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Democratic candidate currently looks set to oust the current president Donald Trump according to national polls – although the polls have incorrectly predicted the outcome, most recently in 2016. America’s election system is very different from ours here in the UK. Thankfully Express.co.uk is on hand with this very simple explainer.
What is the electoral college?
When Americans go to the polls, they cast votes for the electoral college on a state level, not a national level.
The amount of college seats is proportional to its population – for example, California, one of the most populous states, has 55 seats to give.
The candidate who gets the most votes wins the seats for that state and gets that number of seats in the electoral college.
The formula for determining the number of votes for each state is simple.
Each state gets two votes for its two US Senators, and then one more additional vote for each member it has in the House of Representatives.
In California, the most populous state in the country, there are 55 votes – two senators and 53 members of the House of Representatives – the most of any state.
To become president either candidate needs to win a majority of the 538 electors, so more than 270 electors.
Who will win the electoral college vote?
Joe Biden currently has a big advantage in the electoral college, leading in enough states to be deemed “safe” or “likely” to win.
Political traders are expecting a comfortable win for the democratic nominee at present, with 322 seats.
Donald Trump secured 306 seats in the 2016 election, seeing off Hillary Clinton in another hotly contested race.
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Phill Fairclough, political trader at Sporting Index, said: “The Electoral College voting system is a crucial part of US elections, and we’re now expecting a landslide victory for Joe Biden with the Democratic nominee expected to secure 322 Electoral College Votes – 106 more than his rival Donald Trump – which would give him 60 percent of the vote.
“There’s still time for President Trump to turn things around during his campaign and going by the events of the 2016 election it wouldn’t be wise to completely write him off.
“However, he would need a huge swing in his favour between now and November 4 to prevent Biden from replacing him in the White House.”
Mr Biden currently has a 10-point lead over the current president, even though some key states like Texas and Ohio are still a toss-up.
Most states nearly always vote the same way, meaning that in reality there are just a handful of states where both candidates stand a chance of winning.
Between elections, they swing from one party to another – unlike solid states such as California, which has always voted blue.
There are some permanent swing states, such as Florida – but others change on the run up to an election.
In 2016, it was predicted by polls that Hillary Clinton would safely take the electoral college and secure the presidency.
Despite winning the popular vote, Ms Clinton failed to land in office when Mr Trump secured the most votes in the electoral college.
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