Updated: what happened, and what does it mean?

The disruptive campaign that elected Biden president

The election of Donald Trump produced the highest turnout in any midterm — led by Black Americans, women, and suburban voters — and the fierce re-election battle in 2020, the highest turnout since 1900 — led by Black Americans, millennials, and unmarried women and above all, by new white working-class Trump voters, particularly in the blue wall states.

Our polling in October and on Election Day identified the biggest factor changing the race: Trump‘s incendiary, race-laden for workers against the elites, fueled by attacks on defunding the police, urban violence and local and national Democrats produced a working class and rural revolt.

Biden flipped blue wall states because Blacks, unmarried women, millennials, and college women increased their turn out and grew Biden’s landslide margins and critically, held his 43 percent with white working-class women, despite a deluge of white working-class voters.

Biden continued historic trends in the diverse battleground states and flipped Georgia and Arizona because of impressive turnout and vote with Blacks and millennials, as well as with unmarried and college women. The Hispanic vote share did not grow, despite their growth in the registered population and the Biden vote disappointed in at least two key states, Florida and Texas. Trump ran better with Hispanic men.

Republicans were hurt by real defections with McCain conservatives and GOP moderates and grew their vote with GOP defectors and dual haters.

Trump fights back

Trump fueled a white working-class revolt that grew the white working class share since 2018: from 40 to 62 percent in Iowa, 40 to 53 percent in Minnesota, 54 to 58 percent in Wisconsin, 40 to 55 percent in Ohio, 49 to 54 percent in Michigan and 48 to 53 percent in Pennsylvania. That was as dramatic a shift as those produced by the mid-term blue wave.

Trump’s late campaign drove up his vote with white working-class men by 7 points to match what Trump got in 2016 — when he won them by a daunting 48 points. And he pushed up his rural vote by 14 points to exceed what he achieved in 2016.

The campaigned that warned of Black violence fostered by permissive, liberal Democrats who disrespected the police, moved seniors to switch from voting on COVID to voting on “law and order” – and wiped out Biden’s lead there at the campaign’s close. The biggest gap with the pre-campaign polls was this change with seniors. Fear trumped good plans.

The Democrats lost their lead for Congress when these new white working-class voters broke heavily for Trump and against House, Senate and local Democrats were supposedly defunding the police and doing nothing about the violence. On Election,Trump took a big lead over Biden on law and order and that is a big part of the 2020 story.

Campaigns were pervasive during the pandemic, and importantly, 58 percent of Biden voters say they were contacted by an independent organization promoting voter participation.

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