Biden Ahead in Georgia

Hopefully, we can finally declare a President-Elect today.

bidne

The counting of the votes has been maddeningly slow but the inexorable is nonetheless happening: Democrat Joe Biden is solidifying his lead in states where President Trump has large, artificial leads when Election Night ended.

FiveThirtyEight’s Micah Cohen sums it up:

*Biden has taken the slimmest of leads in Georgia — just over 1,000 votes — with 99 percent of the expected vote in (remember, the “expected vote” is an estimate — we think there are about 10,000 ballots left to be counted, but that could change if more military/overseas, provisional and cured absentee ballots come in). We don’t, however, think any of the networks will project Georgia for Biden anytime soon as the margin is just sooooo slim.

*Biden is up by about 47,000 votes in Arizona with about 90 percent of the expected vote in (that’s about 263,000 ballots left to count). Biden’s lead increased by several hundred votes overnight.

*Biden has a tiny lead in Nevada and Trump has a small lead in North Carolina, and we didn’t get any more votes from either state overnight. In Nevada, about 89 percent of the expected vote has been counted, leaving about 190,150 ballots outstanding. Almost all of those, about 170,000, are from Clark County (home to Vegas), the Democratic stronghold in the state.

*Thus, all 🏀 are really on Pennsylvania. Trump’s lead is down to about 18,000 votes in the Keystone State with about 95 percent of the expected vote in. That leaves about 160,000 votes still to be counted. And there are still roughly 44,000 mail-in ballots left to be reported in very blue Philadelphia and at least 30,000 in Allegheny County (home to Pittsburgh).

It very much looks like Biden will win every single one of these. Even North Carolina, which looked almost impossible 24 hours ago.

I wish this were going faster and in a more transparent manner. On the surface, it wouldn’t seem that hard to count so few ballots. But, of course, we’re down to mailed-in returns, provisional ballots, and others that are the hardest to get through.

Interestingly, while Fox News and the AP called Arizona for Biden on Election Night, it’s still too close for anyone else to call. He’ll likely hold on but, ironically, Trump was right to complain about the call being premature.

Regardless, what looked like a nail-biter on Election Night is very much looking like a really, really big win for Biden and repudiation of Trump.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Joe Biden, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    I can’t find a site that puts Biden in the lead in North Carolina, or frankly even within striking distance, anywhere.

    Can you share what you’re seeing?

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  2. Scott says:

    I hope I’m wrong but my gut tells me that Trump may pull out Arizona. He needs to pull about 59-60% but given that their mail in system is absolutely normal to the Arizona residents, I think it may happen.

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  3. Teve says:

    PredictIt has Georgia and Pennsylvania 90+% for Biden.

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  4. Jen says:

    @Tony W: One thing to bear in mind about NC is that any votes postmarked by Nov. 3 that arrive by Nov. 10 are valid and can be counted, so maybe that’s what they are factoring in?

    The NYT count has NC stalled at 95% of the estimated votes reported, with Trump ahead by 76K votes. That doesn’t seem within striking distance to me, so I’m also curious about how this could change.

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  5. Scott says:

    Military absentee ballots are still coming in to battleground states

    With the race down to the wire in Georgia, those military absentee ballots could make a difference

    And the ballots are still coming in — as long as the ballots were postmarked by Nov. 3, and received by Nov. 6, they are counted. Statewide numbers of absentee ballots coming in from military members and overseas U.S. citizens are not yet available, as each county in Georgia has that information.

    In 2016, there were 12,432 military and overseas citizen absentee ballots counted in Georgia, including 5,203 military ballots.

    In North Carolina, for example, there were 17,201 military and overseas absentee ballots counted in the 2016 presidential election, including 6,317 military absentee ballots. Currently in North Carolina, where the margins are close, the number of outstanding military ballots alone is worth about 6 percent of the margin currently separating Trump and Biden.

    And the ballots are still coming in to North Carolina, too. In that state, local election officials accept absentee ballots from military and overseas voters through Nov. 12 — and no postmark is required on the ballot.

    In Pennsylvania and Nevada, election officials count absentee ballots from military and overseas citizens that arrive by Nov. 10

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  6. SKI says:

    I wish this were going faster and in a more transparent manner

    How could it be more transparent?

    Both parties have large numbers of watchers in place, in addition to non-partisan judges. We get frequent updates on how the count is progressing and approximations of how many ballots are left. I’ve seen repeated and multiple TV shots of the counting going on. We’ve known this situation was coming for months and it ahs been widely discussed and covered by reputable media.

    What else are you looking for?

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  7. SKI says:

    @Scott: Most of those aren’t military and most military aren’t those.

    Those are “overseas” ballots. During the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, they were heavily military and fairly conservative. Now, most are civilian and lean Biden/Dem.

    Domestic military vote in the same manner as the rest of us do.

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  8. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W: Trump’s lead is just a few thousand votes and, as @Jen notes, there are a lot of mailed ballots outstanding. I just expect those to be overwhelmingly for Biden as they have been elsewhere.

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  9. Scott says:

    @SKI: From a note at 538, a Georgia official said the maximum number of military/overseas ballots that could come in is 8,899. Meaning that is how many requests there were. How many were returned is unknown.

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  10. Kylopod says:

    Note that a few days ago here I was puzzled when Larry Sabato predicted Biden would lose Florida but win Georgia. Polls showed Biden ahead in both, but with a narrower lead in Georgia. I was ready for various possibilities–I knew Biden might win both states, or lose both states. But I could not see how Georgia would be the more Democratic of the two. I didn’t trust FL, but I didn’t trust GA either. In 2018, both states seemed to disappoint in tandem.

    I still can’t figure out what Sabato saw that led him to this conclusion, but now it seems prescient.

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  11. mattbernius says:

    Hmmm, really seems like the “corpse cities” that a noted Trump supporter on these pages was recently shaking his head at might be far more alive than he would care to admit.

    Also, remember when this was going to be the election where there was a major shift in the Black vote to support Trump?

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  12. James Joyner says:

    @SKI: A friend who grew up in Turkey and the UK—a fellow political scientist who is rabidly anti-Trump—is beside himself. He sees the whole thing as a giant farce. And he has plenty of time to watch the returns. (I actually took leave Wednesday and Thursday, getting nothing else done.)

    Most Americans are at work during the day and not paying all that close of attention. Even aside from Trump’s misinformation campaign, the fact that it’s taking this long to count the last 5-10 percent of the ballots in each state is naturally going to make them wonder what’s happening.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am now seeing reports that Biden has taken the lead in PA.

    ETA: both Politico and RCP agree.

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  14. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    Most Americans are at work during the day and not paying all that close of attention. Even aside from Trump’s misinformation campaign, the fact that it’s taking this long to count the last 5-10 percent of the ballots in each state is naturally going to make them wonder what’s happening.

    Then the issue isn’t transparency. The reasons are clear and well documented – and covered repeatedly on both point and tv media.

    Further, THIS IS NORMAL FOR U.S. ELECTIONS. It happens every election.

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Sabato saw Stacey Abrams. She is something.

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  16. JohnSF says:

    Biden has just pulled ahead in votes in Pennsylvania.
    Small margin of a few thousand, c.150,000 left to count, but count breaking for Biden and expected to continue doing so.

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  17. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    Even aside from Trump’s misinformation campaign, the fact that it’s taking this long to count the last 5-10 percent of the ballots in each state is naturally going to make them wonder what’s happening.

    Two points — most states are still tallying ballots, it’s just the margins are not close enough for this to matter in the Presidential race. However down ballot races aer still open.

    But, more importantly, after a lot of praise for local control of elections on OTB a few days ago, we are also seeing the flip side of that. State Legislatures, primarily GOP, created a lot of these problems by setting rules at the State level that prevented early tallying of absentee ballots. And so that, in turn, is helping to create this sitaution where folks are asking “Why was State X able to get their tallies done so fast and State Y wasn’t.”

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  18. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    THIS IS NORMAL FOR U.S. ELECTIONS. It happens every election.

    It’s normal that the final results aren’t final for a few days. It’s decidedly not normal that we don’t know who won three days later.

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  19. James Joyner says:

    @mattbernius:

    But, more importantly, after a lot of praise for local control of elections on OTB a few days ago, we are also seeing the flip side of that. State Legislatures, primarily GOP, created a lot of these problems by setting rules at the State level that prevented early tallying of absentee ballots. And so that, in turn, is helping to create this sitaution where folks are asking “Why was State X able to get their tallies done so fast and State Y wasn’t.”

    Oh, absolutely. And this was by design!

    I think the place for legitimate consternation is the states where the outstanding vote totals were very low and yet we’re just getting just a trickle of updates.

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  20. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s decidedly not normal that we don’t know who won three days later.

    We’ve pretty much known since Wednesday. People are just being extra-cautious.

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  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    270toWin called PA for Biden. Now at 273

    They still haven’t called AZ, however.

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  22. Kylopod says:

    I was hoping Biden would take the lead in Georgia before Pennsylvania, even if it was more ephemeral. The optics were much more powerful. It makes this a truly realigning election, since it means Biden’s not just rebuilding the blue wall, but breaking into the red wall. It also validates the long-term strategy Dems have had for years, but with very little to show for it up to now, of how to win in the Confederacy. It’s not quite as big a political earthquake as if they won TX, but it’s still up there, and for similar reasons.

    In a sense it stands out even more than if Biden had won the massive landslide some people hoped, because in the latter case a win in GA would have been easier to dismiss as a fluke, similar to Obama winning Indiana in 2008.

    As I discussed the other day, Biden’s possible victory in GA is different from the traditional way Dems used to win in the South. Instead of winning back the yokels as Carter and Clinton once did, it’s based on running up the score in the Atlanta area. This is similar to the strategy by which Obama won NC in 2008, and it’s also similar to the near-misses of Stacey Abrams (very likely a stolen election) and Beto O’Rourke in 2018.

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  23. gVOR08 says:

    Rachel and company on MSNBC talked about how the NBC decision desk is working. They haven’t called AZ yet, although AP and FOX have. Usually these things are called when they reach some level of statistical confidence based on projections of how the outstanding votes will fall. Their guys aren’t going to call until the margin exceeds the number of outstanding votes, which is to say it’s mathematically impossible to switch.

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    The night they drove old Dixie down
    And the bells were ringing
    The night they drove old Dixie down
    And the people were singing
    They went, “Na, la, la, la, na, na
    La la, na, na, la, la, la, la, la”

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  25. DrDaveT says:

    I wish this were going faster and in a more transparent manner.

    I understand the “faster” part, but what could possibly be more transparent? I’ve been watching state Secretaries of State describe how many outstanding ballots there are by source, explaining the processing, describing the composition of the teams that review the ballots at each step… The whole thing is vastly more transparent than I would have predicted, in pretty much every state.

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  26. grumpy realist says:

    @James Joyner: Has anyone tallied, not who people voted for, but how many votes have been mailed in?

    People who are moaning about the length of time it’s taking to process everything seem to have totally forgotten WE’RE IN AN EPIDEMIC and VOTES ARE COMING IN BY MAIL.

    (It’s an election, guys. It’s not raising your hand in a talk show audience. Stop having hissy fits because you’re not immediately presented with results.)

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  27. Monala says:

    I posted this on the other Georgia thread:

    Speaking of Georgia… I remember when we were giving kudos to EddieinCA, who not only predicted a Biden nomination but Kamala Harris as his running mate.

    I want to extend further kudos to another commenter whose name is escaping me right now (Nick maybe? He’s a young guy who I think got married and had a kid in the last couple of years). During the primaries, when some were saying that Biden’s wins in the South were meaningless because he’d never win those states in the general, Nick* pushed back, saying something like, “Maybe not Mississippi. But he very well could win Georgia.”

    * if that’s his name

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  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    Yesterday, John Podhoretz had a post on Commentary that this election is an absolute repudiation of Trump. Rs had a good election in Congress, state houses and state legislatures an only Trump lost in a popular vote landslide. When all is said and done, over 80,000,000 will have voted to kick Trump out of office. Biden’s vote total dwarfed Obama’s 2008 total and Hil’s 2016 total.

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