Election News

New and Updated Features on the 270toWin Website

February 11, 2021

A summary of some content changes to the 270toWin website in recent weeks:

2024 Electoral Map  There will be a revised electoral map for the next presidential election, based on each state's population as reported in the 2020 Census. The release of that information - usually in December of the Census year - has been delayed until April largely due to the coronavirus. While we don't have the official 2024 map yet, the changes are still expected to be largely the same as those projected at the end of 2019.  The interactive electoral map has been updated to reflect that. Using the buttons above the map, you can see how things will change.  For example, the 306-232 result in the actual 2020 election becomes 302-236 if repeated in 2024.  

Historical Presidential Elections To make these maps more informative, we've replaced the stripes associated with split votes with actual numbers.  Where applicable, there is also a split for 'Other'. These are faithless electoral votes cast for someone not on the ballot or electoral votes not cast. Refer to the Election Facts section on the map page for more details on any splits associated with the election you are viewing. 

2022 Senate Map 34 seats are scheduled for the 2022 midterms. 20 are held by Republicans and 14 by Democrats. With roughly the same number of competitive seats held by each party, another closely-contested battle for control is in the offing.  Sabato's Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report are out with initial race ratings.

2021-22 Governor Map  New Jersey and Virginia hold elections this year, 36 more states follow in 2022.  The Cook Political Report issued its initial ratings earlier this month.

The 2022 House map is not yet ready. In any event, an accurate nationwide 2022 map likely won't be available for about a year as states go through the redistricting process triggered by the Census.

State Pages The Recent Presidential Elections section has been expanded with the option to view popular vote percentages back to 1976.  

Republican Claudia Tenney Wins NY-22; Final Undecided House Race from November

February 8, 2021

It took over three months but there's finally a winner in the November 3 congressional race in NY-22.  Republican Claudia Tenney has won by 109 votes out of nearly 320,000 cast over incumbent Democrat Anthony Brindisi. 

After an extended review, a judge ruled Friday that Tenney had won the race. New York certified the election results at noon Monday, and Brindisi conceded shortly thereafter, saying he would drop any further legal appeals.

Tenney will return to the seat she won by 5 points in the 2016 election. She lost her reelection bid to Brindisi by about 2 points in 2018. 

In the end, Democrats won 222 seats in November's election while Republicans took 213. While Democrats maintained control, their margin was significantly reduced.  The GOP had a net gain of 12 seats, including one in MI-3, which was vacated by Libertarian Justin Amash.

Currently, the House sits at  221 Democrats and 210 Republicans. There are four vacancies. In addition to NY-22, where Tenney should be seated in the near future:

  • LA-2 Democrat Cedric Richmond resigned last month to join the Biden administration. 
  • LA-5 Republican Luke Letlow died of Covid-19 on December 29, less than a week before he would have been sworn in
  • TX-6 Republican Ron Wright died Sunday after contracting Covid-19.  He is the first sitting member of Congress to die from the virus

There will be all-party primaries for the two Louisiana seats on March 20. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote in a particular race, a top-two runoff will be April 24. The incumbent party is heavily favored in both cases.

No date has been set for a special election in the TX-6. This largely suburban district includes some of the area between Forth Worth and Dallas and includes Ellis and Navarro counties to the south of Dallas. Wright won a 2nd term in November by about 9 points.

Two other Democratic-held seats are likely to be vacated in the near future. Deb Haaland (NM-1) and Marcia Fudge (OH-11) have been nominated for Cabinet positions and are awaiting Senate confirmation.

 

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby Won't Seek Reelection in 2022

February 8, 2021

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said Monday that he will not run again in 2022. The six-term Republican is the longest serving Senator in the state's history.

Shelby becomes the fourth Senator - all Republicans - to announce their retirement this cycle.  The others are Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), and Pat Toomey (PA). While those other states are expected to be somewhat to highly competitive, the GOP is very likely to hold the seat in this deep red state. Democrat Doug Jones was able to narrowly win a Senate seat here in 2017, but that was a special election with a flawed Republican nominee. Up for a regular six-year term this past November, Jones lost to Republican Tommy Tuberville by 20 points.

In total, 34 Senate seats will be contested next year. Create and share your forecast with the 2022 Senate Interactive Map.

Update: 2020 Election if All States Allocated Electoral Votes Like Maine and Nebraska

February 4, 2021

A few weeks back, we did a preliminary calculation of the 2020 electoral map if all states allocated electoral votes like Maine and Nebraska.  Those two states award two electoral votes to the popular vote winner and one each to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.  In 2020, this created a split in both those states: Trump won Nebraska while Biden won District 2; the opposite happened in Maine. 

Most states don't report presidential results by congressional district so it falls on a third party to map precinct/county reporting to districts. DailyKos does excellent work in this area; we've largely relied on their data for the map below.  There are still 5 states where the information isn't complete, including New York and Pennsylvania. However, this article on crossover districts by J. Miles Coleman at Sabato's Crystal Ball fills in those blanks for us. This updated map should be final (or very close).

Applying the congressional district method nationwide, Joe Biden still wins but by a narrower 277-261 result. While the approach might seem like a fairer one at first glance, it fails that test in the real world where many districts are heavily gerrymandered.  Politics would have to come out of the redistricting process to make this a viable alternative to winner-take-all. That's not going to happen.

One other caveat - this is a backwards look at 2020 to fit rules that were not in place for the election.  Campaign resources would have been deployed differently if they had been, likely leading to a different winner in some districts.

In the map below, the primary color is based on the statewide popular vote winner.  All three Washington, DC votes are allocated to Biden, as he won 93% of the popular vote.

Assuming no surprises when New York and Pennsylvania are official, there were 16 crossover districts in 2020. Nine districts voted for Biden while electing a GOP representative, seven voted for Trump while electing a Democratic member to the House.

Biden/GOP:   CA-21, CA-25, CA-39, CA-48, NE-2, NY-24, PA-1, TX-24

Trump/Dem:  IA-3, IL-17, ME-2, MI-8, NJ-3, PA-8, WI-3

The congressional race in NY-22 remains undecided. Donald Trump is likely to have won that district and the GOP nominee for Congress, Claudia Tenney, remains slightly ahead as that race is litigated. Subject to change, we've treated it as a Trump/GOP district on the map.

Sabato's Crystal Ball Initial Ratings for 2022 Senate Election

January 28, 2021

Sabato's Crystal Ball is out with its initial ratings for the 34 seats to be contested in the 2022 midterm Senate elections. Republicans will be defending 20 seats, Democrats 14. However, the number of competitive seats is small and roughly split between the two parties. This means another closely-contested battle for control is on the horizon.

Read the Crystal Ball article >>

A map of the ratings is below. Click or tap for an interactive version you can use to create and share your own 2022 Senate forecast.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman Will Not Seek Reelection in 2022

January 25, 2021

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Monday that he will not seek a third term in 2022. Portman joins fellow Republicans Richard Burr (NC) and Pat Toomey (PA) in announcing their retirement this cycle.

We've updated the 'first look' 2022 Senate map to move Ohio from likely to leans Republican to reflect the lack of an incumbent. Ohio is one of only six states that has a split Senate delegation. Democrat Sherrod Brown is next on the ballot in 2024.  

 

 

Updated 'Same Since' Maps: Current Single Party Streak for Each State

January 22, 2021

The 'same since' series of electoral maps lets you see how far back in time each state has voted for a single party in presidential elections. We've updated for the 2020 election where Arizona and Georgia ended a Republican streak dating back to the 1990s.

The timeline goes from 1964 through the 2016 election. 1964 was the first year Washington, D.C. voted in a presidential election. It voted Democratic that year and every election since. The final map, for 2016, shows states that have voted the same in the most recent two elections. It reflects the five states + NE-2 that Joe Biden flipped to win the 2020 presidential election.   

The image links to the 2016 map; you can view the full timeline here.

 

Here is the current streak for each state in tabular form:

Year (Streak): Click for Interactive Map Locations: Current Streak Begins
1964 (15) DC
1968 (14) AK, ID, KS, ND, NE except NE-2, OK, SD, UTWY
1976 (12) MN
1980 (11) AL, MS, SC, TX
1988 (9) HI, MA, NY, OR, RI, WA
1992 (8) CA, CT, DE, MD, ILME except ME-2, NJ, VT
1996 (7) MT
2000 (6) AR, KY, LA, MO, TN, WV
2004 (5) NH
2008 (4) CO, NM, NV, VA
2012 (3) IN, NC
2016 (2) FL, IA, ME-2, OH
2020 (1) AZ, GA, MI, NE-2, PA, WI

Three Democratic Senators to be Sworn In Wednesday Afternoon

January 19, 2021

Punchbowl News reports in its Tuesday morning newsletter that "Democrats Alex Padilla (Calif.), Jon Ossoff (Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (Ga.) will be sworn in as new senators on Wednesday afternoon, according to a Senate source. This will come shortly after Biden and Kamala Harris take their own oaths of office. As VP, Harris is expected to swear in the majority making trio."

For those not familiar, Punchbowl News is a new political news start-up founded by three veterans of Politico. We're finding their free morning edition an invaluable start to the day. You can sign up here.

With these additions, the Senate will be split 50-50 shortly after the start of the Biden administration. That will make vice president Kamala Harris the president of the Senate, able to cast tiebreaking votes. As a result, Democrats will nominally take control of the chamber, with Chuck Schumer expected to become majority leader. However, as the Senate is evenly divided, committees are expected to have the same number of members from each party. To address those types of issues, Schumer and current majority leader Mitch McConnell are currently discussing an arrangement similar to one that was used the last time there was a 50-50 Senate in 2001. 

Padilla was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to replace Harris, who resigned Monday. He will complete the final two years of her term; the seat will be contested again in the 2022 Senate Election.

Ossoff and Warnock won election runoffs in Georgia earlier this month, defeating incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Warnock will serve the final two years of the term of Johnny Isakson, who resigned at the end of 2019. Loeffler had been appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to fill the seat through the special election.

 

Kamala Harris Resigns from Senate in Advance of Wednesday's Inauguration

January 18, 2021

Kamala Harris resigned from the Senate effective at noon EST Monday. The move comes two days before her inauguration as vice president.  In that role, Harris will become president of the Senate.  This is a largely ceremonial role, but one that it includes the ability to cast tiebreaking votes.  That will take on added importance this year given the chamber's upcoming 50-50 split.   

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve the final two years of Harris's term. Until he is sworn in the Senate will have 51 Republicans and 47 Democrats (including two independents). The Harris seat and one in Georgia formerly held by Republican David Perdue are vacant. Perdue's term ended January 3; he lost a runoff to Democrat Jon Ossoff on January 5. Georgia's other Senate seat will be changing hands as Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler in a special election runoff. 

Once the Senate returns to full strength, each party will control 50 seats. Republicans will be defending 20 and Democrats 14 in the 2022 Senate election.

First Look: 2020 Presidential Election if All States Voted Like Maine and Nebraska

January 13, 2021

Last week, Wisconsin state Rep. Gary Tauchen (R) introduced a bill to change how the state allocates its electoral votes.  If enacted, the state would move from the winner-take-all allocation currently used in 48 states to that of Maine and Nebraska. Those two states use the congressional district method, awarding two electoral votes to the popular vote winner of the state and one to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.  U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R, MI-02) has suggested his state do the same. 

At nearly the same time, Nebraska state Sen. Julie Slama sponsored a bill to switch that state back to winner-take-all. (Slama is a Republican, although the single body Nebraska legislature is officially nonpartisan.)

These proposals seem to pop up after each election. While often couched as fairer, the proposals are almost always partisan in nature, meant to benefit the electoral college fortunes of the party that introduces the bill.  That is the case in all the above.  The 31 electoral votes associated with the above 3 states went 27-4 for Joe Biden in 2020. If the proposed approaches had been in place, Donald Trump would have received 19 of them to 12 for Biden.

Congressional District Method: 2020 Presidential Election

This is an estimate, as the data is not fully available yet. Most states do not break out votes by congressional district, so it falls on a 3rd party to do the number crunching. We use calculations by Daily Kos.  Whether or not you agree with that site's politics, they do excellent work with election data.  We've projected the outcome in each state where the data isn't yet available, looking at the margins in both the 2020 congressional and 2016 presidential elections.  

The net result is a very narrow 274-264 estimated Biden win if this approach were used. Both candidates won 25 states, giving them 50 electoral votes. On top of that, we project Biden to have won 221 districts to 214 for Trump. Finally, we allocate the 3 Washington, DC votes to Biden, where he won 93% of the popular vote.

It is important to note that even if this map ends up being 100% accurate, it is unlikely that the election would have turned out exactly this way. Campaigns make strategic and tactical decisions based on getting to 270 electoral votes. They would undoubtedly allocate resources differently in an election run under these rules.

 

Would this be an improvement over winner-take-all?

The appeal of a more proportional allocation of electoral votes in each state is understandable. Unfortunately, in the real world, this particular method is not a good solution.  There are rarely more than a few dozen competitive congressional districts each cycle. This is because most congressional districts are drawn by politicians - usually a state's legislature - with the party in control at the time of redistricting looking to create district lines to their benefit. This gerrymandering would become exponentially worse if it helped dictate the outcome of presidential elections.  And, in fact, it would. There will likely be fewer than 15 districts in 2020 where the winning congressional and presidential party is different. 

To see how this (and other methods) fared in the 2012 and 2016 elections, see this article on Gaming the Electoral College