After all of the tumult and tedium of a long, ugly presidential election campaign, Election Day in America on Tuesday (November 8, 2016) is all about which candidate can win enough states to get to 270 electoral votes.
WHAT TIME WILL THE RESULT BE ANNOUNCED?
Ultimately, no one knows, but given when key states declare, US networks will likely call the result between 4am-6am on Wednesday morning, unless it’s another Bush-Gore election from 2000 when the result wasn’t called for days. It could be earlier if Trump’s support collapses or later if the race is closer than polls suggest.
The first burst of results will emerge when polls close at 7pm (midnight, Wednesday UK time) in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Look for more big blasts of numbers just after 8pm (1am) and 9pm (2pm), when polls close in a combined 30 states and the District of Columbia. The 11pm (4am) batch of states includes California, with 55 electoral votes. Alaska, where polls close at 1am (6am) on Wednesday, brings up the rear.
For an early read on how things are going, keep an eye on Virginia in the presidential contest. If Clinton doesn’t get a winner’s call there by 9pm or 10 pm (2am-3am Wednesday), it could be a positive sign for Trump. Watch Indiana for an early indicator in the tug-of-war for control of the Senate.
SOCIAL MEDIA INDICATORS
Four years ago, Obama went to Twitter with his first reaction once the votes clearly pointed toward his re-election. Trump’s tweetstorms are legendary. On election night in 2012, he tweeted that the election was a “total sham and a travesty” and encouraged “a revolution in this country.” He deleted some of the tweets after NBC’s Brian Williams said Trump had “driven well past the last exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible.” After that, Trump started tweeting rants aimed at Williams.
WHO WILL WIN THE US ELECTION?
With just two days to go before the election, many Americans are mesmerised by each and every turn in the polls of what seems to be a tightening race.
Nonetheless, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is still more likely to win on Tuesday ― especially when considering all the polling available and not just the horserace metrics. Here are some key figures that point to a Clinton victory:
CLINTON’S FAVOURABLE RATING IS BETTER THAN TRUMP’S
While both candidates are historically unpopular with a majority of Americans, Clinton is marginally more popular than GOP nominee Donald Trump ― a good sign for her with just two days to go.
HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate shows Clinton with a 42 percent favourable rating and a 56 percent unfavourable rating nationally, putting her at a net -14 points. Trump fares worse ― 39 percent favourable to 59 percent unfavourable, putting him at a net -20 points.
OBAMA’S HIGH RATING ARE GOOD NEWS FOR HILLARY
IT bodes well for a presidential candidate to have an incumbent president of the same party with high approval ratings in office while they’re running.
A study from the University of Virginia last year found that if the outgoing president has an approval rating over 50 percent, it is highly likely that the presidential candidate from his party will win the popular vote. While the correlation is not ironclad, historical precedent suggests it can be a predictive factor.
That’s good news for Clinton. President Barack Obama has a 52 percent approval rating, according to HuffPost Pollster, and has seen some of his highest approval ratings since his 2012 re-election in recent weeks. His favorability rating is high, too.
AMERICANS TRUST HILLARY MORE ON KEY ISSUES
The latest Pew Research Poll finds that voters have more trust in Clinton’s leadership than Trump’s across nearly all major issue areas.
Registered voters surveyed said they think Clinton will do a better job than Trump in making wise foreign policy decisions, selecting Supreme Court justices and dealing with race relations.
They also have more faith in Clinton when it comes to health care, immigration and managing the federal government.
Trump leads Clinton in voters’ trust in improving economic conditions and reducing special interest influence. The GOP nominee is also considered slightly more trustworthy than Clinton.
A recent analysis by HuffPost’s Samantha Neal found that Trump is the most distrusted Republican candidate in recent history on several key policy issues that GOP candidates have tended poll better on.
AMERICANS THINK HILLARY WILL WIN
A majority of voters in recent polls believe Clinton will be the winner of the race. Questions that test voters’ perceptions of who will win are said to be more indicative of the actual winner than horserace polls asking who they will vote for.
The two most recent polls, from ABC News/Washington Post and Fox News, suggest that voters have become less certain that Clinton will be the winner. These polls were conducted after FBI Director James Comey announced the agency was looking into new emails possibly connected to Clinton (and before he eventually cleared her of wrongdoing, again.) Still, even in the wake of the announcement of new emails, most voters think she will win against Trump.
THE FORECAST MODELS PREDICT A HILLARY WIN
All of the available forecast models give Clinton a high probability of winning the election, though they vary in the odds they give her. HuffPost Pollster’s forecast model says Clinton has a 98 percent chance of winning. Others, like the New York Times’ Upshot and FiveThirtyEight, indicate a Clinton win with a lesser, but still high, certainty.
While a high probability of a Clinton victory doesn’t mean it will be a blowout, it seems like Clinton is holding strong ― not just in the polls but across several metrics.
AND FINALLY... ON THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
It’s worth keeping in mind that when Americans vote, they don’t actually elect the president: They tell their state’s electoral-college electors how to vote. In most states, all electors vote with the state’s popular opinion. If 55% of voters in California choose Hillary Clinton, all 55 of California’s electors will vote for Clinton — and none will vote for Donald Trump.