 million Americans cast ballots before Election Day, compared with 47 million in 2016, according to the U.S. Elections Project. All told, the 2020 turnout is shaping up to be the highest in a presidential election since 1908.
Wednesday, Nov. 4
10:20 a.m. Trump and Biden open the day with morning tweets. The president expresses skepticism toward the vote-counting process. Biden calls for every vote to be counted.
Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
9:30 a.m. Though the Democrats will retain a majority in the House of Representatives, hopes to flip anywhere from five to 15 Republican seats failed to materialize. “Instead, it was the Republicans who scored big,” The Hill reports, “knocking out at least a half dozen vulnerable Democrats with several more clinging to the ropes.”
“It was a reversal of fortunes for the Democrats, who had led big in the polls and the money race and were betting that President Trump at the top of the ticket would be a drag on GOP lawmakers all the way down the ballot,” the congressional news website wrote.
8:40 a.m. All four members of the “squad,” the Democratic lawmakers elected in 2018 who represent the younger political generation, won their seats. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan easily won reelection Tuesday night after fending off conservative challengers.
8:10 a.m. Trump leads in Pennsylvania — the largest swing state left on the table — with 85% of precincts reporting, but the race is still on. Only 44% of mail ballots have been counted as of 7:18 a.m., according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Mail ballots that arrive by Friday, by rule, should be counted. This could change if the Supreme Court intervenes, as the president is suggesting.
5:50 p.m. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday, probably the last of its kind ahead of election day, Biden appeared to hold a narrow lead over Trump in Florida.
The election is expected to come down to six swing states. Florida, with 29 electoral votes, is the biggest prize. The others are Pennsylvania with 20 votes, Michigan with 16 votes, North Carolina with 15 votes, Arizona with 11 votes and Wisconsin with 10 votes.
The Reuters poll shows Biden with a 50%-46% lead over Trump in Florida, a wider gap than the 49%-47% in the previous poll.