Presidential election results 2020

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 2:44 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020
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8:23 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

A close look at the narrow margins in Florida counties compared to 2016

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury and Dan Merica

As ballot counts from Florida are quickly coming in, the tight margins for both President Trump and Joe Biden compared to 2016 results are making this a race to watch.

Joe Biden is currently underperforming Hillary Clinton's 2016 results in Miami-Dade County. "If you're looking for trouble signs in the Biden campaign, it is right here in Miami-Dade," CNN's John King said. Hillary Clinton had a wider margin in the county in 2016 and still lost the state. Biden will have to make it up in other counties, King added.

President Trump is underperforming in Duval County, which includes all of Jacksonville, a population center Trump won in 2016, but swung back to Democrats two years later when the party’s gubernatorial candidate carried the county.

The area around Tampa is also central to a Trump win: The President unexpectedly carried Pinellas County in 2016, a swing that signified it would be a tough night for Democrats.

King said that Trump's performance among suburban voters will be significant overall.

7:54 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Democrats are keeping a close eye on Latinos in Florida tonight

From CNN's Dan Merica

Deocratic operatives are keeping a close eye on Latino voters tonight in Florida, one of the first states with a significant Latino population to report results.

A key concern for Democrats heading into Election Day was Joe Biden’s ability to court Latinos, a diverse and growing demographic in a number of key states, including Florida, Texas and Arizona. Democratic organizers in those states had raised concerns about Biden’s outreach to Latino voters early in the campaign, leading Biden’s operation to pour manpower and money into turning out Latinos, but the concerns persisted.

The problem is acute in Florida — particularly in populous Miami-Dade County — because of the large number of Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants, two groups that tend to be more conservative than others.

Early results out of Miami-Dade, Florida’s most populous county, show a closer race between Biden and Donald Trump in 2020 than when Clinton faced Trump in 2016.

Trump's campaign was intensely focused on Miami-Dade County, crafting an entire messaging campaign around painting Biden as a socialist in an attempt to appeal to the county's Cuban- and Venezuelan-American populations

“If Biden wins Florida with that margin in Dade (and lets assume it gets 1 point or so better with eday), it will be amazing and unprecedented,” said Florida-based Democratic data analyst Matthew Isbell tweeted as the early results from the county came in.

The question for Democrats will be can Biden outperform Clinton in places like Duval and Hillsborough County, two other populous metropolitan centers in the state, to offset him possibly underperforming in the Miami area.

7:49 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

GOP asks for extended polling hours in Clark County, Nevada

From CNN's Stephanie Becker

Statewide results in Nevada’s election could be delayed by at least an hour – to 8 p.m. local time/11 p.m. ET – if a judge rules in favor of the Trump campaign. The campaign filed a lawsuit in Clark County to keep the polls open an additional hour for 22 locations. 

There were reports earlier in the day that many of the 125 polling sites in Clark County had to delay their 7 a.m. local openings because of technical problems. Clark County is the home of 70% of all voters in Nevada. It is a heavily Democratic County.

No results in any county can be released until the last poll is closed. 

7:44 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

How CNN makes projections (it’s not magic, it’s math)

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

On election night, CNN's Wolf Blitzer announces that the network has projected this or that candidate will win a particular race.

The process that leads to Blitzer saying those words is careful and complicated. It involves both real-time results and information from exit polls. CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS work with the polling firm Edison Research in what is known as the National Election Pool for results and exit polling data. Fox News and the Associated Press have a separate arrangement.

CNN’s polling director Jennifer Agiesta explains:

There isn't any magic involved in projecting races, sadly, it's really all math. There are a number of things we are looking for in each state to have confidence in a projection. Most important is what's been counted: Where are the votes coming from geographically within the state, what types of votes are included in the count, and how much of the total vote does the count represent right now?
If there's a clear lead for one candidate in the current count, but none of the votes from the strongest part of the state for the trailing candidate aren't in yet, that margin likely won't hold up. If instead there is good geographic representation in the vote, that's a point in favor of a projection.
If everything that's been counted is absentee and early votes, or all Election Day votes, there won't be a clear picture of how all the votes will look when both types of vote are included. Some of both are needed for projections in closer races.

Read here for more from Agiesta and Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist.

7:36 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Democrats think they can flip North Carolina. Here is why.

From CNN's Dan Merica

People receive their ballot and instructions at the St. Paul's National Guard Armory on Election Day on November 3, in St. Pauls, North Carolina.
People receive their ballot and instructions at the St. Paul's National Guard Armory on Election Day on November 3, in St. Pauls, North Carolina. Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Four years after Hillary Clinton lost North Carolina by over 3 percentage points, Democrats are growing more confident that the state is moving away from its red neighbors to the South and closer to its bluer neighbors to the north.

The reason is demographics: The number of Hispanic and Asian voters is growing; North Carolina’s cities and suburbs are booming with growth from people moving from more liberal northern states; and seniors, a demographic moving away from a Trump-led Republican party, have been flocking to the state’s coast.

All of this is coupled with a troubling trend for Republicans: The state’s reliably conservative rural areas are shrinking.

This has led Democrats to believe North Carolina is in reach for them this year, creating a key chance for Joe Biden and the party to take another state Trump won in 2016. North Carolina’s polls are closing at 7:30 p.m. ET, so if this scenario plays out for Democrats, the state could be an early signal for how the night is going for each party.

The presidential is far from the only competitive race in a state that has seemed to be the center of the political universe for much of the year: The state also has a competitive Senate race between Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham, as well as a less competitive race for governor between incumbent Democrat Roy Cooper and Republican Dan Forest.

7:34 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Ohio is a must-win for Trump — no Republican has won the presidency without it

From CNN's Eric Bradner

After Donald Trump's 8-point win in Ohio in 2016 and GOP Gov. Mike DeWine's win in 2018, what was once the quintessential swing state appeared to have shifted solidly into Republican hands — part of a long-term realignment that was unlikely to reverse itself anytime soon. 

But polls for months showed Joe Biden and Trump locked in a close race. Biden's campaign invested in the state late, pumping millions of dollars into TV ads in the closing weeks while sending Biden through the eastern portion of the state on a whistle-stop Amtrak tour. 

A final indicator that Biden believes it is within reach came Monday morning, when he made a last-minute campaign stop in Cleveland. 

Ohio is a must-win for Trump. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. If Trump doesn't win, it's almost certainly a fatal blow to his chances of winning re-election. And if the race there is neck-and-neck, it's a problematic sign for Trump's performance in other key states, including neighboring Pennsylvania and Michigan and fellow Midwestern battleground Wisconsin. 

8:03 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Pennsylvania secretary of state "pleased" by USPS sweep of all processing facilities

From CNN's Kelly Mena

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said that she was pleased with an earlier federal decision mandating the United States Postal Service to sweep certain processing facilities by 3 p.m. ET for election mail. 

 “We’re very pleased that that order was entered and that is what the postal service is doing and happy to report more later when we have that information,” Boockvar said an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Update: The US Postal Service said later this evening, however, that it wasn’t able to meet the court ordered deadline.

The postal service had done previous morning sweeps for ballots in recent days, including Tuesday, with personnel reporting data to the court by about 10 a.m.

Postal officials, however, reported to the judge that they were unable to make it happen. 

“Given the time constraints set by this Court’s order, and the fact that Postal Inspectors operate on a nationwide basis, Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30pm to 3:00pm without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election,” the Postal Service wrote to the judge. 

7:33 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

Around 4 in 5 White voters without a college degree back Trump in Georgia, early exit polls show

From CNN’s Grace Sparks

Polls have closed in Georgia and an early exit survey of voters there show around 4 in 5 White voters without a college degree went for Donald Trump.

Slightly over half of White voters with a college degree also backed Trump, the early exit polls show. The slim lead marks a big difference from 2016, when Trump won White college graduates in Georgia 69% to 28%.

Trump leads among another key group in Georgia this year, with more than half of seniors backing the President. He won seniors in 2016, 67% to 31%. 

Joe Biden leads strongly among voters under the age of 30 in the state, with around 3 in 5 of those voters backing the former vice president.

Voters in Georgia who say they want a candidate who is a strong leader voted strongly for Trump, with around three-quarters of voters doing so. Another three-quarters of voters who want a candidate who can unite the country voted for Biden.

About this year's exit polls: CNN's exit polls this year incorporate in-person interviews at early voting locations and telephone interviews to target by-mail voters. Those surveys are in addition to the in-person interviews with voters on Tuesday. In every state where exit poll results are available on election night, there will be a combined result to reflect a complete picture of voters across the country.

To account for the large share of early in-person voters in critical states such as North Carolina, Florida and Texas, Edison Research has spent the past month conducting the same type of in-person interviewing that it does on Election Day at a random selection of early voting locations around eight states.  

Read more about exit polls during a pandemic here.

7:36 p.m. ET, November 3, 2020

These are the polls closing at 7:30 p.m. ET 

Polls are closing in some states tonight. Here's where polls are closing at 7:30 p.m. ET:

  • North Carolina
  • Ohio 
  • West Virginia

Remember: North Carolina’s election results will be delayed by at least 45 minutes after the board of elections extended voting at some locations that were having problems this morning. 

Follow along here and see CNN's Election Center for full coverage.