Republican Donald Trump may have turned the form book by jumping to an early lead over the pre-election favourite, Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the highly-contested US presidential election.
Emerging from America’s most turbulent presidential election campaign, Trump won most of the swing states, where the Democrats built their electoral advantages in the last two presidential polls, suggesting that a lot of US voters supported the controversial businessman in Tuesday’s voting.
As of the time of filing this report this morning, the businessman had garnered 186 electoral votes out of the required 270 votes while Clinton had polled 190 electoral votes, but majority of pollsters and analysts had given victory to Trump in the close race.
CNN, however, projected that Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, might win in California, where there are 55 electoral votes, brightening her chances of emerging the first US female President.
Trump won in key decider states of Florida, Ohio, Texas, Georgia, among others.
The subdued performance of Clinton, surprised major political observers and experts, who had joined some key pollsters to literally ‘award’ the race to the White House to Clinton, the former US Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.
Meanwhile, the most bitter and bruising presidential race in modern American history hurtled to the finish line on Tuesday as polls closed in some states in the bid of the US voters to elect the 45th American President between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
Trump picked up early wins in Indiana and the reliably red state of Kentucky while Hillary Clinton scored a victory in Vermont, according to NBC News projections.
The results in the battleground states of Georgia and Virginia, as well as in South Carolina, were either too close or too early to call.
As millions of Americans cast their ballots, early exit polls showed that large majorities of voters had an unfavourable view of both Trump and Clinton.
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, voted at their local polling station in Chappaqua, New York, just after 8 a.m. ET.
“It is the most humbling feeling,” the Democratic nominee said. “I’ll do the very best I can if I’m fortunate enough to win today.”
Trump and his wife, Melania, voted in Manhattan some three hours later.
“We’re going to win a lot of states,” Trump said in an early-morning interview on FOX News. “Who knows what happens ultimately?”
Meanwhile, some 90 million other Americans were expected to cast ballots, bringing to an end an unusually rancorous and downright wild political drama.
In the first hours of Election Day, there were long lines of voters at polling stations throughout the country waiting to cast ballots, but otherwise only sporadic problems with malfunctioning voting machines in one state and technical issues with voter check-in in another.
According to BBC, voters in several states faced long queues pointing to a high turnout.
Some polling locations also reported equipment failures, exacerbating delays.
More than 46 million ballots have already been cast in the many states that opened polling places for early voting in the last few weeks, with 80 million to 100 million more votes expected on Tuesday.
The events – Clinton’s in North Carolina and Trump’s in Michigan – were still going on when results came in from the first in-person voting on Election Day. Clinton got the most votes in the tiny New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch, just south of the Canadian border, beating Trump, four to two.
As of 2am on Wednesday, Trump has amassed 5,508,313 (50.2%) votes in the districts of a few battle ground states of Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and New Hampshire while Clinton polled 5,107,824 (46.6%) votes in the states.
Trump also had 48 electoral votes to Clinton’s 68 votes in a few of the states.
The Democrats, however, had won 36 Senate seats to the Republican’s 33 in the 100-seat chamber but trailing the Republican 23 to 19 in the House of Representatives.
The former First Lady, however, won in some states, where there are fewer electoral votes