(CNSNews.com) – The race for the presidency remained too close to call early on Wednesday morning, although President Trump’s chances were looking stronger than opinion polls had suggested, with an apparent victory in Florida a major boost to his campaign.
A CBS News exit poll found that Florida voters who thought the economy was the most important factor broke 84-15 percent for the president. It also found that Democratic nominee Joe Biden beat Trump among Latino voters in the state by just five points – compared to Hillary Clinton’s 27-point margin (62-35) with that voting group in 2016.
Meanwhile Biden was projected by Fox News to have won Arizona, which has gone Republican in every presidential election since the 1950s – with the exception of Bill Clinton’s win in 1996. (CBS News had Arizona leaning to Biden.)
But with millions of absentee ballots yet untallied in the key battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and counting holdups in Georgia, it looked as though there would still be some way to go before a clearer picture emerged.
Trump looked set to win Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Biden was on track to take Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Biden emerged in Wilmington, Delaware around 12:30 AM, calling for patience.
“We believe we’re on track to win this election,” he said.
“We’re going to have to be patient until we – the hard work of tallying votes is finished. And it ain’t over ’til every vote is counted.”
He expressed confidence about winning Pennsylvania, and said “we’re feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan.”
Soon after Biden spoke Trump tweeted, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
(Twitter flagged the post, “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”)
Trump also tweeted, “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!”
By around 1:30 AM eastern, some of the electoral college tallies put out by networks and agencies began to shift in favor of Trump, with both NBC News and ABC News giving him 212 electoral college votes to Biden’s 209, while CBS News had Trump at 210, Biden at 207.
Fox News had Biden at 238 to Trump’s 213, and the Associated Press put Biden on 224 to Trump’s 213.
Two hundred and seventy electoral college votes are needed for a candidate to win.
In Senate contests of note, Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner lost his seat to former Gov. John Hickenlooper, while Arizona Republican Sen. Martha McSally lost her seat to Democratic former astronaut Mark Kelly.
In another upset, Democratic Sen. Doug Jones lost his Alabama seat to Republican Tommy Tuberville, a retired football coach.