After days of counting the votes, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. amassed the 270 Electoral College votes he needed to run for President.
Throughout, it was clear that Mr. Biden’s path to victory involved overthrowing a handful of states that then candidate Donald J. Trump had won in 2016 while retaining the states that Hillary had won. Clinton, the Democratic candidate in 2016, had won in this cycle.
While there have been many twists and turns, Mr. Biden appears to have done just that. Here’s a look at the top states he’s won and what we know about the reasons he won them.
Biden states returned
Pennsylvania (20 electoral college votes)
Pennsylvania has been in the limelight for months, and has long been seen as a potential “tipping state” – the state where victory could determine the outcome of the entire presidential race. Election officials had always said it would take time to count the votes there and that a final tally would not be available on election night. Mr Trump won the state by less than a percentage point in 2016, but polls had placed Mr Biden in the lead as Election Day approached.
And although it took days to find out who won and the race was pretty close, Pennsylvania did indeed prove to be crucial to the result. As expected, Mr Trump quickly took the lead, thanks to ballots issued on Election Day, but Mr Biden slowly recovered and eventually passed Mr Trump as more and more missing ballots were counted .
An early review of county-level data suggests Mr Biden edged out Clinton’s performance in 2016 in most areas of the state. It showed particular strength in the suburbs around Philadelphia, an area that tended to blue in 2016 and has only gotten bluer since. He sent the state back to the Democratic column with 37,000 more votes than Mr. Trump.
Four years ago, Mr. Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan or Wisconsin in decades when he defeated Ms. Clinton by about 33,000 votes in the two states combined.
From the start of Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign until election day, he and his team believed that rebuilding the Democratic “blue wall” in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would perhaps be the clearest path and the cleanest to win the White House. Mr Biden also believed that the Democratic Party should gain the support of working-class and middle-class voters in industrial northern states – those from families like the one he grew up in.
This strategy has paid off, as Mr. Biden won the support of cities and suburbs in Wisconsin. He was helped in particular by a massive turnout in Dane County (Madison’s home) and he ate on Mr. Trump’s fringes in suburban Milwaukee.
In Michigan, a spike in turnout in Detroit and its affluent suburbs, along with waning support for Mr. Trump among middle-class voters, helped secure the state for Mr. Biden. About two-thirds of the predominantly white counties that supported Mr. Trump in 2016 left somewhat four years later, and a greater proportion of voters in those counties supported Mr. Biden than they supported Ms. Clinton in 2016.
Mr. Trump was surprisingly close to victory in Minnesota four years ago, and his campaign has invested significant resources in the state this cycle in hopes of overthrowing it. Nonetheless, Mr. Biden maintained a comfortable, if not insurmountable, lead in Minnesota for much of the race, and the polls ended up being pretty accurate.
Mr. Biden won comfortably, by around seven percentage points. It has climbed the margins in densely populated urban counties and made significant inroads into the suburban counties that Mr. Trump won in 2016.
Nevada (six voices)
Mr Biden managed to hang on to Nevada, a state Ms Clinton won in 2016, but it took days to decide. Like Mrs. Clinton, he did so by winning Clark and Washoe counties, home to Las Vegas and Reno, which account for over 85% of the state’s total votes. His margin of victory in Clark County was down slightly from the margin in 2016, but it was up in Washoe.
New Hampshire (14 votes)
Cook’s political report saw New Hampshire competitive with a skinny Democrat, and it was heavily contested in 2016. But Mr Biden won easily, by seven percentage points, and the race was called relatively quickly.
Notable states Biden Lost
Florida (29 Electoral College votes)
Perhaps no state has been more closely watched this cycle than Florida, and the results almost immediately dash Democrats’ hopes of a blue landslide. Mr Trump won the state by a much wider margin than in 2016, despite poll averages showing him lagging behind before election day.
More than half of the counties in Florida have swung farther to the right than four years ago. And while Mr. Biden has made gains in parts of the state, he has significantly underperformed in Florida’s most populous county, Miami-Dade, especially in predominantly Hispanic ridings.
Iowa (six votes), Ohio (18 votes) and Texas (38 votes)
Optimistic Democrats hoping for a blue wave saw Iowa, Ohio and Texas as potentially at stake this cycle, but it turned out to be wishful thinking. Mr. Trump hit Mr. Biden by sizable margins in the three conservative-leaning states, winning them for the second time.
Of the three, Texas, where the president won about six percentage points, ended up being the closest. Even as some white voters in urban and suburban areas have moved in large numbers to the Democrats, many Hispanic voters in the Rio Grande Valley has moved decisively to Mr. Trump.
Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.