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US Elections:  who is leading at the polls?

US Elections: who is leading at the polls?

With literally hours to go before Americans head to the polls, the next few days will be critical for the country. On Tuesday, 3 November 2020, the United States (US) will get to vote in the election which will determine whether the incumbent President Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be occupying the oval office for the next four years.

While questions linger on who will clinch the 2020 election, the latest polls might answer that question, even before voting day.

So far, at least 61 579 789 mail-in ballots have been cast while 31 947 564 people voted in person in their respective states.

A poll by the New York Times/Siena College found that people who did not cast their ballot in 2016 but intend to vote in 2020, will be backing Biden.


Biden, the former vice president, is ahead of Trump in key battleground states, namely:

Wisconsin – Between 1988 and 2012, Democrats had managed to secure a victory in each presidential election, however Trump ended their winning streak in 2016. Biden for now, seems to have reclaimed his party’s position in the Badger state.

Pennsylvania – Like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania was essentially a sure state for Democrats, having voted for the blue party from 1992 until 2012, following three electoral victories for Republicans between 1980 and 1988.

Michigan – Having become a key red state between 1972 and 1988, Michigan, like other swing states, was a Democratic stronghold between 1992 and 2012 but that all changed when Trump won office in November 2016.

Arizona – For the most part, a red state because Democrats only clinched the electoral vote in 1996, between 1952 and 2016. However, Biden has proven to be likeable amongst mainly young voters (aged between 18 and 29) as well as people of colour, particularly Hispanics and African Americans.

North Carolina – With the exception of the 1976 and 1980 elections, North Carolina has proven to be a Republican state, however the black vote could help flip that once more in favour of the blue party.

Florida – Coming with a whopping 29 electoral votes, the Sunshine State can be credited to helping Trump win the 2016 election. However, the state voted for then president Barack Obama in both runs for office, having also supported Republican president George W Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Whichever side of the fence you are on, it’s time to take a deep breath. America goes to the polls on Tuesday, in what promises to be one of the most important US Elections in living memory. Ask those backing either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, and they will tell you the exact same – the results will prove to be a watershed moment for the country.


The polls have Joe Biden leading on both a national scale and within a majority of key swing states. However, The Donald has never been bothered by these projections. The incumbent may now, somehow, find himself as an underdog in the contest – and that suits the billionaire just fine. Biden, however, has all the momentum ahead of the ballots opening tomorrow.

It all kicks off properly on Tuesday. Well, technically, not for us here in Mzansi. Due to our seven-hour time difference with the east coast of America, it’ll be well into Wednesday before we have any idea of who will lead the US for the next four years. Here are the crucial times – and dates – you need to make a note of as the results pour in:


  • In the USA, all polling stations will close by 21:00 ET on Tuesday 3 November. That’s 2:00 on Wednesday in the UK, and 4:00 on Wednesday for us here in South Africa. Shortly afterwards, the first confirmed vote tallies will be announced.
  • All votes can be counted up within six hours, but that’s in a best-case scenario. On this basis, an announcement *could possibly* be made on Wednesday morning; by 3:00 in the US, 8:00 in the UK, and 10:00 in South Africa.
  • Between 4:00 – 10:00 on Wednesday 4 November is the ‘money-time’ for South Africans. This is when the race will start, play out, take shape, and build towards some form of conclusion. You can decide how much of it you want to take in.
  • Interestingly enough, the 2016 US Election was called by 2.30 ET the following morning in the States, 7.30 in the UK, and 9:30 in South Africa. So there’s no need to get up ‘especially early’ to find out who has triumphed on Election Day.
  • However, Election Night won’t wrap everything up 100%: Some key states allow ballots to be sent in late, including Pennsylvania and North Carolina (6 November), Minnesota and Nevada (10 November), and Ohio (by 13 November).
  • Each state begins to certify its results from 10 November – a week after voting day. In some cases, the process can take weeks. Given the sheer scale of mail-in voters this year, we could see the final results delayed until later this month – or even early December.
  • Regardless of the drama set to unfold, either Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be inaugurated on 20 January 2021.




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