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As 'Blue Wall' Shows Signs Of Strain, Here Are Battlegrounds To Watch For

The 2016 presidential race is a lot closer than any of the polls predicted. The day started with pundits focused on Donald Trump's narrow path to winning, but as polls closed, the tides turned and now, it's Hillary Clinton with the narrow path to victory.

One of the big things to watch in the election is the so-called "Blue Wall." Clinton could have sailed to the presidency if she picked up traditionally safe Democratic states (242 electoral votes) plus six states (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Hampshire) that President Obama carried the last two elections.

Donald Trump promised to redraw the electoral map by driving competitive races in the industrial north.

With early results, it looks like Trump might be punching some holes into that Blue Wall by cutting into states like Wisconsin and Michigan. It means that for Clinton to win, she has to pick up toss-up states.

With that, here's where we stand with the important battleground states:

-- Florida:This is the big enchilada. Trump did not have a chance at the presidency without Florida and the AP has called the state for Trump. The win in Florida opens up a path to the presidency for Trump.

-- North Carolina: This is a state that Trump had to win. The state has been reliably Republican, with the exception of 2008, when it voted for President Obama. Now, the AP projects that it will go Republican once again.

-- Michigan:This is the state to watch. Whoever takes Michigan may very well win the presidency. About half of the votes are in, and it's still too early to make much of a projection.

Other states to watch: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.