If you haven't done a late-night Starbucks run, you might want to go do that right now, because it's going to be a late night. Despite early polls favoring Democrat Hillary Clinton, it seems as though GOP candidate Donald Trump actually has a legitimate chance to win the presidential election — however that makes you feel. With portions of precincts reporting from around the country, there are nine states that are too close to call according to NBC News. Some of these state results have razor thing margins between the two candidates. But why is the race so close? There have been several factors in play leading up to tonight, as well as some election night surprises as the results keep rolling in.
As terrifying as this might sound, Donald Trump — a man who has managed to lob insults to just about every demographic in America as a key campaign strategy — could very well become President of the United States on Tuesday night, despite so many races being too close to call. During NBC News's live election night coverage, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd summed up exactly why race this close is so just anxiety-inducing. "I don't want to say it was a hidden Trump vote," Todd said. "I just think we didn't have our weights correct."
Battleground States Are Called That For A Reason
Just as Todd noted, pollsters perhaps didn't get their polls right in advance of the election. While many polls had Clinton in the lead before Tuesday, Trump has become a formidable candidate in the electoral vote tally. As of 9:45 p.m. ET, none of the battleground states have been called for either Clinton or Trump. These states represent 157 electoral votes, and it won't take much beyond locking in key battlegrounds states to clinch the 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
Narrow Leads Don't Always Convert To Wins
Here's the thing about elections: No one can predict who will win. Everything up until the moment that all results are final and one candidate concedes is just a guess. Polls mean nothing once ballots are counted. Nate Silver, former Editor-in-Chief of FiveThirtyEight, had a sobering take on this presidential race nail-biter, just before 9 p.m. ET:
The results so far are pretty well in line with pre-election polls, which showed a close race in many swing states and Clinton more often having the lead. But the problem with having a lot of narrow leads is that you don’t always convert them to wins, and so far no major states have fallen to Clinton.
Florida Must Not Be Down With Pantsuit Nation
Many analysts and pundits proposed there might be a "silent majority" vote favoring Clinton: women whose spouses will vote Trump, but who will vote Clinton once inside the ballot booth. And after Trump's disgusting comments about women, you'd think Pantsuit Nation would rise like a phoenix on Election Day. Preliminary exit polling data in Florida — a key battleground state that is still too close to call — Clinton has only managed to secure just 51 percent of the female vote. This isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the candidate who stands to become to the first woman in the White House.
Trump Paints The Midwest Red
While many reliably red states came out in support of Trump, many pollsters didn't expect Trump supporters to come out in the droves they did. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're comfortable with it, either. Speaking on NBC News, talk-radio host Glenn Beck cited unnamed polls, noting that of the people that voted for Trump, 60 percent "don't like that they voted for Donald Trump."
Tuesday's Voter Turnout Could Break Records
With so much on the line in this election, each vote is truly taking a stand on what each American believes about this country. Knowing this, and with more states offering early voting this year, it's no surprise that voters have come out in force on Election Day. Latino voter turnout has been astounding, especially in the state of Florida, where Latino voter turnout was estimated at 100 percent more than those who came out in 2012. According to The Huffington Post, the Asian-American vote has nearly doubled in key battleground states, compared to 2012.
The 2016 presidential election is likely to break voter turnout records, and no matter how close the race is, every single voter that voted on Election Day has been a part of history.