Using the NYTimes‘ election results maps for both 2016 and 2020, I went through and made a table comparing Biden’s results in 2020 to Hillary’s results in 2016 in America’s largest cities. Here’s the table, first for the cities where Biden improved on Hillary’s 2016 margin, sorted by largest to smallest Biden net gain:
And here are the cities (or counties where the major cities are located) where Biden did worse than Hillary, sorted by smallest to largest net losses for Biden:
This is all in terms of vote percentages. Given that turnout was significantly higher for 2020, it made no sense to do it in terms of raw vote totals.
We can see that the cities where Biden gained the most over Hillary were Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Denver, Nashville, Charlotte and Atlanta.
The places where Biden lost support from what Hillary got: Miami Dade County FL (a whopping -22.1 points worse than Hillary), Bronx NYC (-11.4), Queens NYC (-8.4), Brooklyn NYC (-7.2) and LA County (-5.3).
By now it’s conventional wisdom that Miami Dade swung so hard to Trump because of Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants, but we can see a (smaller) minority shift to Trump in NYC and LA.
Also, Biden actually did 3.5 points worse in Philadelphia than Hillary did, yet he was able to flip Pennsylvania. As I went over in a post last month, the real shift in PA was in the Philly suburbs, which got bluer from 2016 to 2020.
It’s important to note that some of the results for 2020 might not be 100% reported, but all of them are well over 80% reported minimum. So while the 2020 figures could change, they won’t change by that much. Once the ink dries on the election results, I’ll update this with a new post to reflect the final totals.
I wanted to make this as a fact sheet/reference because there’s a lot of people out there saying things that aren’t true about how America’s major cities shifted from 2016 to 2020. These are the real numbers. There are some cities where Biden improved on Hillary’s numbers, and there are cities where Biden did worse than Hillary. Not all the places where Biden improved on Hillary’s numbers were in swing states.
My thoughts are as follows: I am deeply skeptical that Biden got 80 million votes. I am also deeply skeptical that Biden won Georgia and Arizona, as well as Michigan, Wisconsin and PA. I believe voter fraud occurred on a potentially massive scale (in the millions, possibly even tens of millions).
However, I do think Republicans are underestimating the white suburban shift towards Biden. There are a lot of news-watching suburban women who are chiefly concerned with virtue signaling. A lot of Americans saw Joe Biden as a way to return to “normalcy,” i.e. pre-Trump America when politics wasn’t such a big deal all the time. They would rather hand power back to the Establishment if it means all the psychological abuse (lockdowns, race riots) ends.
And, as I wrote in the notes column in the charts above, sometimes there are logical explanations for why Biden improved in a give place. For instance, Minneapolis he probably improved because of George Floyd and that whole situation. And in Nashville, where Biden improved by over 6 points over Hillary, a lot of that probably has to do with the fact that Nashville has been attracting tons of out-of-state transplants over the past several years. It’s one of the top destinations for people moving to a new city, especially from places like Chicago. Transplants to Nashville are turning it bluer, as they tend to be younger and college-educated. It’s the same thing that happened to Virginia and has now apparently happened to Colorado, and likely will happen to Texas. I don’t know if they’ll be able to turn Tennessee blue, but it’s possible.
But the most puzzling thing about this election was that Trump improved on his 2016 vote total by 11 million, while Biden improved on Hillary’s total by 15 million. It’s not like the shift from 2008 to 2012, where you could plainly see the shift from Obama to Romney. Obama got fewer votes in 2012 than he got in 2008, and Romney got more votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008. It was pretty clear what happened; Obama lost some support from ’08, but kept enough of it to hang on for re-election.
In 2020, though, we don’t see any clean shifts like that. So where did Biden find 15 million more votes than Hillary got in 2016? It’s not like they all switched over from Trump, because Trump got 11 million more votes than he did in 2016!