2020 Election: See Insider's comprehensive guide to the presidential and top congressional races

2020 Election: See Insider's comprehensive guide to the presidential and top congressional races

October 26, 2020
  • Voting in the 2020 presidential election between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden ends in eight days on November 3. 
  • In addition to the key presidential battleground states, there are hundreds of important US Senate and House races that will decide the balance of power in Washington, DC, for years to come. 
  • Insider has created individual race guides with information about the candidates, issues, and the state of the race for 115 of the most competitive congressional elections. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Voting in the 2020 election is ending in just eight days , and more than 50 million Americans have already cast their ballots. 

The race for the presidency between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is zeroing in on a number of battleground states key in both candidates' quests to win. They'll be battling for the popular vote, but the real election decider is the electoral college.

In the electoral college system, states are allocated a number of electors equal to how many representatives they have in Congress. Presidential candidates must earn 270 electoral college votes or more to win the election. All states except for Maine and Nebraska use a winner-take-all system in which the candidate who wins the most votes earns all of the state's electoral college votes. 

In addition to the presidential race, hundreds of critical US Senate and House races on the ballot this fall will determine the balance of power in Washington, DC, for many years to come. 

When can we expect the presidential election results

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020, but tens of millions have already cast their vote.

Election results are never truly finalized on election night, but in most past years, enough of the results have come in on election night for big news networks and outlets to call the winner of the race.

But because of the increase in Americans casting mail ballots, which take longer to process and count than in-person votes and can arrive after Election Day in many states, the outcome of the presidential race and other key down-ballot races may not be called on election night itself. 

Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina, which all allow a substantial amount of pre-processing and counting of mail ballots prior to Election Day, are expected to report a substantial amount of their results on election night.

But the key swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which do not allow for as much pre-processing of ballots before the polls open, will count the bulk of their mail-in ballots on or after Election Day.

Officials will work hard to process ballots in an accurate and efficient manner, but races in those states may take a little longer to call. 

Swing states to watch

Here's what you need to know about the top 10 swing states most likely to decide the election, including what the polls say and how the top election experts and handicappers at the Cook Political Report, Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University, and Inside Elections rate Trump and Biden's chances of winning each state.

There are six states on the map — Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — that flipped from voting for President Barack Obama in 2012 to vote for Trump in 2016. 

  • Arizona accounts for 11 votes in the electoral college. It's rated as "tilts Democratic" by Inside Elections, and "leans Democratic" by the Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball.
    • In 2016, Trump carried the state by a margin of 3.5 percentage points over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 general election polls in Arizona, Biden leads Trump by 3.5 points.
  • Florida accounts for 29 votes in the electoral college. It's rated as a "toss-up" in the electoral college by Sabato's Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report, meaning it has about an equal chance of voting for either Trump or Biden, and is rated as "tilts Democratic" by Inside Elections.
    • In 2016, Trump carried the state by a margin of 1.2 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 polls in Florida, Biden leads Trump by 3.7 points.
    • Georgia accounts for 16 votes in the electoral college. It's rated as a "toss-up" in the electoral college by the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato's Crystal Ball.
      • In 2016, Trump won Georgia by a margin of 5.1 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 polls in Georgia, Biden leads Trump by 0.9 percentage points in the state. 
      • Iowa accounts for six votes in the electoral college. It's rated as a "toss-up" in the electoral college by the Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball and "tilts Republican" by Inside Elections.
        • In 2016, Trump won Iowa by a margin of 9.4 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 polls in Iowa, Biden leads Trump by one percentage point. 
        • Michigan accounts for 16 votes in the electoral college. It's rated as "leans Democratic" in the electoral college by the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato's Crystal Ball.
          • In 2016, Trump carried Michigan by a margin of 0.3 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 general election polls in Michigan, Biden leads Trump by 7.5 percentage points. 
          • North Carolina accounts for 15 votes in the electoral college. It's rated as a "toss-up" in the electoral college by Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato's Crystal Ball.
            • In 2016, Trump carried North Carolina by a margin of 3.6 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 general election polls in North Carolina, Biden leads Trump by 2.9 percentage points. 
            • Ohio accounts for 18 electoral college votes. It's rated as a "toss-up" in the electoral college by the Cook Political Report, Sabato's Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections.
              • In 2016, Trump carried Ohio by a margin of 8.1 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 general election polls in Ohio, Trump leads Biden by one percentage point. 
              • Pennsylvania accounts for 20 electoral college votes. It's rated as "leans Democratic" in the electoral college by Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato's Crystal Ball.
                • In 2016, Trump carried Pennsylvania by a margin of 0.7 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 general polls in Pennsylvania, Biden leads Trump by 6.2 percentage points. 
                • Texas accounts for 38 electoral college votes. It's rated as "tilts Republican" by Inside Elections and "leans Republican" by the Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball. 
                  • In 2016, Trump carried Texas by a margin of nine percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 general election polls in Texas, Trump leads Biden by a margin of 0.5 percentage points on average. 
                  • Wisconsin accounts for 10 electoral college votes. It's rated as "leans Democratic" in the electoral college by Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato's Crystal Ball.
                    • In 2016, Trump carried Wisconsin by a margin of 0.7 percentage points over Clinton. In FiveThirtyEight's average of 2020 general election polls, Biden leads Trump by 6.6 percentage points.
                    • Nebraska's and Maine's 2nd Congressional Districts also account for one electoral college vote each. 

                      Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District is rated as "leans Democratic" in the electoral college by Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato's Crystal Ball. Trump carried the 2nd District by a margin of 2.2 percentage points in the 2016 election, according to the Daily Kos. 

                      Maine's 2nd Congressional District is rated as a "toss-up" in the electoral college by Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato's Crystal Ball. Trump carried Maine's 2nd District by a margin of 10 percentage points in the 2016 election, according to the Daily Kos. 

                      Battleground congressional races to watch

                      Arizona 

                      Senate:

                      • GOP Sen. Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly face off in the special election for US Senate in Arizona

                      House:

                      • AZ-06: Dr. Hiral Tipirneni looks to unseat incumbent Rep. David Schweikert in Arizona's 6th Congressional District

                         

                      Florida

                      House:

                      • FL-15: Scott Franklin and Alan Cohn compete in the open race for Florida's 15th Congressional District
                      • Fl-16: GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan looks to retain his longtime seat against Margaret Good in Florida's 16th Congressional District
                      • FL-26: First-term Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell looks to defend her seat in Florida's 26th Congressional District
                      • FL-27: First-term Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala fights to defend her seat against Republican Maria Elvira Salazar in Florida's 27th Congressional District

                      Georgia

                      Senate: 

                      • Republican Senator David Perdue faces off against Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia
                      • What you need to know about the special election for US Senate in Georgia

                      House:

                      • GA-06: Karen Handel looks to regain House seat from incumbent Rep. Lucy McBath in Georgia's 6th Congressional District
                      • GA-07: Carolyn Bourdeaux and Rich McCormick square off in Georgia's 7th Congressional District

                      Iowa

                      Senate:

                      • GOP Sen. Joni Ernst faces a challenge from Democrat Theresa Greenfield for her Iowa Senate seat

                      House:

                      • IA-01: Rep. Abby Finkenauer faces off against Republican Ashley Hinson in Iowa's 1st Congressional District
                      • IA-02: Rita Hart and Mariannette Miller-Meeks face off in the open race for Iowa's 2nd Congressional District
                      • IA-03: Cindy Axne fights to retain her seat against David Young in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District
                      • IA-04: J.D. Scholten and Randy Feenstra vie for a seat in Iowa's 4th Congressional District following Rep. Steve King's primary loss

                      Maine

                      Senate:

                      • Democrat Sara Gideon takes on GOP Sen. Susan Collins for US Senate in Maine

                      House:

                      • ME-02: Jared Golden and Dale Crafts square off in Maine's 2nd Congressional District

                      Michigan

                      Senate:

                      • Democratic Senator Gary Peters faces off against Republican John James in Michigan

                      House:

                      • MI-03: Republican Peter Meijer and Democrat Hillary Scholten face off in Michigan's 3rd District
                      • MI-06: Rep. Fred Upton faces Democrat Jon Hoadley in Michigan's 6th Congressional District
                      • MI-08: Rep. Elissa Slotkin looks to retain her seat against Paul Junge in Michigan's 8th Congressional District

                      Nebraska

                      House:

                      • NE-02: Incumbent Don Bacon and Kara Eastman vie to represent Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District

                      North Carolina

                      Senate:

                      • GOP Sen. Thom Tillis faces off against Democrat Cal Cunningham in a competitive US Senate race in North Carolina

                      House:

                      • NC-08: GOP Rep. Richard Hudson competes against Democrat Patricia Timmons-Goodson in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District
                      • NC-11: Madison Cawthorn faces off against Moe Davis in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District

                      Ohio

                      House:

                      • OH-01: Rep. Steve Chabot squares off against Democrat Kate Schroder in Ohio's 1st Congressional District
                      • OH-10: 4-term incumbent Rep. Mike Turner squares off against Desiree Tims in Ohio's 10th Congressional District.
                      • OH-12: Troy Balderson looks to defend his seat against Democrat Alaina Shearer in Ohio's 12th Congressional District

                      Pennsylvania

                      House:

                      • PA-01: Democrat Christina Finello moves to unseat Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District
                      • PA-08: Matt Cartwright and Jim Bognet square off in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District
                      • PA-10: Eugene DePasquale challenges Scott Perry to represent Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District

                      Texas

                      Senate:

                      • MJ Hegar takes on Sen. John Cornyn for US Senate in Texas

                      House:

                      • TX-02: First-term GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw faces off against Sima Ladjevardian in Texas' 2nd District
                      • TX-03: First-term GOP Rep. Van Taylor looks to defend his new seat against Democrat Lulu Seikaly in Texas' 3rd Congressional District
                      • TX-07: First-term Rep. Lizzie Fletcher looks to retain her seat against Wesley Hunt in Texas' 7th Congressional District
                      • TX-10: Eight-term incumbent Rep. Michael McCaul will face Democrat Mike Siegel in Texas' 10th Congressional District
                      • TX-21: First-term Rep. Chip Roy looks to defend his seat against Wendy Davis in Texas' 21st Congressional District
                      • TX-22: Sri Preston Kulkarni faces off against Troy Nehls in Texas' 22nd Congressional District
                      • TX-23: Gina Ortiz Jones faces off against Tony Gonzales to represent Texas' 23rd Congressional District
                      • TX-24: Everything you need to know about Texas' 24th Congressional District House race between Beth Van Duyne and Candace Valenzuela
                      • TX-25: 4-term GOP incumbent Rep. Roger Williams squares off against Julie Oliver in Texas' 25th Congressional District
                      • TX-31: 9-term incumbent Rep. John Carter squares off against Democrat Donna Imam in Texas' 31st Congressional District
                      • TX-32: First-term Rep. Colin Allred squares off against Genevieve Collins in Texas' 32nd Congressional District

                      Wisconsin

                      House: 

                      • WI-03: 12-term incumbent Rep. Ron Kind faces Republican Derrick Van Orden in Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District

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