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8 November 2016

The NS 2016 Presidential Election live blog – as it happened

Donald Trump shocked and horrified the world as he triumphed in the presidential election.

By Stephen Bush

Welcome to our rolling liveblog as the United States chooses the next president. Click refresh for updates!

06:05: What is there to say, other than “Arggh”? Julia will be covering the world’s reaction in our new liveblog here. I have a morning email to write, to which you can subscribe here.  

Thanks so much for all your emails, tweets and for reading this liveblog. I’m sorry that we couldn’t have ended it with some happy news. 

One silver lining: we are now, almost certainly, the timeline that will be erased when some travels back from the future to avert it. I hope I get a decent job in the new timeline.

Thanks for reading!

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06:00: Decision Desk have called Pennsylvania and Arizona for Donald Trump. He is President-Elect of the United States. The rest is silence. 

05:52: Trump is poised to take Pennsylvania, which would put him on 269 electoral college votes. As there is a Republican Congress, he would be certain of becoming President at that point (and in any case will get the votes to get him over the edge to 270 soon enough). 

05:49: Electoral college latest: Trump is on 249 – Clinton is on 2015. 

05:45: An optimistic historian on PBS said earlier we will be studying this election for “fifty years or more”. I’d give both arms for the guarantee there will be historians in 50 years. 

05:41: Here’s where we are. 

A surge of white working class voters has defied the polls and much of the punditry to put Donald Trump on course for the White House. As things stand, he is close to victory in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona, all of which would make it effectively impossible for Clinton to catch him. 

05:36: Trump has won Wisconsin. Suddenly the anaemic state of my pension seems less of a problem. 

05:25: Anoosh again. In early October, we ran a piece by Brendan Simms imagining what a Donald Trump presidency would mean for the rest of the world. Now it’s lost the sheen of hypothesis, it makes for even grimmer reading. Simms makes the point that the first impact will be one of style (“misogynistic, vindictive, xenophobic and unafraid to trample on the feelings of veterans or the bereaved”) which will translate into an easy rapport with world leaders like Putin. Then comes the substance:

“At best, a Trump presidency will lead to the “Berlusconification” of international politics, which will become extended reality-TV events, at least in so far as they relate to the United States. More seriously, his antics will empower and encourage a coarsening of the discourse between states and about world problems. Here, the contrast with Presidents George W Bush and especially Barack Obama, whatever one thinks of their policies, could not be sharper.”

Tiniest silver lining: Simms says Britain might not do as badly out of a Trump presidency as elsewhere. I don’t buy this. Brexit was bad enough for creating a febrile atmosphere here. I’m afraid people with views they shouldn’t have will feel even more validated to air them with Trump’s shock win to back them up.

05:22: Clinton has won Nevada! It’s the consolation goal in the 6-1 defeat. 

05:17: Trump is leading in Pennslyvania. I’m glad I never learnt to spell it properly. It may be that, or Michigan that formally confirms his victory. But it really is a matter where rather than if now. 

05:15: The Democrats have held onto their Nevada Senate seat. They’ll surely win the general there – not that those six electoral votes will close the gap. But still, small comforts.

05:10: Some people are asking whether the Republican Congress will hold Trump to account. John McCain supported Donald Trump after he said that he preferred soldiers “who don’t get caught” and when he thought he lose – if you think he is gonna be a curb on him as president, you have got another think coming. 

04:53: It’s over, it’s just a matter of which state delivers the death blow.

People are comparing it to Brexit, but they’re not getting the scale. The worst of Brexit is a disaster for one country. Donald Trump’s victory means, among other things: there will be no serious global deal to tackle climate change, Vladimir Putin has a friend in the White House. Inside America, the lives and freedoms of America’s ethnic and social minorities will put in jeopardy, women’s reproductive rights will be rolled back. 

This is a great deal bigger than Brexit, even in the nightmares of the most Europhile of Remainers. 

04: 49: Anoosh here – we know how close things are getting to a Trump win when commentators have begun talking about the midterms in 2018, which should be a good opportunity for Republicans with so many red states up for grabs. Dan Hopkins over at FiveThirtyEight argues that Trump is bad news for the GOP next year, with midterms usually seeing the party of the president losing ground. “If history is any guide,” he writes, “Trump is more of a threat to the GOP’s congressional majorities as president than as a presidential candidate.” And the panel on PBS has just been discussing the same subject, a little twitchy-eyed: “Midterm with Donald Trump’s first term? All bets are off.” This feels like grasping at straws – when straws are the only things available to dig yourself out of the crater created by nuclear Armageddon.

04:41: As it stands:Trump has 216 electoral votes to Clinton’s 209. But those states still counting are trending towards Trump.

04:40: Not that it matters, but it looks like Clinton will win Nevada after all. 

04:36: Sophia Bush who used to be in One Tree Hill has retweeted me, so you know, you win some (big name retweets) you lose some (white supremacism gets nukes) .

04:33: Wisconsin looks very bad, Pennslyvania not much better. It now looks far more a matter of when, not if, Trump is declared the winner. 

04:30: Anoosh surfacing from the storm.

Whatever happens (and I think we know what’s going to happen), the post-result analysis is going to be torn between two focuses. How Trump inspired these voters to turn out, and redrew the electoral map – the sort of reckoning with “left behind” voters we’ve been having here since Brexit. And how America is not ready for a woman in the White House. We see Hillary Clinton not performing as well among ethnic minority voters as Barack Obama did (this would perhaps be unsurprising were it not for Clinton’s opponent being a racial slur generator), and also losing in a country that gives the current Democrat President an unusually high (majority) approval rating. I expect the narrative will concede too much to a group of people all too happy to vote along racist lines – and to now to have its prejudices disproportionately amplified.

04:19: Our man in Washington, Jonn Elledge, has the latest:

It’s not quite close enough to write Clinton off. She could still pull it out of the bag in the cities of Wisconsin and Michigan.

But this has stopped being reassuring and started to feel like they’re just dragging out the torture. 

04:13: Someone on PBS – I’m afraid I was looking despairingly at my hands – has made the excellent point that what this has vindicated is the Steve Bannon strategy of maximising the white vote, rather than making the Republican Party more hospital to minorities. Terrifying. 

04:12: On my holiday, I re-read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, one of my favourite novels. It has a line that feels appropriate about now:

 “There was no future: there was only a continued slide into still more terrifying versions of the present.”

04:10: Ron Johnson, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Wisconsin, has won. It now means the Democrats will not win the Senate and it looks highly unlikely Wisconsin will cast its 10 electoral votes for Clinton. She has lost. 

04:08: Anoosh again. How are the campaign teams reacting to the whiteknuckle narrowing of Clinton’s path to victory? According to US reporters, Clinton’s campaign team has been on lockdown for a while now – not responding to questions and not much sign of them around. All they’ve conceded is that it’s going to be a “long night”. But there has been this rather bittersweet tweet from her account, thanking her team, which people online are trying to read a lot into:

Trump’s team are unsurprisingly bullish (when are they not?). A senior Trump aide has told the Press Association that “We are calling it… it’s over – the voice of the people has risen up.”

04:00: Stephen again. Here’s where we are. 

Trump has won Florida and Ohio and just now North Carolina. Clinton basically has no real margin for error now.  But the real horrow show for her is Wisconsin, where there is not much city left to declare and the lead in rural areas for Trump is larger than we’d expect. It is, again, the Brexit pattern.

To be frank, although it is certainly possible that Clinton can claw out a win, it doesn’t look at all likely.  

03.52: Anoosh again. AP calls Florida for Trump. This was the state we thought we could put to bed at 1am and go to sleep dreaming of a Clinton-shaped future. Not so anymore. It’s not the end for Clinton though – we always said Florida would be a bonus for her rather than necessary, but now she needs Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and the unlikely Nevada on her path to power – a tall order under these circumstances.

03:44: 

Yes and no. Virginia means that Clinton still retains a thereotical interest in the presidency, but the narrow margin could be a warning sign elsewhere in her “firewall” – which looks to be short of both wall and fire at the present moment. It certainly looks to be auguring a bad result in Wisconsin. If that happens, Goodnight Vienna. Or more accurately, goodnight Latvia. 

03:41: Over at 538, they have bad news from Wisconsin – a state that if Clinton loses, it is very, very hard to see how she could win from there. With most of Milwaukee declared, she is still adrift of Trump. And it doesn’t bode well for Penn, which I have abandoned any hope of spelling correctly and have decided to shorten. 

03:36: Stephen here. Hilary Clinton has won Colorado, a critical swing state for her. She is now projected to win Virginia by CNN as well. She retains her very narrow path to the presidency, but it looks highly perilous. As I’ve said before, so far, the election is panning out similarly to how we’d expect from the polls – which means Clinton ought to squeak out a narrow victory. 

But – and it’s a big but – although the headlines so far are what we’d expect from the polls, the underlying figures are not. Virginia in particularly looks worryingly like the Brexit pattern – the vote way up among white working class voters, but the countervailing pressures from white liberal graduates and ethnic minorities not turning up to a similar scale.

It could be that she wins narrowly in Michigan, WisconsinPennsylvania, Nevada and New Hampshire. But just as a blow-out in Virginia turned into a narrow victory, narrow victories could turn to defeats.

03:21: Anoosh here – CNN has called Ohio, one of the key battleground states, for Trump. We hadn’t actually had a swing state confirmed yet, so this feels pretty gloomy. But, as PBS’s panel has just been discussing in its Ohio analysis, we had assumed that Clinton was going to lose that state. Jonathan Jones, one of our regular wonks on US states and polling, wrote a while ago about how Trump can win Ohio but still lose the election – for what is usually such a crucial electoral barometer, it doesn’t mean it’s all over for Clinton:

“Ohio might not matter as much on election day as that famous saying suggests. Although there’s a good chance that Trump will win Ohio (a 49 per cent chance, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast), there’s also a good chance he’ll do so while losing the election.

“That’s because Ohio is more Republican-leaning this election – relative to the country as a whole – than it has been since the days of JFK. In 2004, for example, Bush’s 2.1-point margin in Ohio was just slightly smaller than his 2.5-point margin nationally.”

03:20: It’s that man Jonn again:

Feels like the rust belt is trending Trump, but the swing states in the south aren’t trending Clinton. That’s not a good combination.

A Clinton win is possible but we’re now at the point where everything has to go her way.

Also we can never trust pollsters again.

03:14: Stephen here, with a ray of…not sunshine. The North Carolina Senate race has been called for Richard Burr. If Trump wins, which now looks more likely than not, he will have a majority in both houses of Congress. 

03:10: Anoosh again – trying to look for some sliver of sunshine, there are a few reasons to be optimistic. Not a single swing state has been called yet, which is worth remembering. As Stephen said earlier, the places that take the longest have the densest populations – the more urban areas, which are supposed to be favouring Clinton. The Senate still hangs in the balance – it’s not 100 per cent guaranteed to stay in Republican hands just yet. Plus, Nate Silver’s election whizzes at FiveThirtyEight still give Clinton a 60 per cent chance of winning. But that’s only based on pre-election projections and states that have called. So her chances are actually probably slimmer than that. OK, optimism not going so well. Sorry. Still searching…

03:00: Results! New Mexico goes Democratic.

Here’s where we are.

The non-voters who did not turn up for Trump in the primaries or in the early vote appear to have made themselves felt, particularly decisively in Florida. Trump looks certain to win there along with Ohio, which should declare soon. Virginia is expected to declare for Clinton, but with a smaller than expected margin, attesting to her weaker-than-expected performance. Her “optional extras” look lost to her, leaving her with a narrow path to stop Trump.

02:56: Marie’s friend may get some sleep after all.

02:53: Another question!

It depends. You could get a bad result. Basically, if Trump wins any of Clinton’s firewall states – Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Nevada, and that impossible to spell one, Pennslyvania – then yes, you will probably get some sleep, particularly if those states are New Hampshire or Nevada. 

If Clinton wins, you are not getting a result and sleep. 

02:50: Clinton now has a lead in Virginia. It’s a narrow one, and I’m not going to celebrate it, but if she holds onto it, her presidential hopes are alive. But only just. 

02:46: People are rightly asking what happened to that landslide I said was a-coming in Virginia. Basically, Trump was in a weak position before the cities came in. But the cities didn’t come in like we expected…and as I typed that, my prior assumption (way, way back at 22:30) that the Brexit comparison wouldn’t hold feels very shaky indeed. 

02:40: It’s Stephen again. It looks very, very tight in MichiganWisconsin and possibly Pennslyvania. Trump’s path looks strong. Clinton’s path now looks like the longshot. States which ought to be declaring quickly for her are taking ages. I said earlier that if she won Florida, you could go to bed happy. I’m sorry to say that it now looks more likely that your best chance for sleep is that she loses Virginia

02:38: Anoosh here – I’ve been looking into the gender gap (which we were all expecting to be more of a gender ravine) and there are a few unexpected numbers. It’s not over yet, but – as Clare Malone on FiveThirtyEight points out – Clinton isn’t doing as well as expected among women voters in Florida. She’s only at 51 per cent. Her share in other key states is higher (58 per cent in Pennsylvania, 55 per cent in North Carolina and 54 per cent in Ohio). But it should be more comfortable than this.

In New Hampshire, when you look at how women voted for President – Clinton won by a large margin (53 to 41). But in the Senate race in the same state, the Democrat candidate Maggie Hassan, did better than Clinton among female supporters.

And has been pointed out in the past 20 minutes on PBS, Trump seems to be doing a little closing of that gap himself. When you look at Connecticut exit polls, Kelly Ayotte, the incumbent Republican Senator – an established politician who has been attorney-general of her state – did worse than Trump did with women. By one point, granted. But even with such a small margin, it’s a bit close for comfort. The Trump effect is strong when it’s there – even among women.

02:33: The New York Times forecasts Trump as the favourite now. But 538 still has Clinton as the favourite, at 73%. On PBS, the conversation is on Clinton’s weak performance among women, which bodes very badly. 

02:31: I have more bad news. Michigan is looking ropey. Virginia, where Clinton started so brightly, has turned to shit. She is gonna get a narrow win there which does not bode well at all. CBS is rating Minesotta a toss-up. Minesotta is usually solid blue. I am mispelling it but I am honestly too distressed to care. 

02:26: A message from Jonn:

“I would like to communicate to the New Statesman readership that this election has stopped being fun for me.”

Indeed. 

02:20: The troubling thing is that Trump’s women problem does not appear to be showing up, at least according to the exit polls (take that with a pinch of salt, etc. but still, it’s not good).

02:17: Clinton’s path now is basically: win Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Nevada and New Hampshire. She is still favoured to do so. But it’s a narrow one.  

02:11: I’m getting a lot of this:

Look, at the moment, all that’s happened is, a very good early lead in Florida got us all very excited – including me. What we are seeing so far is what the polls predicted, which showed a Clinton lead. It is not good that Trump’s bad performance in Virginia early doors is being recovered from and that looks tight, although Clinton is still favoured there, with much of north Virginia (effectively DC overspill) still to declare. 

Clinton started the night with multiple paths to victory and, barring a turnaround in one of her bonus states, she now has a fairly narrow one. But so does Trump. It is not dark yet, etc. 

02:03: Results. Trump has won Arkansas and North Dakota. Clinton has won Connecticut. It is tighter than I would like in Virginia, but there are cities to come and Trump had it all to do with rural votes. Local reporters there are confident it is going Democratic. So far, the results are consistent with the polls.

Trump is leading in North Carolina.  

But the thing to worry about is that Trump’s path – white voters who have not voted in a while – looks more plausible now than it did at eleven o’clock. There was a surge in Latinx voting in Florida – but it appears to have been cancelled out by a surge in votes from white voters without college degrees. So while it is broadly giving us the result we’d expect, the polls may not be as right as we’d like. 

02:00: So the last ten minutes have been pretty bad. Florida looks gone, Clinton has slipped behind in Ohio and North Carolina, where she was leading. That puts extra pressure on Michigan and Pennslyvania – I’ve given up trying to spell it properly. The silence out of there, Jonn says, is “giving him the fear”.

But as yet, we are where the polls said we’ll be. Still, it looks like it will be a long and tense night. 

01:47: Here’s where we are.

Control of the Senate is finely balanced. The House of Representatives, as expected, remains in Republican hands. All indications so far are that the polls are right and Clinton will be President. 

Clinton is competitive in FloridaOhio, and North Carolina, though Florida is getting away from her it appears. If she wins two of those three, she has won for near-certain. If she wins one, she is very well placed. That all are close is a good sign and again indicates the polls showing Clinton winning are correct. 

01:42: Rhode Island goes Democrat. 

01:39: It looks like the Florida result will be within 0.25%, forcing a recount. A lot of people are blaming Jill Stein, the Green candidate, for “taking” Clinton’s votes. I mean, if it keeps you busy. But I really wouldn’t be too worried. Signs still look good, both for the Senate race and the presidential contest in North Carolina and Ohio, though there are many votes there still to count. 

01:35: To no-one’s particular surprise, the Republicans have retained control of the House of Representatives

01:33: In the Senate, Evan Bayh has lost in Indiana, making it harder for the Democrats to take control. They need four more gains after picking up Illinois earlier tonight. 

01:32: Another state name that could be a stripper, Alabama, has gone Republican. Clinton still leads at this early stage in the electoral college, by 68 to 64 electoral votes. Very early counting from Pennslyvania and Michigan both look solid for the Democrats. 

If you want to be cheerful for no good reason, Clinton is leading in Texas with half the votes counted. As Jonn says, it’s not gonna happen, but it’s nice to pretend. 

01:29: More good news from the battlegrounds. Clinton is currently narrowly ahead in both North Carolina and Ohio. If she wins either, it’s over. It looks very likely she will win at least one of North CarolinaOhio and Florida. Things are going well. I mean, I am feeling a little tired because I briefly allowed myself to think about getting to go to sleep if Florida went for Clinton early, but other than the fact this blog may cut out unexpectedly, everything is going fine so far. 

01:23: More from Virginia – Trump’s lead out of largely rural Chesterfield is down to just 5,000. Romney’s was at 12,000. And now the urban centres come in. Virginia is going Democratic.

01:18: It’s also worth noting that Florida is an optional extra for Clinton, though if you have work in the morning I can see how you’d be keen for her to gobble it up so you can go to bed. 

01:13: Florida has tightened a bit after some good Trump performances in what US wonks call “exurbs” – affluent semi-rural places just outside suburbs, like Surrey, basically, but with guns and better teeth. Very close there. But Clinton still has some cities left to count. 

01:10: Senate news. Marco Rubio has been re-elected as a Senator in Florida. But in good news for the Democrats, Tammy Duckworth has won Illinois – a gain of one. They need four more, assuming, as currently looks highly likely, they hold the White House. 

01:07: A raft of states with names that sound like stripper names – OklahomaMississippiTennessse – have declared for Trump. Clinton still leads.

01:05: A lot of British media outlets are reading these results wrong. Rural areas report first, because they have fewer votes, and they trend Republican. A good rule of thumb, tonight and most nights: cities vote late and vote for the left.

01:01: Washington DCDelaware, Massachusetts, Illinois  and Maryland all go Democratic. South Carolina (the less important one as far as the election is concerned) goes for Trump. Clinton leads in the electoral college 68 to 48 – and she may well do so for the rest of the night if these numbers from Florida hold. 

00:57: For those of you just joining us, here’s where we are.

Not many states have declared yet, but Hillary Clinton is in the box seat as far as the ongoing counts are concerned. She is in a strong position to win Florida and looks nailed on to win Virginia in a landslide – or “bigly” as Trump would say. 

That would mean that to win, Trump would have to sweep the rest of the battlegrounds, which also looks unlikely. We should have some more declarations in the next few minutes. 

00:52: Okay, I was lying about the autographs. He is eating chicken wings, however. It looks near-certain that not only has Clinton won Virginia but she has done it at a canter. 

00:50: Our US correspondent Jonn Elledge has taken a break from eating hot wings and signing autographs for fans of CityMetric (sadly I am not joking) to give us the analysis on the Florida numbers:

These are very good trends for Clinton in Florida – winning the heavily populated Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties by bigger margins than Obama. And Broward, which lies between them, has yet to report.

If she wins Florida it’s very, very difficult to see a way back for Trump.

00:45:  Clinton is behind in Florida, but crucially, she is outperforming Obama in the areas that have declared so far and she has areas of Democratic strength still to come. So far, the state trends Clinton. 

00:38: Clinton has won Orange County (in Florida, not the California Orange County made famous by The OC) by 29 points – Obama won it by 19 points. This election may be over sooner than we think if current trends hold. If. 

00:36: Speaking of the good Virginia, it does look very good for Clinton there so far – Trump is doing worse than Romney in the areas he is winning while Clinton is outperforming Obama. Clinton has also got a big Democratic vote out of Miami-Dade in Florida. If both of those go for the Democrats, stick a fork in Trump, he’s done. 

00:34: Result! West Virginia votes for Trump. Don’t worry, that’s the bad Virginia. The Virginia Clinton needs is just plain Virginia. Trump leads 24 electoral votes to 3 as it stands. 

00:30: Tony Robinson aka the voice actor from the Ladybird Books aka Baldrick aka Maid Marian has asked me a question, so Trump can win now, I just don’t care. 

Pretty hard. At that point, he must win all of the remaining battleground states, including Michigan and Pennslyvania, which is….unlikely, to put it mildly. 

00:28: I really can’t emphasise enough how much you shouldn’t be bouncing in your seat because Clinton is ahead in Florida with just 30 per cent reporting, because it could easily change. However, I am bouncing around in my seat because Clinton is ahead in Florida. 

00:25: I have been told off for saying “Hmm. Oh, that’s bad news” and then going quiet. (I was talking about Trump.) “We thought you meant bad news for the world!” says Helen. Anoosh is still not talking to me. (See 23:32.)

00:20: I have good news, but it’s early news, so may change. The good news is with 49 per cent of the vote counted in Tampa, Florida, Clinton is just 10 points behind in a Republican stronghold. If Florida goes for the Democrats, Trump is stuffed. In Chesterfield in Virginia, where Romney led by 13.2k votes in 2012, Trump is ahead by just 8k. 

00:16: What’s going on in Virginia? With one per cent counted, Clinton is narrowly ahead. I would read as much into that as the fact that with two per cent counted, Trump is ahead in Florida: ie. nothing at all. 

00:06: Nancy Pelosi is on PBS looking like she’s won the lottery. In the absence of news, let’s focus on that. She says they will “of course retain” the White House and will take back the Senate.

00:01: Results! Trump has won Indiana and Kentucky (in other news, bears found to shit in the woods, Pope to be Catholic, etc. etc.) while Clinton has won Vermont. That puts Trump ahead by 19 electoral votes to 3, though we’d expect that. Polls have also closed in Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina, but none have declared. 

00:00: The thing about Indiana and Kentucky, is unlike our own Sunderland, they are not all that handy for predicting what’s ahead. But there is a swing towards Clinton in Kentucky, though Indiana looks bad for both rural Ohio and Evan Bayh’s chance of taking the Senate seat back for the Democrats. 

23:55: When the apology is more disturbing than the insult…

23:49: George W. Bush has confirmed that he did not vote for Donald Trump. An angry Trump supporter is furious with me as a result.

23:47: Speaking of snacks, Jon Avis has a question about what’s keeping me going:

Here’s mine:

23:45: Jon Vincent wants to know when we’ll get past the talk about snacks and Ron Paul:

We should get our first set of useful results around midnight and then some more around one. 

23:41: A lot of you are asking this question.

Sorry, I clearly messed this up. Here’s a longer and hopefully better explanation:

British exit polls aren’t measuring voting intention – they don’t give us much of a sense of what the percentage of the vote will be, for instance – but change. Although there are many more Labour voters in Hackney than there are in Harrogate, for instance, for the most part, if there is a five per cent increase in the Labour vote at the expense of the Conservatives in Hackney, there will be a five per cent increase in the Labour vote at the expense of the Conservatives in Harrogate – and, more importantly, in Harlow, a marginal seat. They allow us to predict the outcome and the make up of the House of Commons, often with a great deal of accuracy.

American exit polls are polls of voters after they vote, but they are looking at voting intention, not change

23:40: The big question:

It doesn’t feel to me that there is any more cause for worry than there was this morning so far. Say one in four. Probably no harm in making it anyway, I mean, no-one is ever unhappy to have cake in their life. 

23:35: We have results! Well, some early results, from Kentucky and Indiana, both of which we’d expect Trump to win. In Kentucky so far, it appears there is a zero per cent swing to Trump – not a good sign for him. But he is doing very well in rural Indiana – meaning that Ohio may go his way as well. 

23:32: Anoosh and Helen are harshing on the manly vibe of NS Towers on election night. They are discussing whether nudity is okay in the theatre and talking about penises they have seen this week. Helen is leading Anoosh by 3 to “why would you ask that? What’s wrong with you?”

23:27: Those lyrics in full.

23:26: Yvette Cooper is down wid it.

In a surreal twist, I am rewriting the lyrics of Hamilton to be about the Labour leadership election. (The 2015 original, not the rubbish 2016 remake.) 

23:24: I have switched from Sky to PBS, which unlike most US channels, can be watched in a manner I am legally allowed to recommend. Link here. 

23:20:  It turns out that Thom had a real question and I am a bully.

Probably around two, unless it is close, in which case, five. 

23:19: Helen has arrived to make sure I don’t get up to too many hijinks, and has made me put a space in between the words “live” and “blog”. 

Fascist tyranny may be seen off in America, but it has already triumphed at the NS folks. 

23:15:  Jonn Elledge, our CityMetric editor, has a story to chill the bones from his US journey. 

Yesterday I visited an election board office in Ohio, so that the friend who was putting us up, the writer Linda Tirado, could cast her vote. Here’s what happened:

The point here is not that there was a deliberate attempt to stop people voting (though that may have happened in parts of North Carolina), merely that the people charged with enforcing the law had misunderstood it. That’s perhaps not that surprising, firstly since it’s a bit bizarre – a passport is not a recognised form of ID in Ohio, in any context – and secondly because it changes rather a lot. I don’t think there’s any conspiracy here. But it does make you wonder how many other people have been turned away from voting and not gone back.

23:12: Speaking of random loons, here’s Thom Phipps.

Yes. Yes, Thom, if you ask a question, you can get on the liveblog. Well, at least in this weird time before any results happen. 

23:11: We’re at the stage of election night telly when random loons are allowed on television as if they’re in anyway relevant to the events unfolding. Ron Paul is on Sky. 

23:05: For those of you just joining us, welcome. Here’s where we are.

Polls will start closing at midnight, when we’ll get our first results. As well as the presidential race, there are Senate seats in play in Nevada and Colorado, both Democratic-held, and Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Alaska, all Republican-held.

The states to watch in the presidential race: New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennslyvania, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. Trump needs to sweep the board – provided Clinton takes New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennslyvania, Colorado and Nevada, she’s fine.  

23:00: Caveats about exit polls and taking them with a pinch of salt, here’s what voters are saying about the candidates.

Not great for either of them, but I’d rather be Clinton than Trump on that score. 

22:53: Anoosh has arrived with beer! It’s San Miguel. 

22:50: George Hames has a good question.

Sort of, as I understand it. But as with any poll of early voters, you have problems that people may be lying about voting early – it’s not the same as an UK exit poll, where you know people have voted because they’ve left the polling station just as you ask them. 

22:46: Sky is very excited about the fact they are the only British broadcaster with access to the US’ exit polls. These should not be seen as equivalent to a British exit poll, which is a survey of people leaving polling stations and is measuring change, not doing a headline voting intention. The British version should really be called an exit survey, and is much more accurate than any exit poll. (Remember that YouGov poll that showed Remain winning? 

So while the exit poll suggests good news for Clinton – it indicates that there has been a turnout spike, but not a Trumpy one – don’t get any more excited by that than any other poll.

22:36: All the reports are pointing towards record turnout. As I said earlier, turnout increasing tends to be a zero-sum game: in the referendum, for instance, more young people voted than have voted in any election. However, they were more than outweighed by the fact that more old people voted than have voted in every election.

There’s just one caveat: there is a larger pool of Trump-friendly voters to draw on.

22:32: Those of you who do stick around to the end will be eligible for a free T-Shirt, though there will be a handling charge of £50. That’s £50 as it stands today not £50 after whatever damn fool thing comes out of a government minister’s mouth about Brexit. 

22:30: Charlie Bush, who has a great surname, has a great question.

I have two answers: the first is, you’re not hardcore if you go to sleep. The second is: my advice, stick around until one, that should give you some idea of how it’s panning out, then join me again for three. Though obviously you won’t be able to recieve a free “I followed the NS liveblog from start to finish” T-Shirt. 

22:28: Chris Williams has a question.

A question to which the answer is: no, my opener has always said “North Carolina”, and no-one can prove I went in and changed it after the fact. 

22:26: My feeling is still that Clinton has got this, but I am worried that high turnout means a surge of white voters without university degrees that aren’t being picked up by the polls. 

On my Facebook page earlier I listed the six assumptions that make me think it’ll be Clinton (as well as the polls, the early vote, etc. etc.):

1) You cannot increase your own side’s turnout without increasing the other side. It looks clear that there will be a turnout boost among that section of the electorate – white, old, without a higher education qualification – that is Trump-inclined. However, it also looks clear that there is going to be a turnout boost among Latinx, graduates and even the young. (And actually, given the scale of GOP efforts to limit African-American voters, the slight fall-off in voting from that demographic should be seen as a surge.)

2) Field organisation matters. You cannot doorknock your way to victory if people don’t trust your candidate on the big issues, and mostly the other side has one too, meaning that the advantage is nullified. But Trump doesn’t.

3) When the polls are wrong, the polling provides several clues that something is awry. With the general election, Labour leads made no sense when voters said they wanted David Cameron to stay in Number 10, with Brexit, Remain made no sense when voters said that they wanted to limit immigration and thought leaving was a cost-free option.

In this case, the polls show a widespread fear and dislike of Trump among voters. If there is error, my feeling is it will be to his expense, not his benefit.

4) The media in general and the American media love a horse race, and mostly, this should be ignored.

5) People will always choose someone they believe to be a competent crook over an incompetent monster.

6) Other than when I do it, all comparisons between the US and Europe, unless they are about philosophy or campaign technique, are vapid. That the case that it will be Trump seems to be “but Brexit!” makes me feel more certain that it won’t.

Did I mention I have a Facebook page? You can follow me on it here.

22:22: Robin Wilde is doing it right.

What are all of you doing for your election nights?

22:15: Inevitably, the first question is what I had to eat. The dinner options around NS Towers aren’t great in truth. In my price range, you’ve got a choice between Gourmet Burger Kitchen (bad) and Byron (increasingly evil), Deliveroo (I basically assume most of the gig economy is fairly exploitative until proven otherwise) or McDonalds. 

I had a burger. I feel full but also am nursing a guilty conscience. 

22:00: Good evening. I’ll be your host as America decides who’ll be its next president – and, in the races for the House of Representatives and the Senate, just how much power they’ll have. Polls will start to close in about an hour and I’ll be updating you with all the news, results and the rest.

The Senate races to watch: Nevada and Colorado, both Democratic-held. Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Alaska are Republican-held. All of those are in varying degrees of contention. The Democrats need to make five gains overall if they win the White House, as the Vice-President has the casting vote in the Senate. 

The presidential battles to watch: New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennslyvania, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. If Clinton wins those through New Hampshire to Nevada, she’s home and dry. If she wins Florida through to Iowa, she’s sweeping the board and vice versa for Donald Trump. Send your questions and complaints about my inevitable mispellings of the word “Pennsylvania” to stephen dot bush at new statesman dot com.