The 2020 General Election

As may be obvious, WW is a fan of everyone and everything connected to the Cook Political Report. The following is a paragraph taken from the January 12, 2021 edition of Charlie Cook’s piece for the National Journal.

“There are plenty of morals in this story. One is that the American people should never again elect a president who has never worked or served in government in any capacity, has virtually no sense of history, and hasn’t the faintest notion of concepts like separation of powers or federalism. It’s hard to expect someone to abide by norms if they have little or no knowledge of or appreciation for them to begin with. A high school American government class could have opened up new vistas of knowledge for the current occupant of the Oval Office.”

58% have confidence that the results of the presidential election were counted accurately. 39% say they were not counted accurately.

61% say that Joe Biden won the presidency legitimately. While 35% say he did not win the presidency legitimately.

At first glance that 35% figure may seem a little disquieting but…In January 2001, following the election of George W. Bush, the NBC/WSJ survey asked whether George Bush won the presidency legitimately. 55% said Bush won the presidency legitimately while 39% said he did not win the presidency legitimately. [NBC 1/13/21]

Americans are split on whether it is necessary for the federal government to conduct an investigation into the 2020 election. 48% say it is necessary while 50% say it is not necessary. [NBC/W1/13/21]

There are two sets of statistics and facts about the 2020 elections that WW finds interesting and useful. One set is from the Cook Political Report and the other from the Winston Group.

36 Facts About the 2020 elections

The following are summaries of 19 facts from the Cook Political Report. [The whole list can be found at Cook Political Report – Facts about the 2020 election.]

2. Trump came within 65,009 votes of winning 270 Electoral votes outright.

4. Biden carried 85% of counties with a Whole Foods Market and 32% of counties with a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – Trump carried 74% of Cracker Barrel counties and 22% of Whole Foods counties.

6. 158.4 million Americans voted in the presidential election, more than 21 million more than 2016.

11. Joe Biden carried 224 of 435 congressional districts, down slightly from the 230 districts Trump carried in 2016. Had every state allocated its electoral votes by district in the same manner as Maine and Nebraska, Biden would have won the Electoral college 277 to 261 instead of 306 to 222.


14. The Republican who ran the most behind Trump was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose winning margin was 4.4 points less than Trump, but he nonetheless sailed to a very comfortable 20-point win.

17. The most expensive Senate race was North Carolina, where a total of $263,675,801 was spent on TV ads. Democrats spent $151,694,974 while Republicans spent $111,980, 827. Iowa was second with $217,043,080 spent in total. Democrats outspent Republicans by $39.6 million.

18. In Montana, the Democrats spent about $323 per vote in comparison to the Republicans who spent $193 per vote.

20. In Colorado, one of the two states Democrats have flipped so far, Republicans outspent Democrats per vote $31 to $29.

21. In all competitive Senate races (excluding both Georgia races) Democrats spent an average of $94 per vote, while Republicans spent $60 per vote.


22. In January, House Democrats will represent 51% of all House seats, but just 16% of the nation’s land area – the smallest geographical footprint of any majority in modern history.

23. All 13 of the Republicans who have been certified as the winners in Democratic-held districts were women and/or minorities. Of the 46 freshman Republicans entering the House, 18 are women – increasing the Republicans’ current tally from 13 to 29.

24. The top three most expensive House races of 2020 – in terms of both candidate and outside spending – are California’s 25th District ($37.9 million), New Mexico’s 2nd District ($36.7 million), and Texas’s 22nd District ($34.1 million).

26. Democrats would likely have lost their House majority in 2020 had it not been for lawsuits that overturned GOP-drawn congressional maps prior to 2016 (Florida and Virginia), 2018 (Pennsylvania), and 2020 (North Carolina).

27. According to 538’s Nathaniel Rakich, there have only been three federal elections in the last century decided by less than 20 votes.

28. There will be at most 17 congressional districts that split their tickets between the presidential and congressional ballots, the fewest in the past century (there were 35 such districts in 2016 and 83 in 2008).

31. There are 8 districts that have elected four different members to the House in the past 5 elections.


32. There are now only 10 states that have a governor of a different party from the state’s presidential results. In 2008, that number was 18.

33. Republicans now have 27 governors in the country, compared to 23 for Democrats after flipping one state (Montana) this year. When President Obama left office, Democrats were down to holding just 16 governors’ mansions, compared to 33 for Republicans.

36. There are now just 11 states that have divided control between the governor and state legislature. 24 states have complete GOP control, while 15 states have complete Democratic control.

Seven Key Statistics from the 2020 election – Winston Group

While Republicans should always support election integrity in the voting process, many people have had difficulty in understanding how President Trump could have lost at the presidential level while Congressional Republicans won seats on a widespread scale, contributing to the theory that the election was stolen or rigged.

Here are seven statistics from the 2020 election that should help explain this gap between the congressional and presidential vote:

1. House Republicans outperformed President Trump, getting 47.7 percent of the vote nationally to his 46.8 percent.

2. House Republicans got a higher percentage of the vote than the president in 34 of 50 states.

3. House Republicans got more raw vote than the president in 24 of 50 states, even though turnout for the presidential race was 5.86 million votes larger.

4. In terms of the percentage of the congressional vote, House Republicans won the key states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia, but lost North Carolina. If President Trump had been able to replicate that result, he would have won the electoral college.

5. In Georgia and Wisconsin, House Republicans got more raw votes than the president.

6. At a national level, House Republicans performed better with Hispanics, college graduates, and independents compared to the presidential result.

7. In 15 out of the 34 Senate races in November (not including the multi-candidate GA Senate race), Republican Senate candidates got a higher percentage of the vote than President Trump. [Winston Group 1/8/21]

Voters approved 74% of statewide constitutional amendments in 2020. This involved approval of 62 of the 84 proposed statewide amendments. Of the 84 proposed amendments, state legislatures referred 69 to the ballot and petition drives were used by the other 15. [Balletopedia 12/18/20]

In 2020 the total number of recall efforts (recalls of elected officials) was 226, the third most since 2012. Only 29 recalls were successful. The average number of successful recalls per cycle since 2012 is 45. [Ballotpedia 1/11/21]

315 state legislative seats changed party hands. 215 were Democratic seats and 78 were Republican seats. [Ballotpedia 1/14/21]

While Joe Biden won the election by a margin of 7.1 million votes, the Democrats lost 13 seats in the House of Representatives. More Democrats than Republicans who voted in the presidential contest failed to vote for their candidate for the House. The total vote cast for Democratic House candidates fell short of the Biden vote by 3.9 million. The total vote cast for Republican House candidates fell short of the Trump vote by 1.4 million votes.

Democrats need to find the answer to this puzzle. [Brookings 12/21/20]

Five times since 1920, the winning presidential candidate’s party lost seats but kept its majority.

1960 – John Kennedy (D) won the White House and the party lost a net 21 House races.

1992 – Bill Clinton (D) won the White House and the party lost a net 9 House races.

2000 – George W Bush (R) won the White House and the party lost a net 2 House races.

2016 – Donald Trump (R) won the White House and the party lost a net 6 House races.

2020 – Joe Biden (D) won the White House and the party lost at least a net 13 House races.

[Ballotpedia 12/21/20]