US election results: five of the most frequently Googled questions answered

Race to White House has attracted a medley of questions and set the internet alight

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The US elections of 2020 have been the most controversial, heated and bizarre since, well, the 2016 US elections.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been tearing strips from each other, at a distance, for the past few months leading up to tonight’s final showdown.

Here are five of the most frequently Googled questions on the contest in the build-up to US election night.

Who decides the next president if there is no absolute majority?

Joe Biden has enjoyed a lead in the polls for weeks, although Donald Trump has tired to cast doubt on their accuracy.

But with many crucial states on a knife edge there is the faintest of possibilities that neither candidate will receive an absolute majority.


In this unlikely event, The House of Representatives determines the outcome with each state getting one vote and an absolute majority required.

This is not without precedent. Both Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and John Quincy Adams in 1824 were ordained by the House when the electoral college vote failed to produce a winner.

The fact that both occasions occurred about 200 years ago shows the rarity of such an outcome. But in this strangest of years, you never know.

How old is Joe Biden?

Much has been made of the age of both candidates but it is Joe Biden’s that has attracted most attention.

This may be partly down to Donald Trump’s nickname for him, Sleepy Joe.

But it is also because if Mr Biden were to win the White House, at the venerable age of 77, he would become its oldest occupant.

His birthday is on November 20, so if inaugurated he would be 78.

And the previous record holder? One Donald Trump.

What is the president’s salary?

The presidential salary is $400,000. Donald Trump has claimed to donate his Oval Office stipend but he still earns money from his various property assets.

Mr Trump is not the first US president to donate his salary. The wealthy John F Kennedy and Herbert Hoover did the same.

John F Kennedy and Herbert Hoover donated their presidential salaries. Getty
John F Kennedy and Herbert Hoover donated their presidential salaries. Getty

What’s the difference between impeachment and removal?

Simply put, presidents can be impeached but not removed. No sitting president has ever been turfed out of office.

Three presidents have been impeached during their tenure: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Donald Trump in 2019.

The only other president to have faced impeachment proceedings was Richard Nixon in 1974 after the Watergate scandal.

While not forcibly removed, Nixon did resign, and it is commonly believed that he jumped before he was pushed.

Has any president served three terms?

Only one president has ever served more than two terms – Franklin D Roosevelt, who claimed a third stint in 1940.

He was able to do this for two reasons: the fragility of the nation after the Great Depression and the outbreak of the Second World War.

Roosevelt was viewed as a phlegmatic and dependable man, a steady hand on the presidential tiller in a time of crisis.

Remarkably, he would have extended his White House residency to four terms after winning in 1944 but a cerebral haemorrhage put paid to this.

Roosevelt died in April the following year.

Keep abreast of the latest developments in the US elections here.

How the Electoral College system works

How the Electoral College system works