Election 2020 presidential results

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

Updated 5:20 AM ET, Fri November 6, 2020
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10:34 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

With 6 states still in play, here's a look at how CNN makes projections

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

David Robinson/CNN
David Robinson/CNN

Two days after Election Day, it's still too close for CNN to project a winner in six states: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

The process that goes into CNN projections 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 more about this process:

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.

10:40 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Democrats may need to win both Senate races in Georgia to flip the Senate

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

An election official counts absentee ballots in Atlanta on November 4.
An election official counts absentee ballots in Atlanta on November 4. Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrats' only path to avoid a Republican majority in the Senate could require winning both seats in Georgia.

Here’s how:

The balance of power in the Senate currently sits at 47 Democrats and 47 Republicans, with six seats to be decided.

Democrats need four more seats to get to 51, which would flip the Senate in their control. If Joe Biden wins the presidency, Kamala Harris would be a tiebreaker in the Senate.

Currently, Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis is maintaining his lead in North Carolina and incumbent GOP Sen. Susan Collins has a lead in Maine. In Alaska, GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan is leading Democrat Al Gross.

There is an opportunity for Democrats is in the Arizona race, where Democratic challenger Mark Kelly is maintaining his sizable lead over incumbent GOP Sen. Martha McSally.

This makes the two seats in Georgia indispensable for Democrats. The race for incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler��s seat will go into a runoff with Raphael Warnock. This election will be held on January 5.

In the second race, Republican incumbent David Perdue is currently ahead of his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff. Perdue has exactly 50% of the reported votes but he needs to maintain that, because if Ossoff keeps narrowing this margin as he has been so far, the race could also go into a runoff election.

“This is an interesting position potentially if Democrats are going to shoot the moon here. They would find themselves hanging everything on the southern state of Georgia. That's an uncomfortable place to be for Democrats,” CNN’s Brianna Keilar said Thursday.
9:54 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Full of contradiction: Trump wants vote counting stopped while former top adviser pleads patience

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

As we wait for more election results and the counting of all legally cast ballots, the Trump world is giving mixed messaging on vote counting. 

President Donald Trump offered a three-word, all-caps message in his first tweet of the day Thursday. 

It’s unclear whether Trump’s missive was directed at a particular state or states, since his campaign has also advocated for counting every ballot in places where Joe Biden is ahead. And, if the count were to be halted as it currently stands, Biden would win in Arizona and Nevada, putting him over the top with the electoral votes needed to clinch the presidency. 

Minutes before Trump’s morning tweet, a top former aide, Kellyanne Conway, was on Fox News, where she urged patience and a full count. 

“They spent three years investigating the President, impeaching the President. We can't wait three hours, three days, three weeks to get a result in our great sturdy democracy as to whom the next President will be? I mean, what is the rush, all of a sudden? I think the rush is, there was no blue wave. There was no early night. There was no Democratic Progressive realignment,” she said during an appearance on Fox News from Trump campaign headquarters in Virginia. 

She continued, “Why are we in such a rush to finish this election prematurely? Let's be patient. Let's take a deep breath. Let's count every legal vote. I think it's a time to be methodical and not emotional.” 

Trump, however, repeatedly called to have final election results on election night, saying as recently as Tuesday afternoon that Americans “should be entitled to know who won on November 3.”

Remember: CNN has not yet projected a winner in the presidential race. Six states remain too close to call, and both Trump and Joe Biden have pathways to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.

10:05 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Arizona secretary of state: "Of course, we’re going to count all the votes"

From CNN's Austen Bundy

Reacting to protests outside the election facility where votes are being counted, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs reiterated that officials will be counting all the votes that were cast in the state.

“I don’t understand the objective of these protesters. Of course, we’re going to count all the votes. We are legally obligated to do that,” Hobbs said in an interview with NBC this morning.

She added that election workers in the county "have been working around the clock to get these ballots counted" and that "they're going to do their jobs whether or not there's protesters outside urging them to do that."

Hobbs said there are approximately 450,000 ballots left for the state to count – about 300,000 of those coming from Maricopa County alone. Former Vice President Joe Biden currently holds a narrow lead of more than 68,000 votes over President Donald Trump in the state.

Hobbs did not have an estimate yet on how long it would take for the remaining ballots to be counted.

Those ballots are "early ballots that voters dropped off on election day at polling places," she said adding "they're in the process of being signature verified before they can be tabulated."

She also debunked an online conspiracy theory known as "Sharpiegate,” where it's being claimed the state is invalidating ballots filled out with sharpies.

"There really is no merit to this," Hobbs said. "It’s a conspiracy theory, that people were given pens to deliberately invalidate their ballot. That is absolutely not happening.”

9:48 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

US stocks surge as vote count continues

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks surged again in what's shaping up to be the market's best week in months. States are still counting election votes, but Wall Street is growing increasingly confident – and excited – the result will be a divided government.

Investors are hoping Joe Biden will take the White House while Republicans will keep the Senate, and that such as combination will lead to more moderate policies including a quick stimulus deal but limited tax increases. 

All three indexes rallied at the opening bell in New York on Thursday. The Dow jumped 1.3%, or some 360 points, while the S&P opened up 1.6%. The Nasdaq rallied 1.9%.

Even though a delayed election result was deemed the "nightmare scenario" before the vote, stocks have rallied every day this week. 

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are on track for their best week since April. For the Dow, it's shaping up to be the best week since June.

9:23 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Here's why Democrats are cautiously optimistic this morning

From CNN's Dan Merica

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks on November 4, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks on November 4, in Wilmington, Delaware. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democrats woke up Thursday morning cautiously optimistic with how presidential results are trending, with party operatives – like everyone else – keeping close tabs on four states: Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden holds a lead in both Arizona and Nevada, two states where more votes are expected to come in on Thursday. But the belief is that Biden’s narrow margins in each state could shrink as incoming votes continue to trickle in. The question that remains: Will President Donald Trump’s margins in these new votes be enough to cut into the leads Biden already enjoys?

Most Democratic optimism comes from Pennsylvania, a state that has dominated Biden’s focus throughout the general election. Although the former vice president trails Trump in the state with roughly 10% of votes yet to be reported, it is where those votes are coming from – Democratic strongholds like Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and thee suburban counties in Southeast Pennsylvania – that has the party confident.

A source told CNN on Thursday morning that there are approximately 140,000 outstanding mostly mail in ballots in Philadelphia alone. Although Trump enjoys a lead of over 160,000, the bulk of votes from Philadelphia are expected to go for Biden. Additionally, there are still thousands of votes outstanding from the areas around the city – like in nearby Bucks County, with 28,000 mail-in ballots left to count. Biden has consistently maintained a significant lead in mail in votes.

“I mean, it depends. I know there is enough out there in the state as long as those trends continue, I believe personally, a margin that will carry Pennsylvania for the Vice President,” Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday.

Then there is Georgia, a state that has continually narrowed as votes from the more Democratic greater Atlanta metropolitan area have come in. Trump is up by less than 20,000 votes in the state, with around 50,000 votes left to be counted, according to Walter Jones, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office. The key for Democrats will be how many of those votes come from reliably Democratic areas like Fulton and DeKalb counties around Atlanta and Chatham around Savannah.

9:13 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Razor thin margins separate Biden and Trump in these un-called states. Here's what we know.

It's Thursday morning in the US, and the race for the White House is still too close to call.

As votes continue to come in, former Vice President Joe Biden has edged closer to the 270-electoral-vote threshold needed to win the presidency, but razor-thin margins separate him from Donald Trump in key battleground states.

Here are the six states where CNN has not yet made a projection:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania

What we know:

Based on CNN's projections so far, Joe Biden leads the race for the White House with 253 electoral votes. President Trump has 213 electoral votes.

Reminder: Each candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to win the presidency.

What to expect:

Here's a look at when we'll get updates from local officials today:

  • 10:30 a.m. ET: Georgia's Secretary of State will hold a news conference. There's currently a 33,000-vote margin between Trump and Biden, and there’s around 90,000 votes remaining to be counted.
  • Noon ET: Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, will give an update. The country has the largest share of votes in Nevada, and was silent on updates yesterday. Across Nevada, Biden holds a slim 8,000 vote lead.
  • 9 p.m. ET: Officials in Arizona's Maricopa County — the biggest county in Arizona, which in the Phoenix area — plan to give their next update. The county tweeted overnight that 275,000 ballots remain.
10:06 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says Biden is focusing on unity

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a canvas launch event in Detroit, on Monday, November 2.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a canvas launch event in Detroit, on Monday, November 2. Kent Nishimura Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer praised the way her state has handled the election, and said that Democratic nominee Joe Biden was focused on unity.

"We were able to get these votes counted, 5.1 million votes, and with Joe Biden ending the day with about 13 times the margin that Donald Trump had just four years ago," she told CNN's John Berman. "It feels a lot more decisive than what we're seeing play out in other states potentially."

As the nation awaits the final result, and with the state of the race still in the balance, Whitmer emphasized the need to let democracy run its course.

"I think every one of us with a platform should be encouraging and educating the public that we count our votes," Whitmer said. "We don't just stop because it's inconvenient or because one person has an agenda, we get the votes counted. The most important thing in an American election is that we decide our differences at the polls and then we have a peaceful transfer of power."

Whitmer said she spoke with Biden on Wednesday, and should he ultimately win the White House, his goal will be American unity.

"He called me. He is focused on how do we heal this nation? How do we bring people together? How do we build bridges and start the common ground that has been so severely lacking these last few years," she told Berman. 

As for the election itself, Whitmer condemned any attempt to interfere with the political process.

"There's no question that efforts to undermine the integrity of and the confidence in this election will have ramifications long past when all the numbers are finally in," she said, adding "that is something that is anti-American."


9:08 a.m. ET, November 5, 2020

There are about 50,000 votes left to count in Georgia

From CNN's Jason Morris

An election official counts absentee ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, November 4.
An election official counts absentee ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, November 4. Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As of this morning, there are close to 50,000 votes left to be counted in Georgia, according to Walter Jones, spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office.

There were no further immediate details. 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is scheduled to give an update at 10:30 a.m. ET. Georgia is one of six states CNN has not yet projected a winner in. Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are also still too close to call.