The 70-year-old Republican looked set to smash Clinton’s “firewall” with victories in states including Wisconsin and Michigan - areas that Barack Obama held two elections in a row, and were thought to be safe.
As he made his way to becoming the 45th president, stock markets tanked, the dollar plunged and many commentators compared the result to ‘Brexit’ and the anti-Establishment anger that fuelled Britain’s exit from the EU.
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WHO’S WINNING THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?
LATEST POLLS AND PREDICTIONS
Clinton’s win will be substantial, but not overwhelming. The model projects that she’ll garner 323 electoral votes to Trump’s 215.
Others, like the New York Times’ Upshot and FiveThirtyEight, indicate a Clinton win with a lesser, but still high, certainty.
For all of 2016’s craziness, that projection actually follows a fairly traditional electoral map. Trump should keep Arizona and Georgia, even though Clinton is likely to make it a closer-than-usual race. Iowa also seems firmly in Trump’s column. All three states are more than 85 percent likely to remain red.
Florida, Nevada and North Carolina have leaned toward Clinton in the polling averages. The forecast in recent weeks, along with the strength of early voting numbers, makes it seem very likely that these will stay with her. All three states are more than 80-percent likely to swing Democratic. New Hampshire polls have wavered recently, but the HuffPost model still predicts those four electoral votes will go to Clinton with more than 90 percent certainty. And Clinton should fairly easily hold onto Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
That leaves Ohio as the last critical state. It’s the closest in the race, according to the HuffPost forecast model. Trump leads by just 1 point, and the polling trend has moved toward the GOP in the last few weeks. The HuffPost model gives Trump about a 70 percent chance of winning the state. In the event that Clinton’s ground game stimulates turnout and pulls Ohio in her direction ― which is not out of the question ― she’ll get 341 electoral votes.
LATEST US ELECTION ODDS FROM THE BOOKIES
Although the odds had narrowed in October, the latest figures from the bookies all have Clinton ahead in the US Presidential Election race.
As of Monday evening, Clinton was the clear favourite to win among all leading bookmakers, according to odds aggregator site oddschecker.com.
All leading bookmakers are predicting a Hillary Clinton win in the US Election (screengrab taken on Monday evening)
While it now looks somewhat comfortable for Clinton, it’s worth remembering that Donald Trump’s odds of winning were once quoted at 150/1.
Bookmakers William Hill had shortened Trump’s odds nine times since October 15, most recently from 2/1 (33% chance) to 7/4 (36%). Meanwhile Clinton’s odds had lengthened nine times.
It’s likely though that the Democrat candidate will go into polling day as a clear favourite at odds of 1/5 (83% chance), with William Hill, while Trump is offered at 7/2 (22%).
PRE-ELECTION DAY BALLOTS
Heading into Election Day, nearly 45 million people had already cast ballots in advance voting. About half of those votes were cast under the shadow of FBI director James Comey’s initial announcement of a new review into Clinton’s emails.
Clinton is banking in part on high turnout - particularly among Obama’s young, diverse coalition of voters - to carry her over the finish line Tuesday. Roughly half the states with advance voting have reported record turnout, including Florida and Nevada, which have booming Hispanic populations, a possible good sign for Clinton.
In Florida alone, Hispanic participation is up by more than 453,000 votes, nearly doubling the 2012 level. Black turnout is up compared to 2012, but that share of the total vote is lower due to bigger jumps among Latinos and whites, according to University of Florida professor Daniel Smith
In Nevada, where more than three-fourths of expected ballots have been cast, Democrats also lead, 42 percent to 36 percent.
With surveys indicating a tight race in Michigan, which Democrats have long counted on winning, both candidates made campaign appearances there. Pennsylvania, another vote-rich state, was also seen as fertile ground by both camps in the closing hours of their campaigns.
Clinton held the biggest rally of her campaign in Philadelphia on Monday night, drawing a crowd that the city’s Fire Department put at 33,000 to hear her and President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and rockers Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
“Tomorrow we face the test of our time,” Clinton told supporters, saying they could decide what sort of country they wanted to live in. “We choose to believe in a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America.”
Obama, who campaigned earlier in the day for Clinton in Ann Arbor, Michigan, reiterated his charge that Trump is “temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief,” and said Clinton offered an experienced and accomplished alternative.
“You don’t just have to vote against someone, you have someone extraordinary to vote for,” Obama said. “She will work and she will deliver, she won’t just tweet.”