Your Hour-by-Hour Guide to 2016 Election Results

Updated on

Is the Market Overreacting to the Election Results?

Just 596 days after Senator Ted Cruz kicked off the 2016 presidential race by announcing his candidacy, Election Night is here. For those keeping track, here’s an hour-by-hour guide for what to look for. All times are Eastern Standard Time, which is only fitting, with two New Yorkers vying to move to Washington D.C.

Read more: Live minute-by-minute election results from 6:45 p.m. EST

6 p.m.

The first polls close, in Indiana. If pre-election polling holds, Trump scores the first electoral votes of the day. If he doesn’t, Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate and the governor of Indiana, will have a lot of explaining to do.

* Indiana could be an early indicator of whether Democrats can take control of the Senate, says Sasha Issenberg, a Bloomberg Politics contributing writer. Evan Bayh’s bid to reclaim the seat from which he retired in 2010 has been unexpectedly bumpy, and a loss to Republican Congressman Todd Young would give Democrats a tougher path to the four-seat pickup (five, if Trump wins the presidency) they need.

7 p.m.

Florida takes center stage once again, its 29 electoral votes crucial to any Trump victory scenario. It could put an early end to the suspense by going for Clinton -- though history suggests it could take days, not hours, to declare a winner. Polls close as well in Virginia, where Clinton rakes up the vote-rich counties close to the nation’s capital, and New Hampshire, which has been fertile Trump territory since the primaries. If Virginia looks close, it may be a long night for Clinton -- and for the pollsters who concluded she’d win it easily.

* Any hints about the I-4 corridor, from Daytona Beach to Tampa, which is the ultimate battleground within Florida’s battleground, says Mark Halperin, co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics.
* Whether turnout in New Hampshire college towns -- Hanover, Plymouth, Durham and Keene -- approaches 2012 levels, an early test of engagement by young voters. Clinton’s margins will reflect whether she was able to inspire enough supporters of Bernie Sanders and, in this particularly independent-minded state, limit defections to Trump and third-party candidates.

7:30 p.m.

The plot thickens, as polls close in Ohio and North Carolina, two more Trump must-wins. If Clinton wins even one of those, get ready for the inauguration of the first female U.S. president. But as with Florida, don’t be surprised if it takes some time to declare a winner.

* Turnout by African-American voters in North Carolina, according to Bloomberg Politics co-managing editor John Heilemann. Black voters were a crucial part of Obama’s winning coalition in North Carolina in 2008, and the Clinton campaign is relying on them, with some trepidation, to show up in great numbers again.
* Democrats’ hopes to reclaim the Senate rest on a handful of races, including their effort to beat two-term incumbent Richard Burr in North Carolina.

8 p.m.

Polls close in two of Trump’s top targets in the Rust Belt, home to the white working-class voters he’s tailored his message to. Trump has doggedly pursued votes in Democratic-leaning Michigan and Pennsylvania, the epicenter for his warnings about a "rigged" election.

* The suburban vote. Clinton’s persistent lead in Pennsylvania polls has been helped by her success in minimizing Trump’s inroads in the suburbs of Philadelphia, specifically Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties, Heilemann says. The results from Pittsburgh’s suburbs, meantime, could be a preview of how the rest of the Rust Belt votes.
* Democrats’ hopes for unseating Republican senators start with Mark Kirk of Illinois, probably the most vulnerable Senate incumbent, who is challenged by Representative Tammy Duckworth. In Missouri, in what might turn out to be the closest Senate race, incumbent Republican Roy Blunt hopes his long record in Washington can survive an anti-establishment year.

9 p.m.

At this point, 40 of the 50 U.S. states will have finished voting. If Clinton is pulling off a landslide, winning even in states such as Georgia and Missouri, she could theoretically cross the 270-vote threshold here and send everyone to bed early. (Her husband, in 1992, amassed 274 electoral votes in just the eastern half of the U.S.) In 1988, CBS declared George H.W. Bush’s victory over Michael Dukakis at 9:17 p.m.

* Results from Minnesota and Wisconsin, two more bricks in Clinton’s "blue wall" of upper Midwestern states where Trump hopes for a breakthrough.
* Oil companies pushed a ballot measure in Colorado that would make it harder for others -- say, opponents of fracking -- to propose ballot measures of their own.

10 p.m.

Polls close in Nevada, the final battleground state, where the makeup of early voters led at least one observer to declare Trump dead even before Election Day. Remember that Clinton is a lock in the four states -- California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii -- that are now in their final hour of voting, so a 78-vote Pacific Coast bounty awaits her. If Clinton has 192 electoral votes around now, tell your friends it’s over, and why.

* Republicans’ hopes to turn a Senate seat red focus entirely on Nevada, where Republican Representative Joe Heck faces Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. A victory would be particularly sweet for Republicans since the seat is the one being vacated by the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid.
* Polls close in South Dakota, where voters are deciding whether to reduce the minimum wage, for workers younger than 18, paring down an across-the-board increase approved in a 2014 referendum.

11 p.m.

Polls close on the West Coast, leaving only Alaskans still voting. Traditionally, this is when the TV networks and AP would call the presidential race, even if they became certain of the outcome earlier in the night. George W. Bush was declared the winner at 11:19 p.m. in 2004, and Obama was declared victorious at 11 p.m. in 2008 and at 11:17 p.m. in 2012.

* Results from Washington state on Initiative 732, which would authorize the nation’s first carbon tax.

1 a.m. on Nov. 9

Polls close in Adak, Alaska, ending Election Day in the U.S. Do you know who your next president is yet?