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First races called for Trump and Biden as polls begin to close

Yahoo Finance’s Jen Rogers, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer, HuffPost Politics Reporter Tara Golshan, and Yahoo News Senior Political Correspondent Jon Ward set the stage for the presidential election as polls begin to close in parts of the country and some states are called.

Video Transcript

JEN ROGERS: I want to bring in a panel here. I am joined by Yahoo Finance's editor-in-chief Andy Serwer, Yahoo's senior political correspondent Jon Ward, and HuffPost politics reporter Tara Golshan.

So, Andy, I want to start with you right now, and talk about some of the data that we're starting to get from the Associated Press and the AP VoteCast where they have data on voters. And overwhelmingly the majority of the voters said the pandemic had affected them personally. About 4 in 10 said their household had lost a job or income. They also had data saying that people-- 2/3 of voters saying that their choice for president was driven by their opinion of President Trump. What does that tell us at this moment?

ANDY SERWER: Well, Jen, President Trump, of course, is the main event here. I don't think that's a surprise. And, you know, all the drama and the momentousness leading up to this one night, we're finally here. And, of course, the topic is all about Donald Trump. It's really a referendum about Donald Trump and his leadership in terms of his personal style and his policies and how he's led this country through the pandemic.

So far, though, we're not seeing any surprises. It's very, very early. Those three states that have been called were all predicted to go, Vermont to Biden and West Virginia, Kentucky to Trump. You're seeing some returns, as you said, coming out of these other states. Florida does have 50% counted, but we're not going to probably know that for quite some time, and I'd be very wary if you see these states leaning one way or the other to draw any conclusions in some instances.

And I think those six swing states are going to be absolutely essential, which is Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona. That, to me, is the whole ball of wax because I don't think there's going to be a lot of surprises when it comes to places, of course, like, you know, Kansas or California and New York. So we'll be watching.

And, of course, the counting is so important in all those states, and they count differently. And so that's going to keep us up probably very late at night and maybe tomorrow and some days after that as well.

JEN ROGERS: Let's go to Jon Ward on that because, Jon, we've heard about this possible blue mirage in Sunbelt states that report mail in and early votes first and then a red mirage in Great Lakes states that report in-person votes first. As Andy said, I mean, it's this sort of patchwork. And also, we've never been through this with this absentee tsunami in terms of how many ballots were cast early.

So what should we be looking at here? Is it the margins that are important? Is it how many votes are outstanding at this point? What are you watching?

JON WARD: Well, yes. We are going to be looking at the margins in some of these states that are going to be reporting early tonight. But I have to say, any hopes for Joe Biden to have a huge early lead in the early returns in Florida has not materialized. There are a few good signs for Biden in Florida, but by far the headline out of the first 35 minutes here of returns coming out of Florida is the shocking results out of Miami-Dade County.

I want to throw a few numbers your way. Four years ago, Trump won Florida by 117,000 votes out of 9 million votes cast altogether. In Miami-Dade County, Hillary Clinton beat Trump there 624,000 to 333,000. Donald Trump with 84% of the vote in Miami-Dade has 457,000 votes in Miami-Dade County. That's 120,000 more. That's his margin of victory from four years ago. That's just from Miami-Dade.

Now, it doesn't mean necessarily that Trump is going to win Florida, but Joe Biden's path to victory in Florida just got a lot harder. And if Donald Trump wins Florida and the presidency, what happened to Democrats with Cuban American voters in Miami-Dade county is going to be a massive, massive story.

JEN ROGERS: Tara Golshan, going to you on some of the demographics and what we're looking at here because as you hear Jon talking about the votes that President Trump has consolidated in Miami-Dade, look, the Republicans are saying that the Democrats got all their votes early on and the ballots that were cast the last few days and few weeks in some cases. They needed to get out a lot of different bases here. Do we know anything in terms of the demographics-- the suburban women that we've heard of, the people of color, how people were able to get out that vote? Do we have any insight onto that yet?

TARA GOLSHAN: I think I'm just going to caution that it is still really early. And as much as I would like to know and have some tea leaves to look into, the exit polls at this point I'm taking with a grain of salt.

But that said, there are things that we've seen through investments from the campaigns that can give us some indications as to what's happening on the ground. Biden has had some difficulty with Latino voters specifically in Florida. That's something the campaign has privately admitted to. We've seen that he's polling behind Hillary Clinton among Latino voters. And when it comes to Latino men, for example, they're neck and neck, Biden and Trump. So those are the things that we're kind of keeping an eye on, and I expect that we'll see that turnout in Florida.

When it comes to young voters, however, we've seen an incredible outpouring of support and Biden's investments and outside groups like Tom Steyer, the billionaire from California who ran for president briefly and had this massive operation to turn out young voters. They invested $40 million, and it has paid off.

We saw that the poll numbers for Biden among young voters really flipped from May when they weren't really that interested in him till now where there's a majority of young voters are interested. And we're seeing the turnout numbers from early voting and absentee in states such as North Carolina where there's been a huge increase in young voters turning out.