There are 200 million registered voters in the United States, and it’s a good bet that more than 120 million of them will cast votes in the presidential race on Tuesday. While every vote counts, not all of them have the same value – in an election that has come down to less than a dozen contested swing states, some places matter a lot more than others.
Here are 10 states that will decide the election:
Arizona: The Grand Canyon State hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996, but Democrats believe that increased Hispanic voter registration will keep things competitive.
Recent polling has given Republican Donald Trump a slight edge over Democrat Hillary Clinton, but Democrats cite an advantage in early voting as evidence that it could be a close night. On Friday, the final day of early voting, thousands of Arizonans stood in long lines.
Colorado: Colorado is one of the most widely swinging battleground states. It cast its vote for Republican George W Bush in 2004 by a higher percentage than the nation as a whole. Four years later, it did the same thing — except for Democrat Barack Obama.
Only termed a swing state in the past few elections, Colorado has been shifting to the left rapidly. This year, for the first time in decades, Democratic and unaffiliated voters outnumber Republicans. The state’s growing Latino population, more than 20% as well as the Denver area’s explosion of younger voters are among the reasons for the shift.
Florida: The Sunshine State is once again the centre of the presidential campaign and has been a frequent stop for Clinton and Trump. Florida is essential to Trump’s chances. Barring big upsets elsewhere, failure to win here blocks the Republican’s path to the 270 electoral votes he needs to capture the White House. Across Florida, more Latinos had voted by Wednesday than during the entire early voting period in 2012, according to the Clinton campaign.
Georgia: The last Democrat to carry Georgia was a fellow southerner, Bill Clinton in 1992, so the Peach State didn’t appear particularly ripe for Hillary Clinton when the race began. But it has turned unexpectedly competitive this year.
Several recent polls have shown the contest to be within the margin of error or Trump leading by a modest margin.
Iowa: Donald Trump’s strength among white, non-college-educated voters could help swing Iowa to the GOP this cycle, after it voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Iowa is more than 90% white.
Trump has a five-point lead, according to a polling average of recent surveys calculated by The Washington Post. Iowa has just six electoral college votes. Still, it is a must-win for Trump, given his limited path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
Michigan: This industrial, Midwestern state, which dealt a surprise blow to Clinton in the Democratic primary when it backed Senator Bernie Sanders, could be poised for another upset in the general election.
Michigan voters have not supported a Republican for president since 1988. With an electorate that is 72% white, Michigan is one of the least diverse states, meaning Clinton’s demographic advantages — she is strong among minorities — could be limited.
Nevada: Nevadans have voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1992. But like most swing states, Nevada is starkly divided between red and blue. Nevada is changing, though. Almost a third of the state is Hispanic, and there’s a growing Asian American population as well.
New Hampshire: Tiny and independent-minded, New Hampshire figures most prominently in the presidential election as the site of the nation’s first primary vote, typically a few days after the kickoff caucuses in Iowa. With four electoral votes, it’s not a big prize in the general election, but is considered a battleground because of significant Republican strength amid solidly Democratic northeastern states.
New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment has been a Democratic stronghold during the past two presidential elections. Democrats have won five of the past six presidential elections in New Mexico. George W Bush narrowly won here in 2004.
Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and repeated vows to build a wall along the US-Mexico border have made him deeply unpopular among Latino voters.
North Carolina: North Carolina has been one of the most heavily travelled states on the campaign trail this year and could tip either way.
The state has historically been favourable turf for Republicans in presidential races. According to exit polls, African Americans accounted for about 18 percent of the electorate in 1996. By 2012, the black share of the vote rose to 23%.
Sources: AP, Washington Post, Politico