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The American Presidential Election

January 2017 marks a big change for America. The country will have a new head of the state and the planet’s largest military force will have a new commander-in-chief. It is a big role and the race is becoming bitter as the 8th of November, Election Day, is fast approaching.

The latest poll published in the Telegraph shows Clinton leading the presidential race by 3.6%. An article from New York Times, however, shows that final election result can still differ by about four percentage points. With the numbers between Clinton and Trump being too close, it is reasonable to assume that this election is still far from over.

In other words, it is now, more than ever, that Americans need to vote. How does this work?

America’s 50 states award a candidate Electoral College votes, which depends on the state’s number of Congressional members. This also means it is roughly based on the population of a certain state. This Electoral College vote is more important than the popular vote. So this means that if, for example, Clinton’s campaign wins in big Democratic States such as California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey, these populous states could elect her as the new President of America.

To put this in context, Obama, in 2008, received 68% of Electoral College vote. This means the outgoing president was backed by the most highly populated states of the country.

What are swing states?

We always hear about the swing states in discussions about the elections. But, what is it? The Telegraph defines swing states as the battlegrounds where a presidential candidate wins over the other. These areas are identified based on the thin margin between the two candidates. In other words, the result can still go either way.

This makes the Electoral College in these swing states crucial to the final election result especially since they make up 270 votes, a significant number to win the election. There are no fixed swing states for every election. They vary depending on the most debated or controversial topics during the election. Regardless, these states are definitely the target areas for a presidential political campaign.

An interesting trivia is that Ohio has always been mentioned in campaigns as an important area. This is because the candidate who wins in Ohio wins the election. This has been true since the 1964 elections. This makes Ohio a busy state during the campaign season especially since the average margin of victory here is only 3%. With the current poll results however, any state is a swing state at this point.

Why are the polls neck-and-neck?

Both Trump and Clinton are unpopular both to the public and even to their own parties. There are Republicans who refuse to endorse Trump, while Clinton is suffering the same lack of endorsement from the Democrats.

Surveys from CBS News and New York Times reflect the public’s lack of trust to both candidates. For example, when it comes to honesty and trustworthiness, Clinton received 33% while Trump received 35%. When it comes to values, 57% of Americans say that they do not have the same values as Clinton, while Trump received 62% in the same category.

This election is also an interesting time as far as the division of demographics in America is concerned. More whites and men support Republicans, while ethnic minorities and women support Clinton.

Race is one of the biggest demographics that could dictate the result of this election. Trump is not very popular with Hispanics and black people, who account for a considerable percentage in key swing states. On the other hand, education, another big demographic, is more in favor of Trump than Clinton.

Under the US constitution, the new president will be inaugurated on the 20th of January, 2017. After the election, given the vote is decisive, the winning candidate will begin crafting a policy agenda as well as assembling a cabinet. This is when the real work starts. At the moment, however, the world is focused on who the US electorate decides to put in the Whitehouse.

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