Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, and Donald Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee, stand on stage during the second U.S. presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. As has become tradition, the second debate will resemble a town hall meeting, with the candidates free to sit or roam the stage instead of standing behind podiums, while members of the audience -- uncommitted voters, screened by the Gallup Organization -- will ask half the questions. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Anxiety has eased as polls show Hillary Clinton extending her lead over Donald Trump © Bloomberg

To US citizens and those watching from around the world, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is not just political — it feels uncharacteristically personal. According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, 52 per cent of American adults reported that this election is “a very or somewhat significant” source of stress in their lives.

Whether you are voting today or simply observing, how is this election affecting you? How are you feeling? Who do you hope will win? Share your thoughts and stories here. This page will serve as a hub for your reactions through election day. We will be updating it regularly with top comments and excerpts from around FT.com.

Initial reactions

“As a citizen of the USA, on the morning of November 8, I need a Valium. Or several.” — Pseudonym

“’Markets rally as survey shows slim lead in the polls…’ Why do I have a horrible feeling of déjà vu…?” — MissMarple

“Angst filled frustration is what I feel.” — Charles in petersham

American perspectives

“I am an 85-year old American who was born when Herbert Hoover was president. I was 10 years old when an emperor I’d never heard of ordered a sneak attack on a place I’d never heard of called Pearl Harbor. I was 13 when President Truman ordered something called an ‘atom bomb’ [to be] dropped on two Japanese cities I’d never heard of and kill millions of people. Both events were somewhere far away and, frankly, my reaction to both was, ‘So what?’ The world was large then. Massive. Foreign. Obliteration was something that happened to ‘other people.’ 

Somehow I sense that Donald Trump is much like I was then. He is a 10-year-old trapped in a 70-year-old’s body. History is what happened yesterday. The future is the day after tomorrow. Feel insulted or otherwise put upon? Strike out. Push the button. To borrow one of his favorite stump speech admonitions, ‘Sad. Very sad.’” — PNW

“The fact this US election can even be close with such an unqualified candidate as Trump is a touch troubling but also a reminder of how fragile our democratic systems can be if we do not respect our civil societies, our political traditions and etiquette and our core founding principles.

I have faith America will do the right thing today by rejecting Trump's brand of demagogue politics but I also think Trump’s campaign represents a Pandora’s Box for American politics where the mainstream use of xenophobia, racism, classism and post-factual hyperbole will not go back in easily.” — NYC’s Finest

Thoughts from abroad

“A very depressing scene indeed, viewed from Europe as an expat American. The polls are now pointing to a clear HRC victory, but she will likely be mired down in litigation and blocked by a “do-nothing” Congress. So the prospects for 2016-2020 are looking rather glum.” — Daveskier74

“I am promising myself not to read anything about the vote being cast today until the result is known. The one except being indications of voter numbers. I remember too well the 2004 election where we all thought halfway through that Kerry had it, only to see GW wheel his dog Barney out before the cameras, in the family room in the White House, to fawn for the television cameras. And inside an hour Kerry was toast.

Hopefully Clinton will block the deplorable Trump and by about 6 am London time we will have confirmation of this. Maybe some drama from Trump’s campaign if he refuses to concede? He is capable of spinning it out over a week or two even. No one will be surprised. But from what I have read it seems he has privately conceded already, and hopefully someone will manage to lead him away with sufficient dignity…If it goes the other way everybody had better start stockpiling the tinned soup.” — Good European

“I am not American, so just a couple of words from the outside. You know there are anti-American propaganda cliches around the world: insolence, racism, sexism, respect for nothing but money, bullying. Well, you have a chance to elect a president that indeed embodies all these qualities. For you it might be Republican versus a Democrat. For me, it is abnormal versus normal. I have sympathy for good Republicans and Democrats alike. If instead of Mr Trump the Republicans had Mr McCain or Mr McMullin, I wouldn’t bother writing this comment. But Mr Trump is another story. He seems to violate both Republicans’ and Democrats’ values.” — Alex 

“Not American. Don’t live in America. But very stressed by this election, which I see as a turning-point in American history. Probably down, whatever the outcome. Thought I was going gaga but am glad to see I am not alone.” — peterjohndean

Big picture takeaways

“On a positive note - perhaps both candidates have brought out a lot of new voters, as Obama did, and perhaps that will be good for US society in the medium-term.” — Dick Miller

“Apart from the result (which is what really matters) this election will be a fascinating test of the relative importance of:

a. Well-target and resourced advertising
b. A good ground game
c. Passion from the candidates.

(a) and (b) should lead to Clinton out-performing projections, (c) would favour Trump. If Clinton gets a better lead in the Electoral College than 70 we will know that they matter more than (c).” — NBeale 

On the act of voting

“One of the reasons I subscribe to FT is seeing issues from the perspective of other non-US readers. So I thought I’d give you mine as well. I live in a mostly rural NC county. Our county government posts a sample ballot on their website. I print it, do my research and vote. I took advantage of our early voting process — was in and out of the polling place in 8 minutes. It was a paper ballot, covering all federal, state and local candidates. You enter your finished ballot into a scanner and you’re done. Granted, not everyone has the resources available to be able to prepare in this way, but there are a great many of us who do.” — jcinus

“I'm happy to say I already voted some 2 1/2 weeks ago using Colorado's mail ballot system. The state for the first time has all mail ballots, though people can still — if they choose —set aside the mailed ballots and cast a direct one today. Most are opting for the convenience of just filling out the ballots at home given there are over 30 choices, including for local offices, state Senators etc. as well as key amendments to the state Constitution (e.g. Amendment 69 to offer single payer health coverage to all Coloradans. Also, Amendment 72 to raise the tax on a single pack of cigarettes to $2.94)

Big choices, and they warrant time for serious consideration as opposed to being rushed…” — Astrophysicist111

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