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US Elections 2020: Biden at 238 electoral votes, Trump at 213

US Elections 2020: Biden at 238 electoral votes, Trump at 213
November 4, 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters/AFP) - President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling it out for the White House, with polls gradually closing across the US Tuesday -- and then a long night of waiting for results ahead.

The first results are trickling in, with US media projecting wins for the Republican incumbent so far in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee -- all states he won in 2016.

Biden has captured his home state Delaware and big prizes California and New York, as well as the US capital. As with Trump, so far, all states claimed by Biden were won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So far, that gives Biden 238 electoral votes and Trump a maximum of 213, because Nebraska splits its electoral votes based on congressional district (see note below).

The magic number is 270. Observers expect the hotly contested race for the White House to come down to a handful of key battleground states that have yet to be called.

PANDEMIC STRAINS

The winner - who may not be determined for days - will lead a nation strained by a pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 people and left millions more jobless, racial tensions and political polarization that has only worsened during a vitriolic campaign.

Biden, the Democratic former vice president, put Trump’s handling of the pandemic at the center of his campaign and has held a consistent lead in national opinion polls over the Republican president.

But a third of U.S. voters listed the economy as the issue that mattered most to them when deciding their choice for president, while two out of 10 cited COVID-19, according to an Edison Research exit poll on Tuesday.

In the national exit poll, four out of 10 voters said they thought the effort to contain the virus was going “very badly.” In the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina, battleground states that could decide the election, five of 10 voters said the national response to the pandemic was going “somewhat or very badly.”

The poll found that nine out of 10 voters had already decided on their choice before October, and nine out of 10 voters said they were confident their state would accurately count votes.

The poll found signs Trump was losing support among his core base of supporters in Georgia.

More than 100 million voted early in US election

Ahead of Election Day, just over 100 million voters cast early ballots either by mail or in person, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida, driven by concerns about crowded polling places during the pandemic as well as extraordinary enthusiasm.

he total has broken records and prompted some experts to predict the highest voting rates since 1908 and that the vote total could reach 160 million, topping the 138 million cast in 2016.

In anticipation of possible protests, some buildings and stores were boarded up in cities including Washington, Los Angeles and New York. Federal authorities erected a new fence around the White House perimeter.