America has now voted in the 2020 presidential election. The first indication of how people have voted has started to emerge as exit polls are published.
Exit polls can provide an early sense of which candidate is leading and how certain key demographics have voted.
Voters are interviewed after they come out of the polling station about different topics such as what demographic they are, what the main issues are for them and what they think of each candidate.
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Sky News election analyst Michael Thrasher said the exit polls are showing Democrat Joe Biden has won the popular vote but whether he wins the all-important Electoral College remains “on a knife edge”.
Sky News, in association with Edison/Reuters, has all the latest exit poll data here:
There has been little change in the gender and age profile of the electorate, but the exit polls show an increase in non-white voters and college graduates while Donald Trump’s 2016 core vote of white non-college voters is down – which all points to a popular vote win for Mr Biden.
One of the key features of the 2020 electorate is an increase in college graduates voting, and they have decisively shifted towards the Democrats compared with 2016.
Main issues/reasons to vote for Donald Trump or Joe Biden
With an election happening during the coronavirus pandemic, the disease was always going to be one of the main issues – especially in one of the hardest hit countries.
However, it was only third in the most important issues for voters, behind the economy and racial inequality. Democrat voters were much more concerned about the pandemic than Republicans, the exit polls show.
Here, voters answered questions on how they feel Mr Biden and Mr Trump have handled COVID-19 and its effect on them.
Black Lives Matter protests have been taking place across the US during the campaign, making it one of the top issues, along with mail-in ballots which Mr Trump has said would result in higher levels of voter fraud.
A Black Lives Matter protest has been happening overnight in Washington DC as votes were counted.
Just weeks before election day, Supreme Court heavyweight Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, with Mr Trump’s replacement pick, Amy Coney Barrett, proving controversial.
This exit poll found that Democrats were much more concerned about racism in the US than Republicans.
Several other issues remain important to how people choose to vote, including candidates’ positions on abortion, crime, their health care policies and the economy.
Candidates’ characteristics and people’s opinions
As the US system sees people voting for a person, rather than a party, their opinion on Mr Biden and Mr Trump – and their deputies – often plays an important part in how they vote.
Both presidential candidates are over 70 years old and their physical and mental health has been questioned, but Republicans overwhelmingly believe Mr Trump is the only candidate to trust on that front, with exactly the same number of Democrats saying the same of Mr Biden.
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