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Your Guide to Election Night: 2016 US Presidential Campaign Results

Election night map US Presidential

In 2012, I published a little cheat-sheet for friends staying up late to track and watch the 2012 Presidential election results as they came in. For this 2016 election cycle, the most epic and ultimate Clinton vs Trump battle goes down this Tuesday (November 8th), and this guide will help you keep track of what times the polls close in each state, what time the results for each state are expected and how the candidates expect to fare through the night.

Download the PDF here

The swing-state cheat-sheet is available at the bottom of this page.

Background to the Electoral College
Contrary to popular belief, the Presidential election is actually a set of 50 state-wide races, across the country. All 50 states are given one electoral vote for each of their Senators (100 in total) and Congressmen (435 in total). Washington DC, which is not a state, is afforded 3 representatives. Add all the electors up from each state across the country and we arrive at a total of 538 electoral college votes.

Florida, for example, elects 27 members to join the House of Representatives and two to join the Senate (each state gets two senators). Therefore, Florida gets 29 Electoral College votes. Now, if you win the majority of votes in a state, then you get all the electoral votes in that state*.

*Maine and Nebraska are the exceptions here, as electoral college votes in the two states are distributed based on how each of the local districts vote. The rest of the country (the other 48 states) use the ‘winner take all’ system.

A Presidential candidate needs 270 Electoral Votes to win, which is the majority of the 538 electoral votes up for grabs.

Polls closing at Midnight UK / 7PM Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
Georgia16Trump
Indiana11Trump
Kentucky8Trump
South Carolina9Trump
Vermont3Clinton
Virginia13Clinton

The South Carolina result is only expected a little before 1AM UK / 8PM Eastern US.

Pro-tip: Clinton needs to win by a vote-share margin of more than 3% in Virginia for the rest of the night to go according to her national victory plan. We’ll be looking to Georgia (a third of the state’s population is African-American) to give us a sense of the black vote share.

Midnight UK / 7PM US Electoral Votes: Clinton 16 / Trump 44
Polls closing at midnight UK


Polls closing at 12.30AM UK / 7.30PM Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
North Carolina15Toss-up
Ohio18Trump
West Virginia5Trump

12.30AM UK / 7.30PM US Electoral Votes: Clinton 16 / Trump 67 excluding North Carolina (15)

Pro-tip: Barring any other state result upsets at this point, Clinton can afford to lose Ohio and North Carolina. The Ohio result isn’t expected until after 1AM UK, and if Trump loses here, he’s practically done for the night. Virginia results should be dripping in now, and Trump will probably take an early lead as the northern part of the state (which heavily favours Clinton) will be slower to report their results. The North Carolina result is only expected after midnight.

Polls closing at 12.30 AM UK


Polls closing at 1 AM UK / 8PM Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
Alabama9Trump
Connecticut7Clinton
Delaware3Clinton
Washington DC3Clinton
Florida29Toss-up
Illinois20Clinton
Maine4Clinton 3/Trump 1
Maryland11Clinton
Massachusetts11Clinton
Mississippi6Trump
Missouri10Trump
New Hampshire4Clinton
New Jersey14Clinton
Oklahoma7Trump
Pennsylvania20Clinton
Rhode Island4Clinton
Tennessee11Trump

*Maine has 4 electoral votes, but those votes are proportionally distributed so that Clinton receives 3 votes, and Trump receives 1 vote.

Pro-tip: This is where Clinton’s Democratic firewall delivers the necessary electoral votes to shore up her position, and at this point the Trump campaign secretly hopes for a surprising upset victory in Pennsylvania. If Clinton wins either Florida or North Carolina, Trump is out of the game.

1AM UK / 8PM US Electoral Votes: Clinton 115 / Trump 111 excluding Florida (29) and North Carolina (15)

Polls closing at 1AM UK


Polls closing at 1.30 AM UK / 8.30 PM Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
Arkansas6Trump

1.30 AM UK / 8.30PM US Electoral Votes: Clinton 115 / Trump 117
excluding Florida (29) and North Carolina (15)

Polls closing at 1.30AM UK


Polls closing at 2 AM UK / 9 PM Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
Arizona11Trump
Colorado9Clinton
Kansas6Trump
Louisiana8Trump
Michigan16Clinton
Minnesota10Clinton
Nebraska5Trump
New Mexico5Clinton
New York29Clinton
South Dakota3Trump
Texas38Trump
Wisconsin10Tossup
Wyoming3Trump

2 AM UK / 9PM US Electoral Votes: Clinton 184 / Trump 191
excluding Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Wisconsin (10)

Virginia should have been called by now, as should Florida and Ohio. If Ohio is ‘too close to call’ at this point, this spells trouble for Trump. If Wisconsin is ‘too close to call’ then we’re in for a very long night, and it doesn’t look good for Clinton.

The Indiana and Arizona election results will be called closer to 3 AM UK / 10 PM Eastern US, and the Michigan result after that.

If Clinton wins Florida or North Carolina, Trump is toast.

Polls closing at 2AM UK


Polls closing at 3 AM UK / 10PM Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
Iowa6Trump
Montana3Trump
Nevada6Toss-up
Utah6Trump

3 AM UK / 10PM US Electoral Votes: Clinton 184 / Trump 206
excluding Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Wisconsin (10), Nevada (6)

At this point, Clinton can still afford to lose in Nevada and Florida, provided she hasn’t lost North Carolina AND either Virginia/Wisconsin.

Polls closing at 3AM UK

Polls closing at 4 AM UK / 11 PM Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
California55Clinton
Hawaii4Clinton
Idaho4Trump
North Dakota3Trump
Oregon7Clinton
Washington12Clinton

4 AM UK / 11PM Electoral Votes: Clinton 262 / Trump 213
excluding Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Wisconsin (10), Nevada (6)

The TV networks should be able to project the winner of the election based on exit polls between 11-11.30pm, after the polls close in California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.

Polls closing at 4AM UK

Polls closing at 5 AM UK / Midnight Eastern US
StateElectoral VotesExpected Winner
Alaska3Trump

Electoral Votes: Clinton 262 / Trump 216
excluding Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Wisconsin (10), Nevada (6)

By 5AM UK / Midnight Eastern US, and assuming legal challenges aren’t piling up in Florida, North Carolina and Nevada, the losing candidate will have conceded in a private phone call to the winning candidate. A victory/concession speech should be imminent within the next hour and a half, if all has gone to plan.

Swing State Watchlist

(Updated 8 November – data based on RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight polling aggregations)

State Voting Ends At Current polling
Virginia (13)Midnight UK / 7 PM Eastern US Clinton 49.8% / Trump 44.3%
Ohio (18) 12.30 AM UK / 7.30 PM Eastern US Clinton 45.8% / Trump 47.6%
North Carolina (15) 12.30 AM UK / 07.30 PM Eastern US Clinton 48.1% / Trump 47.5%
Florida (29)1 AM UK / 8 PM Eastern US Clinton 47% / Trump 47.5%
New Hampshire (4)1 AM UK / 8 PM Eastern US Clinton 47.5% / Trump 44%
Pennsylvania (20) 1 AM UK / 8 PM Eastern US Clinton 48.9% / Trump 45.2%
Colorado (9) 2 AM UK / 9 PM Eastern US Clinton 47.7% / Trump 43.7%
Wisconsin (10) 2 AM UK / 9 PM Eastern US Clinton 49.6% / Trump 44.3%
Iowa (6) 3 AM UK / 10 PM Eastern US Clinton 45.1% / Trump 47.9%
Nevada (6) 3 AM UK / 10 PM Eastern US Clinton 47.1% / Trump 45.9%


Maps generated via 270towin.com

My thanks to Elizabeth Winter, Pete Kincaid, Robbie Mook, and staff at the Democratic National Committee HQ.