Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were locked in close contests in battleground states with a razor thin edge in some of them, but the Republican nominee was performing much better than expected even by his own advisers and allies.
The Associated Press said Trumps had bagged Florida, a swing state his campaign had maintained was absolutely critical to his prospects of winning, and had posted commanding leads in North Carolina, Michigan and Ohio, which every Republican president has won.
Clinton, who led all polls most of the year, was ahead in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado and Virginia but there was nervousness in her camp about their nominee not performing as well as expected in Florida, the key battleground state.
The two nominees followed the results with their families barely a mile apart in Manhattan — Trump in Trump Tower and Clinton at a hotel, The Peninsula, just a block down the road. They will appear later at election parties not very far from each other.
With Trump ahead, the congressional races had yielded one incontrovertible result — Republicans will hold on to the House of Representatives, but there was no clarity on the margin.
Though there was no word from the campaigns on the results thus far, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway did make a hint with this tweet: “Wow. Wow. Wow. @NYTimes just Gave us 53% chance to win based on current returns…”
She was referring to The New York Times blog UPShot election tracker that never showed Trump had much of chance of winning the election - it did on Tuesday, which showed him the more favoured of the two to win.
Some pundits were already talking about a wave that was missed by pollsters and poll aggregators as they had during the Brexit vote in Britain. Trump had warned of this, saying the US was looking at a the possibility of a similarly surprising outcome.