Current polls put presidential front runners President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump neck and neck, and a close rematch of 2020 seems inevitable as November comes closer.

This wouldn’t be the first time the presidential election was a tight race: the United States has long featured close calls in electoral college votes, popular votes, and when looking at individual state elections for president.

More: How does the Electoral College work? Here’s how we’ll elect a president this year.

What were some of the closest US presidential races?

George W. Bush/Al Gore

The 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore remains one of the closest races in American history. Bush ended up winning the Electoral College with just 271 votes – one point over the 270 needed to win. But he lost the popular vote by around 500,000 votes.

Donald J. Trump/ Hillary Clinton

In 2016, Trump won the election with 304 electoral college votes to Clinton’s 227. However, the popular vote told a different story, where Clinton won almost 3 million more votes than Trump.

John F. Kennedy/Richard Nixon

Polls between Kennedy and Nixon had shown the two in a dead heat, and the presidential election between them in 1960 was so close that the winner was not announced until noon the following day. In the end, Kennedy won with less than 120,000 votes. He garnered 303 electoral college votes over Nixon’s 219.

More: Who is running for president? Get to know the Democratic, Republican candidates for 2024

Rutherford B. Hayes/Samuel J. Tilden

Close races have been going on since before all 50 states joined the union, and 1876 was one of the most contentious races in US history. After months of irregular vote tallying and legal battles, Hayes was finally declared the winner with just one more electoral college vote (185-184) despite losing the popular vote by around 250,000.

Andrew Jackson/John Quincy Adams

The 1824 election was the only election since the passage of the twelfth amendment, which made it so presidents and vice presidents were selected together, and the House of Representatives decided who won the presidential election. None of the four candidates won a majority of the electoral college votes: Jackson had 99, Adams received 84, Crawford won 41, and Clay garnered 37. Jackson also won the popular vote, but the House of Representatives ultimately elected Adams by a single vote.

How close was the 2020 election?

In 2020, Biden beat Trump with 306 electoral college votes over Trump’s 232. Biden also received about seven million more popular votes.

While Biden’s electoral victory was ultimately not tight in 2020, it was a series of close wins in key states that were able to put him handily over the edge: in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia combined, Biden beat Trump by less than 125,000 votes combined out of 18.5 million cast to take the electoral college votes in each state. In Georgia, Biden won by just a quarter of a percentage point.

Other states that were decided by less than three points in 2020 were North Carolina, Michigan, and Nevada.

In 2024, these seven states will again be the key ones to watch.

Then-President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the Elector College certification of Joe Biden's win in the 2020 presidential race, in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. The fate of former President Donald Trump’s attempt to return to the White House is in the U.S. Supreme Court’s hands. On Thursday, the justices will hear arguments in Trump’s appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that he is not eligible to run again for president because he violated a provision in the 14th Amendment preventing those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office

How close will the 2024 election be?

It’s unclear yet just how close the 2024 election will be, but polls so far have put Biden and Trump in a dead heat.

A HarrisX poll from Feb. 20-23 showed Trump leading Biden 42% to 40%, but a Quinnipiac University poll from Feb. 15-19 had Biden one point ahead with 38%.

However, it’s still early for polls to be reliable, and the primary election season has only just begun.

But close elections are nothing new to American politics and, in a polarized country, 2024 will likely not be an exception.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Five close presidential races in US history

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