WASHINGTON: Donald Trump took a narrow lead over rival Hillary Clinton in the early results of the hotly- contested polls, US media projected today, as they notched up wins in their respective Republican and Democratic bastions but were in a dead heat in battleground states.
As the world waited with bated breadth for the outcome of the election, Clinton and Trump were locked in a fierce battle for the White House with razor thin margins separating the two in a series of battleground states that will determine the outcome of the presidential contest.
Trump, 70, was ahead in the key battleground state of Florida while Clinton was projected to win in delegate-rich New York, the home state of both the candidates.
Trump was leading the 69-year-old Democratic nominee by 136 electoral college votes to 104, CNN reported. To win the presidential election, a candidate needs 270 of the 538 electoral college votes.
It was too early or close to call a range of vital swing states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and North Carolina. CNN projected that Trump had won 16 states while Clinton emerged victorious in 10.
According to the channel, Trump won North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama and South Carolina.
Clinton emerged victorious in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, District of Columbia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island. Trump was also ahead in Virginia when reports last came in, but results were still too close to call.
Virginia, which 13 electoral college votes, has a significant Indian-American population and is home to Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Senator Tim Kaine. In terms of overall vote percentage, Trump has so far received 49.2 per cent of the votes counted so far as against 46.8 per cent gained by Clinton.
The incoming returns follow a frenzied day of voting across America marked by long lines and last-minute appeals for support from both campaigns. While the race has tightened in recent days, the Democratic nominee still seemed to enter Election Day with the edge on the electoral map in her quest to become the first woman elected US president.
But Trump, a rank political outsider, voiced confidence yesterday about his chances in key battlegrounds. "We're going to win a lot of states," the Republican nominee told Fox News as he aims for an upset victory to cap his improbable campaign which came from behind to vanquish 16 competitors in the rowdy Republican primaries.
Sporadic complaints of equipment failures and long lines also greeted voters across the country Tuesday as they headed to their polling centers to cast their vote. However, much of the country experienced a relatively smooth Election Day.