US election in numbers
Nov 02, 2020 - 05:55 AM
WASHINGTON — The race for the White House continues to break new ground and set records in 2020 — on early voting, ad spending and more. These figures break down the campaign in numbers.
November 3: That’s the date for the US presidential election, congressional races, Senate contests and several state and local races. Election Day is traditionally set for the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
10 key states
The presidential election is expected to come down to results in 10 states where residents tend to vacillate in their support between one party and the other.
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Iowa and Ohio were essential for Donald Trump’s victory in 2016.
And polls show that Joe Biden could disrupt Republican electoral power in Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina and Texas this year.
35 + 435
Besides voting for president, millions of American voters will also be choosing members of the country’s 117th Congress. There are 35 Senate seats up for grabs, as are all 435 in the House of Representatives.
Democrats currently hold power in the House, an advantage they are unlikely to lose, according to experts.
If Biden is elected president and Democrats take control of the Senate, the party will have its hands on all of the biggest levers of federal power in Washington for the first time since the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency.
American democracy is executed through a unique mechanism on the national level: the Electoral College.
Rather than vote directly for their presidential candidate of choice, Americans actually vote for 538 electors who then elect the president.
To win the White House, a candidate must take an absolute majority of electoral votes, making 270 the magic number.
The number of electoral votes granted to each state is calculated by the number of representatives they send to the House (a number which itself is based on population) plus their senators (two each).
There are 230 million Americans who are eligible to vote in the presidential election, although a large portion often sit it out.
But the 2020 election could see record-high turnout.
Early voting has already exceeded previous years’ numbers, with many voters preferring to fill out their ballots in advance to avoid long lines on an Election Day taking place in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. As of Friday midday nearly 84 million people had cast their ballots early.
Some 138 million Americans voted in 2016.
Campaigns have smashed spending records in 2020, with $6.6 billion spent by the respective presidential candidates — $2 billion more than was spent during the Trump-Clinton race four years ago, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Biden campaign has pulled ahead on that front, flooding airwaves in key states with political ads.
In total, more than $14 billion has been spent in the run-up to November 3, with more than $7 billion of that going toward congressional races.