All the states have been called.

Various news outlets, including CNN, have called GA and NC, and so:

That gives Biden the exact same number that Trump had after election night in 2016 (a win that Trump often touted as huge, among other things).

It is worth noting that while Trump is normally credited with 306 electoral votes, he actually only won 304.

Here are the certified EVs from 2016 from the FEC (via The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Studies):

It is highly unlikely that any Biden electors will be unfaithful this cycle, so the odds are that Biden will slightly best Trump in this category. (A petty, yet true, observation).

More to be said, but I will reiterate that winning ~51% of the popular vote, with a greater than 5 million margin (and still growing) and flipping 5 states (2 of which have been red for a long time) is an impressive win, even if it took a little while to count the votes in some states.

In terms of what I stated was my best guess, I did better this cycle than I did in 2016 for sure, and I think better than any previous predictions:

I missed NC (which for some reason I thought would go blue and be one of the first states counted) and GA (which I thought would fall just shy of flipping).

I based the above at looking at state level data and odds from the 538 and Economists models (plus simple distrust of polling from Florida, based in part on the miss there in 2018 and its history of being, well, Florida).

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yep, 306, just what Trump got (setting aside two faithless electors.) The big difference being that Trump lost the popular vote both times.

    On Florida I heard Rick Wilson on his podcast say that to actually win Florida a Democrat has to be polling 10 points ahead.

    Meanwhile at Predictit.com, a Trump win still sells for 12 cents a share.

  2. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Might want to check spelling in your sub-header there Mr Taylor 🙂

    I also appreciate the petty victory of 306 in comparison to Trump’s YUUUUGE win of 2016.

  3. @Just Another Ex-Republican: Less the spelling and more fumble fingers. It’s fixed, thanks!

  4. James Joyner says:

    You did way better than my (admittedly wishful) prediction of 389. I had all of the close states going Biden’s way and, quite obviously, that didn’t happen.

  5. Kylopod says:

    I made this a few days ago.

  6. Joe says:

    I seem to recall that the Supreme Court outlawed faithless electors a couple of years ago in a case responding to one or both of Trump’s electors. Not only would that assure Biden his 206, I would think that would have technically put 206 back on Trump’s card.

  7. @Joe: I would have to look at the specifics, but as I recall it was that they affirmed the ability of states to punish them. As such, it depends on state laws.

  8. EddieInCA says:

    My worst case model had 274 for Biden, so I wasn’t worried most of the days following, as I knew where the votes were still outstanding.

    But the Collins and Tillis races were the ones that surprised me.

  9. Joe says:

    The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld laws across the country that remove or punish rogue Electoral College delegates who refuse to cast their votes for the presidential candidate they were pledged to support.
    * * *
    Monday’s case began after the 2016 election when a handful of Electoral College delegates pledged to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Colorado and Washington state voted for other individuals, such as Colin Powell or John Kasich.

    I stand corrected by Dr. Taylor and NPR.

  10. Crusty Dem says:


    Understandable, Tillis is simply awful and hated by both parties. He would’ve been voted out easily were it not for Cal Cunningham’s dalliances with the wife of a disabled veteran – The ads in NC were non-stop and vicious and Cunningham didn’t respond in any meaningful way.

  11. Dutchgirl says:

    I am finally feeling a little more relieved and hopeful. But I think we’re at the “at least we’ve stopped the bleeding” part, not any of the actual improvement of the situation portion.

  12. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner: I said it wouldn’t be close and we’d know on Election Day.

    As it turns out, it wasn’t particularly close, although closer than either of us expected. The other part of my prediction was way off, obviously. I knew mail-in votes would be significant, I just didn’t think they would be as important as they were.

  13. Kathy says:

    IMO, flipping AZ and GA was huge. But the margins are razor-thin. The thing to do now is consolidate such gains and build on them. Otherwise they may prove transitory, one-time deals.

  14. SenyorDave says:

    To me the scary thing is to realize that if Trump had handled Covid-19 in any sort of responsible way he would have coasted to victory. As it is a swing of less than 100k votes gives Trump a victory WI, AZ and PA). Bear in mind that Trump has had a spectacularly bad 2020. And he still almost won!

  15. Franklin says:

    @SenyorDave: All true, but 77yo Biden beat an incumbent with a colored female running mate, with Covid-limited campaigning.

    Bear in mind that Trump is the very definition of the phrase “cult of personality”.

  16. @SenyorDave:

    To me the scary thing is to realize that if Trump had handled Covid-19 in any sort of responsible way he would have coasted to victory

    Maybe yes, maybe no. The reality is that his approval (or lack thereof) was steady and it tracks pretty closely with the pop vote outcome. Nothing ever really seemed to alter those numbers.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @SenyorDave: I agree that COVID didn’t have to be a disaster for Trump, it was an opportunity. All he had to do was mount a marginally competent response and show some empathy. Neither of which he’s capable of even faking.

  18. @gVOR08: Indeed. The reality is that the counterfactual notion “if Trump had managed the Covid response better” is tantamount to “if Trump had been another person.”


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