Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. World
4 November 2020updated 09 Sep 2021 12:52pm

US election 2020: what do the county-level returns indicate?

High-return counties favour Donald Trump, but Joe Biden is turning more counties blue.

By Alexandra Kanick

Among the 3,141 counties in the US, 1,779 had counted 90 per cent or more of their expected votes by early Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times estimated vote counts.

Donald Trump leads in about 90 per cent of those counties, but Joe Biden has potentially turned 28 counties from their 2016 Trump majority. Trump has potentially turned 11 counties red this election.

Trump has flipped 11 counties so far
Counties that have flipped from a Democrat winning margin in 2016 to a Republican one in 2020

These Biden-led counties have, on average, gained nine points from their 2016 margins in order to cross the line to Democratic majority. Trump-led counties have, on average, gained 13 points from 2016 to cross over to Republican majority. These figures are substantially skewed by one place, however, which saw a remarkable result: Charles County in Maryland, which pivoted from a 30 point Democratic lead in 2016 to a 37 point Republican lead in this election.

If we exclude Charles County, the average Trump gain in the counties he flipped drops from 13 points to just seven points.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
Biden has flipped 28 counties so far
Counties that have flipped from a Republican winning margin in 2016 to a Democrat one in 2020

Alexandra Kanick is a data reporter at City Monitor, a New Statesman Media Group publication

[See also: Inconclusive results point to days of uncertainty]

Content from our partners
Helping children be safer, smarter, happier internet explorers
Power to the people
How to power the electric vehicle revolution