US President Donald Trump was projected to win Indiana’s electoral votes, Edison Research said on Tuesday, the first state to be decided in the race against Joe Biden in an election held amid a pandemic gripping a deeply divided United States.
As polls began to close in seven states, Trump also was projected to win Kentucky by the Associated Press, and Biden was projected by Fox News to win Democratic-leaning Vermont and Virginia in widely expected results. Indiana had been expected to go to Trump.
Voters, many wearing masks and maintaining social-distancing to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, experienced long lines in a few locales and short waits in many other places. There were no signs of disruptions or violence at polling sites, as some officials had feared.
The winner - who may not be determined for days - will lead a nation strained by a pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 people and left millions more jobless, racial tensions and political polarization that has only worsened during a vitriolic campaign.
A third of U.S. voters listed the economy as the issue that mattered most to them when deciding their choice for president while two out of 10 cited COVID-19, according to an Edison Research exit poll on Tuesday.
In the national exit poll, four out of 10 voters said they thought the effort to contain the virus was going “very badly.” In the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina, battleground states that could decide the election, five of 10 voters said the national response to the pandemic was going “somewhat or very badly.”
The poll found that nine out of 10 voters had already decided whom to vote for before October, and nine out of 10 voters said they were confident their state would accurately count votes.
Biden, the Democratic former vice president, has put Trump’s handling of the pandemic at the centre of his campaign and has held a consistent lead in national opinion polls over the Republican president.
Biden, 77, appeared to have multiple paths to victory in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner; at least 270 electoral votes, determined in part by a state’s population, are needed to win.