US Polls: A nail biting contest; Biden ahead, Trump not far behind

Washington, Nov 4 : Republican US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger former vice-president Joe Biden were on Wednesday seen neck-and-neck in Tuesday’s presidential election, as the world watched closely whether American voters will give the incumbent four more years to push ahead with his America First policy.

In the Congressional election, the Democrats seemed set to retain majority in the House of Representatives, while in the Senate it looked a close contest.

Trump, 74, has captured over 16 states including Ohio and Florida while Biden, the 77, has taken more than 12 states including New York and California, as well as the District of Columbia, US media said.

Battleground states remain too early to call, but Trump appears to be leading in Florida.

In the race to win 270 Electoral College votes, according to latest update, Biden is currently leading on 220 seats while Trump, not far behind, is leading on 213 seats.

The vote has become a de facto referendum on Trump’s first term, which has been overshadowed this year by the novel coronavirus pandemic, its impact on the economy and a flare-up of civil unrest over accusations of police brutality against black people.

His “America First” policy has also brought sweeping changes to the country’s global standing and rattled alliance and trade relationships.

The country this time saw an unprecedented level of over 100 million early votes cast by mail and in-person in what is expected to become record overall turnout.

To win the presidency, either of the candidates needs to secure at least 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes allocated to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The candidate who wins the popular vote in a state captures that state’s electoral votes, usually in a winner-take-all manner.

A losing presidential candidate typically concedes shortly after the outcome is known. The election witnessed a high turnout of 67 per cent.

But tens of millions of mail-in ballots could take days or even longer to be counted in some states, possibly complicating efforts to decide the winner in the hours after polls close Tuesday night.

The candidate who gains 270 or more of the 538 Electoral College votes becomes President. Electors are representatives of their party in a state who pledge to vote for a specific candidate.

Among the top battleground states, election experts had said that the southern state of Florida may be a highly predictive contest in that if Biden wins it, Trump’s path to re-election would become “very narrow.” Florida is reporting its results relatively quickly as the state can count mail-in ballots ahead of election day.

In a live broadcast by UNI in collaboration with People of India Origin (PIO-TV), straight from the battleground, experts favouring Biden were surprised over Trump’s “unexpected” performance. “We are optimistic and its too early to tell about any outcome”, one of the panelist remarked.

There is a sizeable Indian Diaspora in the US which this time seems inclined towards electing Biden as the next President.

Notably, the Indian American population is the second-largest immigrant group in the country after Mexicans.

Meanwhile, Twitter today flagged one of the Trump’s tweet claiming of victory in the elections. Trump had tweeted that he will be will be making a statement tonight. The social media giant, attached a warning to Trump’s post, reading, “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election other civic process.”

But Trump didn’t stop there. He declared an unsupported victory in a speech from the ceremonial East Room of the White House – with millions of ballots yet to be counted ! Several top Republicans expressed alarm at Trump’s unsubstantiated comments.

On Tuesday, Trump said in a phone interview with Fox News that he would declare himself winner of the election “only when there’s victory” and that “there’s no reason to play games.”

But Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he is defeated. “Losing is never easy. Not for me. It’s not,” He said later in the day.

UNI

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