In an election year where nothing is certain, what is certain is that the end of the evening, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next President Elect. This election year began with Hillary Clinton only needing a win in one single swing state, while Mr. Trump needs wins in every swing state plus one solidly blue state. Below we’ve gone through and given you a state by state run down of what to expect throughout the evening.
The polls in Florida close at 7pm EST and the results will begin to funnel in shortly thereafter. Florida has 29 electoral votes, making it one of the most crucial states on the map for both campaigns – but arguably more so for Trump. If Clinton wins Florida, there is no remaining path forward for Trump. Even if he were to win every remaining swing state (which is very unlikely), without Florida Trump would need to take on not just one, but several reliably blue states. If the polling and early vote turnout are accurate indicators, that’s pretty unlikely. There’s also an important Senate race to pay attention to here between incumbent republican Marco Rubio and his democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy. Rubio is predicted to hold onto this seat, so if he loses that would be a stunning upset for Senate republicans. If this year is anything like election years past, we may not have the final results out of Florida for a number of hours (or even days) to come.
The polls in Virginia also close at 7PM EST and like Florida, the results will begin to filter in precinct by precinct thereafter. Most polling data indicates that unlike election years past, Virginia is fairly unlikely to be a swing state this year. If the polling is right, we are likely to see national news organizations calling Virginia for Clinton not long after the polls close.
North Carolina is another one of those must win states for Trump. The polls here close at 7:30PM EST and the state will begin to report the results shortly thereafter. If Trump wins Florida but loses here, his chances of winning are reduced to near zero. Remember, in order for Trump to win, he needs every single swing state and he also needs to win one reliably blue state. There’s also a gubernatorial and a Senate race here that will be important to pay attention to. Polling in the gubernatorial race shows Governor Pat McCrory and his democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, running neck and neck. Polling in the Senate race shows republican Richard Burr with a substantial lead. Should he lose this seat, it would be a shocking turn of luck.
The polls in Ohio close at 7:30PM EST. If Trump hasn’t yet suffered losses in Florida or North Carolina, Ohio is the next place to watch. Again, don’t forget that in order for Trump to win he has to win every single swing state as well as a solidly blue state. So should he lose Florida or North Carolina, you might as well go ahead and crack open the champaign. If he hasn’t yet lost either of those states, then the focus moves to Ohio where he absolutely has to come out with a victory. If he wins Ohio then he will have won one of the many swing states he needs to win the White House. If he loses Ohio, well… you might want to check his Twitter because you’re almost guaranteed to see allegations of voter fraud and a “rigged election.”
At 8pm the polls close in Maine. Most of Maine is reliably blue and the chances of Trump pulling off a win here are somewhere between pipe dream and zero percent. However, there’s one thing to pay attention to in Maine – the second congressional district. Remember how I said “most of Maine is reliably blue”? Well, Maine is one of two states that award their electoral votes by congressional district. So While Clinton will likely win the state as a hole, as well as the first congressional district, it’s entirely within the realm of possibilities that Trump may win the second congressional district. Though if he’s had any other losses throughout the night, this one electoral vote is hardly going to save him.
Like Maine, the polls in New Hampshire close at 8PM EST. Remember how we’ve been saying Trump needs to pick up a reliably blue state to have a shot at the White House? Well, New Hampshire is one of those within the realm of possibility. If he loses here his chances are only that much slimmer for winning the White House. There’s also an important senate race to pay attention to here. The polls show democratic challenger Maggie Hassan leading the republican incumbent, Kelly Ayotte by only a single point. This is one of the many must-win Senate races republicans need if they want to keep control of the Senate.
Republicans have been attempting to win the state of Pennsylvania for a number of years now, and this year doesn’t appear to be the year it flips either. The polls here close at 8PM EST, and if the early vote data is any indicator, we’ll begin seeing news organizations call Pennsylvania shortly after the results begin filtering in. They’ll likely call it based on exit poll data instead of actual results. This is pretty common when the early vote data appears to show one candidate with a substantial lead over their opponent. Also pay attention to the Senate race here. Should democratic challenger, Katie McGinty unseat republican Pat Toomey, this would spell defeat for republicans’ hope to hold on to the Senate.
No, no… Donald Trump doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning Illinois. This state is reliably blue and will probably remain so for a number of years to come. What you want to pay attention to here is the Senate race between incumbent republican, Mark Kirk, and his democratic challenger, Tammy Duckworth. Most polls show Duckworth leading Kirk by double digit margins. This is a must-win state for democrats hoping to regain control of the Senate. The polls close at 7PM CST.
We already know what you’re thinking… so just stop! The Donald will win reliably red Missouri and the final tally won’t even be close. What will be close though is the Senate race between incumbent republican Roy Blunt and his democratic challenger Jason Kander. The latest polls show Kander up by about one and a half points. This race could ultimately decide Senate control. The polls here close at 8pm EST.
The polls in Arizona close at 9pm EST. The polling average in Grand Canyon state shows Mr. Trump consistently up by about 4 percentage points. Despite that, most pundits and pollsters are still calling the state a toss up. Should Clinton win here, it would be an unbelievably stunning upset – and the first time a democrat will have won the state since the last Clinton election of 1996. Arizona holds 11 electoral votes that are absolutely vital for a Trump win. Without this state, Mr. Trump has not viable path to the White House.
The centennial state is one of many swing states that are required for a Donald Trump win – and the polling here doesn’t look that pretty. While the numbers have narrowed in recent days to just 2.9 percentage points in Clinton’s favor, the historical average throughout the campaign shows Clinton with a decisive lead here. If the polling is right, Clinton is likely to add this state to her win category. If Trump has hasn’t lost any other swing states, Colorado would provide him with the much needed electoral votes to get him to the White House. However, if he’s lost any other swing states – especially Florida or North Carolina, his fate is likely already sealed. The polls here close at 9pm EST; Watch for what happens here.
Michigan holds 16 electoral votes that are key to a Hillary Clinton win tonight. The state hasn’t gone for a republican since 1988, so if Trump pulls off an upset here, it would truly be a historical turn of events. Although, if the polling data seems to indicate that a Trump win is nearly impossible here. With a 3.4 percentage point lead in polling averages over recent days, Michigan appears to be a leaning heavily towards the Clinton column.
The silver state is the most swingy of all swing states. Recent polling averages show Trump up by an ever slim 0.8 percentage point, but early voting results show democrats overall with a nearly 73,000 vote lead. The state has gone for the eventual President in all of the last 8 Presidential elections. It’s also a must win state for a Donald Trump victory. Regardless of whether he accepts defeat, should Trump lose Nevada, it will officially mark the end of his Presidential campaign as none of the remaining states are even close to being swing states. There’s one final thing to watch for in the silver state – a Senate race between democrat Katherine Masto Cortez and republican Joe Heck. Democrats are hoping to hold on to Senator Harry Reid’s seat which could provide them the decisive majority they need to achieve confirmation votes for administrative and court nominees who would be key to moving forward a Clinton agenda over the next two years. The polling average in this race shows Masto Cortez with a double digit lead, so should the night end with a Heck victory, it would an unbelievable change of fate for this race.
In closing, watch for Florida and North Carolina and keep in mind that Donald Trump needs every swing state in addition to a solidly blue state. If he loses Florida, the entire election is over as he will no longer have any viable route to the White House. Should he pull off a win in Florida but not North Carolina, look for a long drawn evening as he’ll also need to win every other swing state in addition to two solidly blue states.
Stay tuned to the Pacific Tribune for important updates throughout the evening.