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How Biden won Pennsylvania and clinched the election

Four days after polling day, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner in Pennsylvania, turning him blue, as the counties east of the Appalachians moved to the left. The state, a battleground with 20 electoral votes, was enough to tip the election definitively in favor of Mr. Biden, propelling him to victory.

Philadelphia creamPittsburgh

Shift since 2016

In counties that have declared almost all of their votes

More democratic

More republican

Mr Biden’s largest voting margins were in dense population centers including Philadelphia and its suburbs, and Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh. The counting of postal votes in parts of those counties delayed the results, preventing news agencies from calling the state for several days.

Philadelphia creamPittsburgh

Margin in 2020

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



In Philadelphia County, it drew strong support in predominantly black constituencies. Having enough black voters – the main Democrats’ supporters – to counter Mr. Trump’s margins with rural white voters had been seen as essential for Mr. Biden, especially after Hillary Clinton’s poor display. with black voters in 2016.

Mr. Trump, who four years ago became the first Republican to win the state since 1988, was able to build on his 2016 victory in counties with more low-income households and those with more white residents who had no college education.

Change in county margins from 2016

Median household income

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Higher income

Lower income

Share of white population
without university degree

+ 10D


+ 10R

Fewer university graduates

No longer a university graduate

Although Philadelphia County, a Democratic stronghold, voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Biden, it swung to Mr. Trump by more than 4 percentage points from 2016.

Margin of victory in Pennsylvania counties since 2008

Each row shows the margins in a county over time

In Philadelphia cream and counties of AlleghenyMr. Trump’s victories at the constituency level were almost entirely in areas where the proportion of white voters was higher.

Overall, Mr. Trump performed better in Philadelphia than in 2016, likely due to further right turns among white voters, but also in his favor in neighborhoods where Hispanics make up the majority of the population. .