Home 2020 Elections Graphs: The Virginia Counties, Cities Furthest From and Closest To the Statewide...

Graphs: The Virginia Counties, Cities Furthest From and Closest To the Statewide 2020 Election Results (Biden +10.1 points)

Only a dozen Virginia jurisdictions came with 5 percentage points of matching Biden's 10.1-point statewide margin.

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As we know, the November 3 presidential election resulted in Virginia resulted in Joe Biden winning the state by 10.1 percentage points (54.1%-44.0%) over Donald Trump. I was curious to see which jurisdictions – counties and cities – most closely reflected that 10.1-point Biden margin, and which were furthest away from it. Here are two graphics and key takeaways:

  • The first thing that really jumped out at me – although it wasn’t surprising, it was still striking – was how many small-population, mostly rural counties in SW Virginia were about as “red” as you can get, and also about as far away from the 10.1-point Biden victory as you can get.
  • For instance, Biden lost Bland County by 68.2 points, which is a massive 78.3 points below Biden’s 10.1-point statewide win. Similar to Bland County, we have Scott County (77.9 points below Biden’s statewide win), Buchanan County (77.7 points below Biden’s statewide win), Tazewell County (77.3 points below Biden’s statewide win), Russell County (73.7 points below Biden’s statewide win), etc. In short, these deep-“red,” rural counties in SW Virginia are about as far from Virginia overall when it comes to the 11/3 election results as you can get. These are, more broadly, among the “reddest” parts of America, where Democratic voters today make up a shrinkingly small fraction of the electorate.
  • We see some of this in “blue” jurisdictions as well. The most pro-Biden jurisdiction in Virginia was Petersburg, which voted by 77.5 points for Biden (66.4 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win). The next most pro-Biden jurisdiction was Charlottesville (62.6 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win), followed by Richmond City (57.9 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win), Falls Church (54.0 points  higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win), Arlington County (53.4 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win), and Alexandria (52.5 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win).
  • A few other big “blue” jurisdictions include: Norfolk (35.5 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win), Hampton (32.1 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win), Fairfax County (31.8 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win) and Portsmouth (30.7 points higher than Biden’s statewide, 10.1-point win).

  • Which Virginia jurisdictions came closest to Biden’s 10.1-point statewide win? As you can see below, they were all “blue” (voted for Biden) jurisdictions, which in and of itself is both unsurprising and also striking, in terms of (asymmetric?) political polarization and possibly partisan sorting, as Virginia moves increasingly towards “blue”-state status.
  • Staunton, which Biden won by 9.9 points, came the closest to matching Biden’s 10.1-point, statewide victory margin. Northampton County, which Biden won by 10.6 points, was next closest; followed by Radford (1.1 points lower than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Winchester (1.4 points higher than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Sussex County (1.8 points higher than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Surry County (1.8 points lower than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Chesterfield County (3.4 points lower than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Chesapeake (3.7 points than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Montgomery County (4.4 points lower than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Prince Edward County (4.5 points lower than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); Virginia Beach (4.7 points lower than Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin); etc.
  • The bottom line is that there’s a LOT of partisan polarization in Virginia, although it certainly isn’t symmetrical, with the “reddest” jurisdictions SUPER “red,” with many “blue” counties also “blue” by wide margins, with only a dozen jurisdictions coming with 5 percentage points of Biden’s 10.1-point statewide margin.
  • In other words, to a large extent in Virginia, you’re either VERY “red” or VERY “blue,” with that trend appearing to be even more pronounced on the “red” side. Of course, given that the “blue” areas tend to be the ones growing in population, that doesn’t particularly bode well for Republican statewide candidates going forward…

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