President Trump closed to around 11,000 votes in Arizona, but there is no realistic way for him to fill the rest of the void.
There are only around 16,000 votes left, most of them preliminary ballot papers, and not all will ultimately be verified as eligible voters. The late votes were generally in his favor, but Mr Trump would have to win the remaining vote by over 60 points to get a tie against Joe Biden.
The president’s challenge became even more difficult Thursday afternoon when ballot papers from democratic Pima County, home of Tucson, were barely in his favor.
Fox News and The Associated Press called the race for Mr. Biden on election night, and Decision Desk headquarters called Wednesday night after a vote from Maricopa County, but Reuters, CNN, NBC News, ABC News and CBS News not Weighed in .
Why did some networks not create a projection? It almost certainly does not reflect the view that Mr Trump has a realistic chance of winning. Instead, the networks are cautious for one simple reason: the total span is less than half a point – Mr Biden has a 49.40 share of the vote and Mr Trump is 49.06 – which is generally the threshold for a network projection. When it’s closer, the decision-making tables wonder about one of a thousand possibilities, such as a tabular count irregularity or the type of data entry problem that plagued Florida in 2000.
[Update:Shortlyafter11pmEastonThursday[Update:Shortlyafter11pmEasternonThursday[Update:Kurznach23UhrOstamDonnerstag[Update:Shortlyafter11pmEasternonThursdayNBC and other networks predicted Mr. Biden as the winner. ]]
Many news organizations – but not The A.P. – sometimes determine an “obvious” winner when a candidate appears to have won a close election. But this one looks done.
(Late Thursday the New York Times called Arizona about Mr. Biden as well.)
The count could be even closer to its close in Georgia, where Mr Biden is now at the top with nearly three tenths of a percentage point, or about 14,000 votes. Mr Trump has even less reason to hope here.
Very few votes remain to be counted as most of the counties in Georgia – but not the most democratic counties in Atlanta – have already confirmed their results.
And unlike in Arizona, the late ballots toward Mr. Biden are broken. He cites the provisional ballots counted so far, 63 to 35 percent, and he also doesn’t seem to be carrying provisional ballots that were counted after the election, such as those from overseas and ballots that had a chance of being “cured” from mistakes like a to be missing signature.
Again, the networks did not make a projection. Not only is the race close enough to deserve the extra caution, but the Georgian Foreign Minister has announced that the race will be told by hand. Network decision-making tables usually do not project when a recount occurs – the term “apparent winner” can also be taken into account here.
Even so, Mr Biden’s leadership in Georgia seems secure. I am not aware of any case where a recount canceled out such a great benefit. The Georgia race may not be held until the statewide result is confirmed, but Mr Trump’s chances are now so slim that they aren’t even visible.