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Biden overthrows Wisconsin, fueled by support from cities and suburbs

Joseph R. Biden Jr. toppled Wisconsin, a state Democratic presidential candidates won for decades until Donald J. Trump won in 2016. Mr. Biden’s victory is in part due to the strength of voters in cities and suburbs. Their heavy left turn countered rural voters who continued to support Mr. Trump.

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Shift since 2016

In counties that have declared almost all of their votes

More democratic

More republican

Mr Trump sought to find new voters in the ranks of the white blue collar workers who helped him win in 2016 rather than appealing to other ridings. He seemed to find a lot of these new voters in Wisconsin, often in rural areas.

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Margin in 2020

The circles indicate the size of the lead in each county.



Wisconsin has one of the highest proportions of white voters without a college degree in the country and few voters of color. But Mr. Biden eventually managed to get about 20,000 more votes than Mr. Trump, with healthy margins in more populous counties like Dane, home of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Milwaukee.

Change in county margins from 2016

Share of white population
without university degree

+ 10D


+ 10R

Fewer university graduates

No longer a university graduate

The turnout rose 13% in the predominantly rural counties that favored Mr. Trump in 2016, compared to 7% in the counties won by Hillary Clinton. In a rural area Burnett County, for example, the vote jumped 16% and Mr. Trump took the lion’s share of the total vote, keeping his 28-point margin from 2016.

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Participation in 2020

The colors show the total number of votes compared to 2016.



But in Brown County, home of the voice-rich Green Bay, where the turnout rose 12%, Mr. Trump’s voting margin fell from 2016. It’s a swing county that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and for Mr. Trump in 2016. In Ozaukee County, just north of Milwaukee, his margin has also fallen.

Overall, many of the countries that swung heavily to the right in 2016 remained Republicans, although some left in 2020.

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