What will we know, and when will we know it? That's the big mystery heading into Tuesday night. And "the short answer is that we don’t know," per an analysis in the Washington Post. The New York Times has a state-by-state look at when results might be reported in each, while USA Today narrows its focus to six that might tip the election: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. Pennsylvania might be the most important of all, and it could take until the end of the week to count mail ballots. Related:
- Scenarios: There's speculation President Trump might declare victory based on early results, expected to skew in his favor, and cast doubt on the credibility of pending mail-ballot tallies. Now Axios reports that Joe Biden has a plan, too. If news organizations declare him the winner, he will address the nation as president-elect and begin forming his government even if Trump plans a legal challenge. The strategy is seen as a contrast to Al Gore's hesitancy to act in the 2000 contested race.
- Crystal ball: The final Sabato's Crystal Ball ratings out of the University of Virginia are out: It has Biden winning (321-217 in electoral votes); it puts Democrats up 50-48 in the Senate, with both Georgia races going to runoffs; and it gives Democrats a net gain of 10 seats in the House.
- Outlier: GOP pollster Robert Cahaly and his Trafalgar Group think Trump will win, and his polls (unlike most others) have consistently shown the president up in battleground states. A New York Times story reports that Cahaly is considered "shadowy" by mainstream pollsters, but it notes that he also predicted a Trump victory in 2016 and got the electoral tally in that race pretty much spot on. "I think we’ve developed something that’s very different from what other people do, and I really am not interested in telling people how we do it," he says. "Just judge us by whether we get it right."
- Senate: The final forecast at FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 75% chance of flipping the Senate. They need a net gain of three states if they win the vice presidency, and four if not. The Guardian has a guide on 10 races to watch (Alabama, North Carolina, Colorado, Maine, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Montana, South Carolina, and Michigan.)
- Final polls: The average of polls at RealClearPolitics has Biden up 6.7 points nationally. That has ticked downward in recent weeks, though Trump hasn't closed the gap as much as he did against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
- Two paths: A Wall Street Journal graphic lays out the paths to the magic number of 270 for each candidate.
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