Odds have surged on a Donald Trump victory in the US Presidential election after key swing states came down to the wire.
The Republican emerged as the favourite on British betting markets for the first time – a dramatic reversal – in the hours after polls closed on the East Coast.
It comes despite Democrat Joe Biden leading almost every national poll in advance of November 3.
UK exchange Betfair said it had placed Trump as the favourite just after 2.30am GMT despite Biden being in pole position since early September.
Betfair gave Trump 65% win-odds, up from 39% when polls opened. Biden’s win-odds fell to 35% from 61% earlier.
UK-based Smarkets Exchange is giving Trump 65% win-odds, up from 39% when polls opened. Biden’s win-odds have fallen to 35% from 61% earlier.
“This has mainly been driven by Trump seemingly holding the key swing state of Florida as a result of a very strong showing for him in the Miami-Dade county with a large Cuban population,” said Patrick Flynn, political analyst at Smarkets.
Flynn said that Florida wasn’t a “must win” state for Biden as it was for Trump. “Biden could yet put those crucial Midwestern states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in his column, and he would win the election.”
Oddschecker also said it had switched its odds to make Donald Trump the favourite, at a 65% chance compared to 28% for Joe Biden.
It came as votes poured in for swing states including Florida and Ohio.
With 94% of votes counted in Florida, Trump was more than three points ahead of Biden – with Fox News calling the state for the President just after 4am GMT.
In Ohio, Trump was five points ahead of Biden with three-quarters of votes counted.
Sources told ABC the President was set to make a statement from the White House “setting the narrative” amid fears he would attempt to claim premature victory.
The President has repeatedly threatened to challenge mail-in ballots, some of which are only counted days after polling day.
Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham regained his seat in South Caroline despite a fierce battle from Democrats.
He told supporters: “I’ve had two calls already. One from President Trump. He’s gonna win. He’s gonna win!
“To all the pollsters out there, you have no idea what you’re doing. And all the liberals in California and New York, you wasted a lot of money. This is the worst return on investment in the history of American politics.”
The race was also tight in the swing states of Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, with the election proving to be a nailbiter as many polls closed across the nation.
Officials suggested many results in Pennsylvania – which has 20 of the crucial 270 Electoral College votes each candidate needs – would not be declared until later in the week.
There were no upsets in safe states with both men winning predictable victories early in the night.
The Republican took Mississippi, Oklahoma and Alabama, while Mr Biden won in New York, Virginia and his home state of Delaware.
Americans across the country lined up at polling stations to cast their ballot on Tuesday – bringing to a close a vicious and dirty race for the White House.
But while turnout as a whole appeared to be high, it was boosted by a huge increase in early voting.
More than 100 million voters cast their ballots before election day, either through postal votes or in-person early voting at polling stations.
Meanwhile, protesters and activists began to gather outside the White House to await early results.
Early in the evening, there was no sign of the animosity feared by law enforcement and local businesses.
But with President Trump still reportedly planning to claim victory before all the votes are counted, people are nervously anticipating unrest in the early hours of Wednesday.
Frontrunner Joe Biden was cautious about predicting the result.
“I’m superstitious about predicting what an outcome’s gonna be until it happens … but I’m hopeful,” he said.
Meanwhile a noticeably hoarse President Trump – clearly feeling the effects of days of back to back rallies – said he had a “very solid chance at winning”.
Nationwide polls predicted Joe Biden would beat Donald Trump to become the 46th President of the United States.
But Trump threatened to fight the result, including over mail-in ballots, or falsely claim victory early if the first votes suggested he was in the lead.
The next President needs to win 270 of 538 ‘Electoral College’ votes under a system which breaks down support by state.
States award a different number of ‘College’ votes depending on their population – California gets 55 while Delaware gets 3.
Every state except Maine and Nebraska awards all its votes on a ‘winner takes all’ system, meaning the race for the White House would come down to a few swing states.
There were few initial surprises as polls closed, with Donald Trump projected to win Indiana and Kentucky while Joe Biden was projected to win Vermont and Virginia.
Some of the key battleground states including Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin were due to report the bulk of their results overnight.
That would allow US TV networks to project or “call” the results in states where the data suggests a clear winner – despite final results not being confirmed for weeks.
But other swing states including Pennsylvania could take days to resolve and be the target for any legal battles.
Americans were also voting for seats in both houses of Congress.
The entire House of Representatives was up for re-election, as are 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate.
Democrats were narrowly projected to regain control of the Senate, which was previously held 53-47 by Republicans.