How the 2020 election results compare to 2016, in 9 maps and charts

  • President-elect Joe Biden clinched the 2020 election, and exit polls help show who propelled him to victory.
  • More young voters, more moderates, and more suburban voters chose Biden than chose 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, helping him best President Donald Trump.
  • The final make-up of the Senate will be close, and if Democrats win the two remaining runoffs in Georgia, they will have control of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After four years of a President Donald Trump-led United States, voters elected Democratic nominee Joe Biden to become the 46th president.

The 2020 elections marked the highest voter turnout in US history, with Biden capturing more than any candidate has ever recorded.

While just four years apart, the voting demographics differed in many ways between 2016 and 2020. Biden hoped to improve upon Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's performance in every way, and exit polls reveal he captured more young voters, more moderates, and more suburban voters, among other voting blocs.

Following the November election, Republicans currently have 50 seats in the Senate compared to the Democrats' 48 seats. Two Senate runoff elections will take place in Georgia in January. If Democrats win both seats, they would flip the Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaking vote, and they'd be in control of both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

Though a number of races have yet to be called, the Democratic Party maintained its majority in the House of Representatives, but not without their losses. Republicans flipped at least eight seats, and that number may grow after additional votes are counted in New York and a recount in Iowa.

These nine maps and charts show who propelled Biden to victory, and how it compares to Trump's win in 2016.

The electoral vote count from 2016 to 2020 basically flipped.

Following the end of President Barack Obama's two terms in the White House, Clinton matched up against a surprisingly resilient Republican nominee: Trump.

Trump emerged victorious on election night in 2016, flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Florida into Republican territory.

The original electoral count after the 2016 election was 306 votes for Trump and 232 for Clinton. The final count, however, is different as Trump lost two votes and Clinton lost five due to faithless electors, bringing the end total to 304 electoral votes for Trump and 227 for Clinton.

Trump's chance for reelection in 2020 was soured by Biden, who amassed an inverse of 2016's original electoral college results and won 306 votes to Trump's 232.

To win, Biden flipped Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Nebraska's 1st Congressional District. Biden is the first Democrat to flip Georgia since President Bill Clinton in 1992 and the first to win in Arizona since 1996.

In both the 2016 and 2020 elections, Trump lost the popular vote. Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than he did, and Biden is on track to win nearly 6 million more votes than Trump.

Biden has already won more votes than any presidential candidate in US history.

 

While Republicans claimed a majority after the 2016 election, two Senate runoff races in Georgia will determine which party holds control over the legislative body in 2021.

In the 2016 US Senate elections, Republicans maintained control of the Senate with a 52-48 majority over the Democratic Party and gave Vice President Mike Pence the tiebreaking vote for the GOP as the president of the Senate.

The Democratic Party gained two seats, with Sen. Tammy Duckworth winning Illinois and Sen. Maggie Hasen very narrowly succeeding in New Hampshire.

In 2020, Democrats were expected to make major gains, but GOP senators held up stronger than anticipated, defending seats in highly competitive races in Maine, North Carolina, and South Carolina, among others. Democrats flipped seats in Colorado and Arizona and could hold a majority in the Senate if the two Democratic candidates, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, win the two Georgia runoffs in January.

In 2016, younger voters favored Clinton, while older Americans voted for Trump. This year, more younger voters chose Biden and older voters were split between the two candidates.

While the 2016 and 2020 elections were only four years apart, the voting demographics of the two elections were resoundingly different.

Biden bested Clinton's performance in every age-related voting group in 2020, only allowing Trump to gain ground among 30-44-year-olds.

Older voters made up a larger percentage of the total vote in 2020 than in 2016, with voters 65 years old and above amounting to 22% of the final vote, or six percentage points more than in 2016.

Notably, Biden gained two percentage points of support from voters in the oldest voting demographic after steadily gaining their support following raucous debates and Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cities overwhelmingly voted Democrat in both elections, while rural voters chose Trump. The suburbs swung from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020.

In 2016, Trump received an estimated 49% of the vote in the suburbs, 4 percentage points more than his opponent. As previously reported, both campaigns in 2020 increased their focus on winning such voters. Biden emerged victorious in the suburbs, winning 50% of voters there —  two percentage points more than Trump and five more percentage points than Clinton in 2016.

Trump appears to have lost four percentage points of support in small cities and rural communities, dropping from 61% of support to 57% in 2020. Conversely, Biden gained eight percentage points in these areas, ultimately winning 42% of the rural vote.

As voters' education levels increase, they're more likely to vote for Clinton or Biden instead of Trump.

Trump gained around three percentage points of support among voters who have never attended college, a demographic with which Biden failed to make gains in 2020.

But Biden performed remarkably better than Trump in 2020 among voters with an advanced degree. The Democratic nominee received an estimated 62% of the vote from post-graduate degree holders, a full 25 percentage points higher than Trump with 37%.

The 2016 trend held true in 2020 that more women voted for the Democrats and more men voted for Trump.

While Trump maintained similar levels of support from both men and women in 2016 and 2020, Biden managed to make gains over Clinton's share.

In 2020, Biden received an estimated three additional percentage points of votes from women than Clinton did in 2016 when she became the first female presidential candidate on a major political party's ticket.

Though small, Biden also gained one percentage point of support from male voters across the US.

Black women overwhelmingly voted for the Democratic nominee in both elections, as did other voters of color. But Trump captured the majority of both white women and white men.

Following a Trump presidency that saw an increase in anti-immigration rhetoric and policy, experts paid close attention to Biden's performance among Hispanic voters, which he appeared to be lacking in the final months leading up to the election.

While Clinton received votes from an estimated 63% of male Latino voters, Biden actually lost ground and won only 59% in 2020, which all but eliminated his chance of flipping the major battleground states of Florida and Texas. Trump also gained an additional percentage point of support from male Latino voters in 2020, further cementing his gains among the demographic.

More voters with family incomes below $50,000 voted for Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020. While incomes above $100,000 were split between the two parties, Biden captured more voters from incomes in the $50,000 to $99,999 range, which has the largest number of voters.

In the 2016 election, voters with family incomes of $100,000 to $199,999 were split, supporting Trump over Clinton by a one percentage point margin. But in 2020, Biden and the Democratic Party lost six percentage points of support, ultimately trailing Trump by seven percentage points among the demographic.

But where Trump made gains among some of the highest-earning voters, Biden received 11 percentage points in additional support from voters with family incomes between $50,000 and $99,999, skyrocketing over Trump by a 15 percentage point margin. In 2016, Trump and the Republican Party won the group over by three percentage points, 49% to 46%.

Predictably, partisan voters cast their ballots along party lines. But many more moderate voters chose Biden over Trump in 2020, helping to propel the Democratic nominee to victory.

In 2016, 52% of moderate-leaning voters chose Clinton — just 12 percentage points more than Trump with 40%. Biden made heavy gains with the demographic in 2020, receiving 64% of the demographic as Trump lost six percentage points of support among moderates.

Additionally, conservative voters were four percentage points more likely to vote for Trump in 2020 than they were in 2016. Similarly, Biden captured five more percentage points than Clinton had among liberal voters.

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