With the vast majority of the votes counted and reported, find out which of Donald Trump or Joe Biden has collected more individual ballots from the American people.
At the time of writing, people around the United States and the world are still awaiting news of who the next US president will be. The incumbent Donald Trump has already claimed that he has won the 2020 election – something that he has been widely questioned over – and it is clear that the Republican camp are heading to the courts to dispute some of the closer calls.
For his part, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has spoken to the American people and, although making it clear that it was not a victory speech – he said it was important that all votes were counted first – his team was confident that he would be taking his place in the Oval Office come January.
How the election is won?
With record numbers of people making their voices heard in this election, and a huge political engagement over recent months, most people will be very aware of how the American system works.
Very simply, there are two tallies that are collated: the popular vote and the electoral college vote. The popular vote is a count of every valid ballot that was submitted. The electoral college vote is a representative count relative to the size of the state.
Popular vote: Trump vs Biden 2020
As of 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday 4 November, this was the count of the popular vote for each candidate according to AP:
Donald Trump: 68,082,445
Joe Biden: 71,173,344
Biden has 3,118,168 more votes than Trump
With this large advantage for the Democratic candidate in mind (and assuming it doesn’t shrink), some may ask why there is so much uncertainty over who the next president should be. Clearly the majority of Americans have spoken. Again, an understanding of the electoral college helps here, as the popular vote is not what wins the election.
Popular vote: Trump vs Clinton 2016
This differential was seen four years ago. When the final vote count was returned in 2016, Trump had received a total of 62,980,160 votes (46.1%), while polling favourite, Hilary Clinton, had amassed 65,845,063 (48.2%).
The Democratic nominee therefore received roughly 2.9 million more votes, giving her a margin of 2.1% over her opponent. However a series of narrow wins for Trump in valuable states like Florida gave him enough electoral college votes to secure a place in the White House.
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So what does it all mean? Well, as we have seen, the most popular candidate is not always the one who wins. And when it comes to election campaigning, it’s the battleground states – those that could be swung either way – that get most of the attention.
Some people have called for the process to be changed, but we’re unlikely to see that any time soon.
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