Six States to Decide the Election


Election workers sort through ballots at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times


There is no presidential winner yet. Biden appears to be in a better position than Trump, and Republicans seem in better shape to hold Senate control.


Joe Biden is now the favorite to win the presidency, and Republicans are favored to keep Senate control — but both results are far from certain. And Democrats failed to win the resounding victory that pre-election polls had suggested they could.

Here’s where we stand after a topsy-turvy election night, in which the situation shifted multiple times:


  • The outcome is unclear in six swing states — Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and all are still counting votes. We may get some final vote counts today, while others could take a few days.


  • “Biden’s the favorite, even if narrowly, just about everywhere,” Nate Cohn of The Times tweeted, listing five of the six states above (all but North Carolina). Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics agreed: “Would probably rather be Biden than Trump.”


  • The outstanding ballots are mostly mail-in ballots, which are likely to favor Biden, because more Democrats than Republicans voted early this year. He leads in the current vote count in Nevada and Wisconsin, while Trump leads in the remaining four. “I don’t think people have fully internalized how Democratic these mail and absentee ballots will be in MI/PA/WI,” Nate wrote.


  • If Biden holds onto his lead in Nevada and Wisconsin, he would need to win only one of three states — Georgia, Michigan or Pennsylvania — to secure a majority of electoral votes (and could still lose North Carolina).


  • The counting of ballots seems likely to be slowest in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Officials in Pennsylvania have said they expect all votes to be counted by Friday.


  • Even with Biden’s seeming advantages at this point, the country has never experienced an election with such heavy voting by mail, which creates significant uncertainty. It is entirely possible that Trump will retain his lead in the states where he now leads and win the election.


  • The situation in the Senate is different — and more favorable to Republicans. They appear to be in a strong position to retain Senate control, which would give them a veto over nearly all of a President Biden’s legislative plans.


  • Democrats needed to win at least five of the 14 competitive Senate races and have so far won only two. Six races remain up in the air. The only incumbent Republicans to have lost are Martha McSally in Arizona and Cory Gardner in Colorado.


  • Biden, addressing supporters after midnight, urged patience. “We believe we’re on track to win this election,” he said. “We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying the votes is finished. And it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”


  • Trump falsely declared himself the winner around 2:30 a.m. Eastern. He said he would call on the Supreme Court to stop counting ballots in states where he led, while urging more counting in states where he was behind. He claimed “fraud” (for which there is no evidence) and he called the election an “embarrassment to the country.”


  • Many of the state polls were wrong and underestimated support for Republicans — again. A big question in coming days will be why: Did polls again fail to include enough working-class white voters, as was the case in 2016? Or was it something else?


  • Democrats’ struggled to match their 2016 margins among Hispanic voters. We’ve covered that theme in some detail in this newsletter, and it hurt Biden, especially in Florida and Texas.


Read more at: nytimes.com

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