Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

Barry Soper on US elections: The least rejected will win


It's hard to imagine Kiwis getting out of bed before sunrise and joining an hour long queue to vote for a politician.

But that's what millions of Americans have done across this vast country today. In fairness, in New Zealand we have a more civilised vote on a Saturday; in this country they're going to the polls on a working day, which maybe accounts for the low voting turnout here.

Last time around just over 60 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot.

At a polling booth just a few kilometres away from where Donald Trump lives in a sprawling Manhattan penthouse, in the tower he named after himself, not a single Republican voter was found, or at least no one prepared to admit to being one.

They were patiently waiting in a line that stretched for more than a block from about 6am on a cold but clear New York day.

If they were wise enough to have registered online as a local, they were allowed to jump the queue and no one objected.

Trying to interview them as they exited got short shrift from a determined but polite beat cop who said I had to have the exit pollster papers. He had no objection to me going around the corner and talking to voters as they filed into the booth.

There was a common theme: Hillary Clinton has the experience and was less scary than Donald Trump. And that's been the common theme from voters in the lead-up to today's vote; they're voting for Clinton, not necessarily because they like her but because they dislike Trump more. So in effect, the one elected tonight will be the one who is rejected less.

Even though there's anger at what they call the political class and the elites, Donald Trump hasn't been able to quell the anger enough. He's certainly made an impression but whether it's enough to turn the vote is highly unlikely.

He's been something of a lone, snarling wolf on this campaign.


This man who has spent most of his adult life wallowing in celebrity no longer has the pulling power. Even former Republican Presidents, like the Bushes, refused to endorse or turnout for him.

By contrast Clinton, not surprisingly, had her hubby Bill out on the hustings and Barack Obama has been a constant campaigner for her, unlike any former sitting American President before him. She's also had the stars, throwing free concerts with the likes of Beyonce, Jay Z, Katy Perry, and last night The Boss Bruce Springstein performed and endorsed her.

Tonight history is expected to be made with the United States electing its first woman President, exactly a hundred years after the first female was elected to the American Congress.

Barry Soper is in New York courtesy of Air New Zealand

- Newstalk ZB

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Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

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