We are only a few hours away now from this most exciting of election nights. So how do we read it? What can you expect from our programme, which begins at 11pm on ITV? Well, there are two ways to look at it. If it is close, then it may well be that the so-called rust belt states that swung to Trump last time will be critical. Mr Biden has looked to have a steady lead in Wisconsin and Michigan, so it could all come down to Pennsylvania, where almost everyone agrees it is tighter. But Pennsylvania cannot start counting votes until Election Day itself and the number of mail-in votes could mean we don’t know the result for days. So will we have to wait that long? Well, perhaps not. Biden has had a small lead in a lot of southern states that Trump won last time and are more traditional republican territory.
Quite a few of these states count, or at least process, mail-in votes before Election Day, so they might give us a much earlier indication of how this election is going.
The polls close in Georgia at midnight UK time. The state has only ever voted Democrat for southerners in the modern era (Carter, Clinton) and it voted for an out and out segregationist (George Wallace) as recently as 1968, but Atlanta is a booming city with rapidly changing demographics, so it is not impossible Mr Biden could win here. If he does, Mr Trump is in a lot of trouble. Half an hour later, polls close in North Carolina and Ohio. Again, Mr Trump has been trailing Mr Biden in polls in the former and a loss here would also mean he is in serious difficulties. At 1am, we get to Florida, which is promising it may have results very quickly. This is generally agreed to be a must-win state for the President. Lose its 29 electoral college votes and it is extremely hard to see him building a path to The White House. So, if it is close, it is plausible we may not know the full result for days. But if the polls are correct, it is also possible we will have an indication of the way the wind is blowing within a few hours of the start of the programme. So do join us; it should be quite a night.
Tom Bradby presents Trump vs Biden: The Results on Tuesday from 11pm on ITV. It will also be streamed here.
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