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Biden wins the presidential election - an overview of all election results

With narrow victories in several swing states, the Democrat Joe Biden made it to the election as the 46th President of the USA. However, his opponent Donald Trump has not admitted defeat. Here you will find an overview of the results and assessments.

the essentials in brief

  • After a confrontation marked by record-high election campaign spending and a lot of venom the Democrat Joe Biden won the US presidential election. He got 306 votes in the college of electors, the incumbent Donald Trump 232. In some "swing states" the result was extremely tight. It took two and a half weeks until the last state, Georgia, was decided after a recount. Biden won there as the first Democrat in 28 years.
  • The winner in the race for the White House was this year only after almost four days firmly. The decision came with Biden's triumph in Pennsylvania on November 7th. The victory there also has a symbolic meaning for Biden: firstly, it is the state in which he was born, and secondly, he has all three states of the “Rust Belt” region, which were lost to Trump in 2016, for the Democrats recaptured.
  • Not only did Biden win the majority of the Electors, but one too Majority of the vote, around 81 million versus 74 million for Trump. This corresponds to 51.3 or 46.9 percent of the votes. The elected president can take comfort in the fact that never before has a Republican received so many votes. A total of 43,000 additional votes in three particularly tightly decided states would have been enough for him to win re-election. Trump is one of only five presidents since 1900 who missed their re-election.
  • The overall decision was made on November 7th, however it took more than a month to achieve a legally unambiguous result.President Trump, who declared himself the winner on election night due to a lack of factual basis, took legal action. He did not have any solid legal arguments. Even his attorney general stated that an investigation did not reveal any significant falsifications. Trump and his supporters suffered more than 50 defeats in court, including twice in the Supreme Court, which refused to deal with the lawsuits. But the constant accusations of fraud and bizarre conspiracy theories of Trump overshadow the election for a long time. An orderly change of power did not take place. Trump left the White House in conformity with the constitution on January 20, but does not admit his defeat and has traditionally refused to attend the swearing-in of his successor.
  • The Democrats have just under the majority in the Senate won. This is extremely important for them, because a Republican-dominated Senate would have severely restricted the room for maneuver of the future President Biden. The decision was only made in two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5th. The Republicans were considered favorites there, but according to preliminary results, they just lost. Those were disappointing for the Democrats Elections to the House of Representatives. Because of eleven seats lost, their majority in the large chamber has shrunk sharply.

The short analysis

For the first time in twenty years, the winner of an American presidential election on the following day was not yet certain with certainty. That made for high tension for days. However, the counting followed an expected pattern: Due to the high proportion of letter votes, the majority of which came from Democrats and only entered the count with a delay, a distorted picture initially emerged: Trump was apparently surprisingly ahead in many places before Biden him in the course of the Could overtake the count.

Overall, the Republican incumbent held up better than expected: he defended the populous "Swing State" Florida, where he was just behind on most polls. In addition, like four years ago, in the strategically important Midwest, it did better than in opinion polls. Nevertheless, he could not prevent Biden from giving him two states in this region, Michigan and Wisconsin, snatched.

Biden also won the Trump state Arizona in addition - the first victory of a Democrat there in 24 years. For a while he only needed victory in a single state to move into the White House. He had good chances in three of them: in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada. At first it was best in Nevada in the race. But because the southwestern desert state took its time with the count, the decision was made elsewhere, in Pennsylvania.

Of all the swing states, this was the state with the greatest delays; after election night there were still around 2 million votes to be counted. Trump's impressive lead of around 12 percentage points continuously melted away and turned into a deficit three days after the election. When this grew to 0.5 percentage points on November 7th, Biden was proclaimed the winner in Pennsylvania and president at the same time. Thanks to the 20 electors there, he was able to pass the decisive threshold of 270 electors' votes. Both candidates had gone to great lengths to win in this key state. The incumbent Trump was even able to improve his result from 2016. But his challenger mobilized even more, especially in the urban regions of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

There is no evidence to support the White House's allegation that the postponements were due to fraud. The state simply saw itself with one record high share of letter votes which, due to local legislation, could only be processed from election day. The shift is explained by the fact that in Pennsylvania three times more Democrats than Republicans exercised the right to vote by post. The Trump camp had protested in advance that, due to a court ruling, postal votes received after election day can now be counted. But this accusation was invalid after the election, because Biden took over the leadership in Pennsylvania before the counting of the "late votes" even began. Several courts have legally torn apart and completely dismissed the lawsuits filed by the Republicans. The Conservative-dominated Supreme Court declined to judge the Trump camp's claims.

Trump's maneuvers in the other states were just as unsuccessful. Recounts in Georgia and Wisconsin confirmed Biden's victory, and multiple court requests to invalidate elections in each state were everywhere dismissed.

The distribution of electors is 306 for Biden, 232 for Trump. It happens to be exactly the same result that Trump recorded four years ago when he won the election. At least 270 electors were necessary to win.

Only the electors won are decisive for the choice. But the number of votes also deserves attention. Biden has that by a long way highest number of votes ever achieved by an American presidential candidate receive. It has more than 81 million votes; the previous record set by Barack Obama in 2008 was 69 million. Trump has also exceeded this old benchmark with 74 million. In other words, the Republican is even better than 2016. He lost, although he was able to mobilize his base stronger than ever.

The results in the "swing states"

Thirteen states were considered highly competitive before the election. This included classic "swing states" such as Florida or Ohio, but also the states of Texas, Georgia and Arizona, which usually vote for republicans. That the Democrats were able to win the latter two is what makes this year's elections so special.

In Georgia, the result wasn't clear until 16 days after the election. Biden only narrowly won with a lead of 12,000 votes (0.2 percentage points). As in Pennsylvania, the Democrat was able to make up a huge deficit in this Republican-dominated state. A manual review of all votes and then a second recount required by Trump confirmed Biden's victory. It is the first time since 1992 that a Democrat in this southern state has won.

Arizona also experienced a turning point this year: For the first time since 1996, a Democrat won there. The growing importance of Latinos and the immigration of Americans from other, democratic parts of the country played a decisive role in Arizona.

A total of 199 electors' votes were to be won in the thirteen states mentioned. They were decided as follows (in order of size): Trump won in Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Iowa, Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and New Hampshire. The Democrats did much better than they did four years ago.

However, the Democrats had justified hopes of a victory in Florida as well. Once again, her dreams in Texas also burst. The traditional republican stronghold has become a little more democratic, but not overturned. Nonetheless, the shift there - a consequence of the growing number of Democratic Latino voters - is remarkable for the future and worrying for Republicans. Because without the 38 electoral votes from Texas, the party has no realistic path to the White House.

More of a footnote is that Biden Trump was able to pick up an electoral voice in Nebraska and Trump conversely, Biden one in Maine. This is due to a peculiarity of the electoral systems there. Maine and Nebraska are the only states to award their electors not all at the state level, but also on the basis of the results in individual electoral districts.

How do the results compare to those of 2016? Trump won most of the swing states at the time. Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin switched to the Republican camp at that time. Now the majorities in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have already tilted again. Trump also lost in Arizona, which had only elected a Democrat once in the past seventy years, and in the southern state of Georgia, which used to be reliably Republican.

If you put the share of the vote in the center, then Trump has taken steps backwards in almost all "swing states". This was most pronounced in New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Georgia. In New Hampshire the balance of power shifted so much that the New England state may no longer be classified as a "swing state" in the future; The last time a Republican won there 20 years ago.

The Republicans experienced a real debacle in Georgia. Trump had won there in 2016 by 5.1 percentage points - now he just lost the state. As the arrow diagram shows, the shift in votes was enough to tip a total of five states in party politics.

Trump did worse in almost all swing states

Advantage 2020 compared to 2016, in percentage points (negative numbers mean a deficit)

Florida What stands out in the graphic above: Trump only narrowly prevailed there four years ago with a lead of 1.2 percentage points. In addition, he was behind in many polls shortly before this year's election. Nevertheless, he was not only able to defend the state successfully, but also to win it with a greater lead than four years ago. The gap is 3.4 percentage points. It was the only major state in which the president could make such gains.

How was Trump's exploit possible? The Democrats traditionally dominate in the densely populated counties around Miami and Palm Beach as well as in cities like Orlando, the Republicans in the rest of the state. An open question this year was whether Trump's support among retirees would crumble because of his controversial corona policy. Voter surveys indicate that only 52 percent of retirees supported the Republican, compared to 57 percent four years ago. However, this was not decisive for the election.

Biden's undoing was above all a break in with the Latinos. This population group makes up around a fifth of Florida's voters. Four years ago Hillary Clinton won 62 percent of the Latino vote, Biden only got 52 percent. This resulted in devastating losses for him. In Miami-Dade - Florida's most populous county, the most important Democratic stronghold and a heavily Hispanic area - Biden only got a lead of 80,000 votes over Trump. Clinton, on the other hand, had distanced the Republican by 290,000 votes. The decline in this one district alone corresponds to more than half of the votes that Biden ultimately lacked to win in Florida.

The struggle for majorities in Congress

For the future president, the balance of power in Congress will be of great importance. After ten years the majority in senate To regain control and thus dominate both chambers of congress again, the Democrats had to gain at least 3 seats in addition to their previous 47 seats. With a power ratio of 50:50 seats, the Vice President (in future the Democrat Kamala Harris) gives the casting vote in the Senate.

On November 3, however, the Democrats won only one seat net, contrary to forecasts: In Colorado, Democrat John Hickenlooper beat Republican incumbent Cory Gardner, and in Arizona, former astronaut Mark Kelly won against Republican Martha McSally. As expected, the Democrats lost their Senate mandate in Alabama. Most of the incumbents secured re-election. Among them is the influential Republican Lindsey Graham, whose election the Democrats had hoped. Republicans have also defended their wobbly seats in Iowa, Maine and Montana.

Only the races in Georgia initially remained a draw, with both seats in a runoff election in January. Surprisingly, the Democrats were able to win both races and thus end the majority position of the Republicans in the small chamber.

The results of the 2020 Senate election

in the House of Representatives all 435 seats were reassigned. The Democrats have had a majority since 2019, and this will remain so in the new legislative period. However, the Democrats lost eleven seats. The balance of power in the large chamber changed from 233 Democrats to 201 Republicans to a ratio of 222: 213 seats. As in the Senate elections, Joe Biden's party performed significantly worse than expected. It only has a wafer-thin majority in the House of Representatives and has to rely on a few more conservative Democrats, which affects the legislation.

The results of the 2020 House of Representatives elections

Distribution of seats before and after the election

What the voter surveys show

A deep corona trench gapes through the American electorate, as the by-election surveys by the AP news agency show. As expected, the Republican and Democratic voter groups assess the crisis very differently: of those who think the virus is out of control (51 percent of those surveyed), over 80 percent voted Joe Biden. More than 90 percent of those who believe the virus is completely or largely under control (19 percent of respondents) voted for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is ahead of voters who classify the corona virus as less threatening

Voter behavior in the US election 2020 after answering the question: «Do you think the coronavirus is in the US? . .", in percent

Individual groups of voters have clear preferences for one or the other candidate. For example, the majority of women chose Biden. Of the men, 51 percent said they voted for Trump. In the 2016 elections, according to surveys at the time, 53 percent of men supported Trump. It's a small difference, but one that cost the President valuable votes.

American women tend to be Biden

Voter behavior in the US election 2020, by gender, in percent