How did Joe Biden win Wisconsin?

  1. Not by flipping the 22 counties which Trump won from Obama in 2016.

Joe Biden won only two counties taken by Trump in 2016:

CountyObamaRomneyClintonTrumpBidenTrump
Door52.95%45.96%45.55%48.77%50.00%48.60%
Sauk58.68%40.21%46.85%47.20%50.00%48.40%

The vote change in the remaining 20 counties which Trump had won from Obama in 2016:

An Average increase in Trump’s margin of victory by 15.87 percentage points.

  • Biden performed better in Democratic counties than Clinton did in 2016.
  • Had a 2.62 percentage point better margin of victory than Clinton in 2016
  • Had a 9.03 percentage point worse margin of victory than Obama in 2012
  • For Clinton she had a 11.65 percentage point worse margin of victory than Obama in 2012
County:Biden Margin Victory Percentage PointsDifference to 2016 Percentage PointsDifference to 2012 Percentage Points
Ashland10.90-0.59-19.91
Bayfield14.205.57-10.60
Dane52.805.479.27
Douglas9.301.78-21.96
Eau Claire10.803.51-2.72
Green3.200.94-14.14
Iowa13.80-1.35-16.66
La Crosse13.504.04-3.74
Menominee64.708.50-8.79
Milwaukee40.003.103.96
Portage2.80-0.38-11.08
Rock11.200.89-11.98
  • Counties that voted Romney in 2016 and then Trump in 2016 and again in 2020 remained largely static.
  • Trump had a 15.61 percentage point better margin that Romney in 2012
  • Trump had a -0.06 percentage point worse margin than his performance in 2016
County:Trump ’20 Margin VictoryDifference to 16Difference to 12
Barron26.100.8523.66
Brown7.20-3.525.41
Burnett28.500.3422.00
Calumet19.60-1.938.06
Chippewa20.401.3120.13
Clark36.904.4927.91
Dodge31.001.5916.50
Florence46.00-0.4219.63
Fond du Lac26.500.1811.57
Green Lake35.90-1.5215.34
Iron22.50-0.4522.34
Jefferson15.30-0.587.71
Kewaunee32.704.9227.32
Langlade32.500.8120.68
Manitowoc23.201.8520.39
Marathon18.100.0712.01
Marinette34.501.5030.95
Monroe23.701.8522.88
Oconto41.004.3631.55
Oneida14.80-3.8912.65
Outagamie10.00-2.578.19
Ozaukee12.10-6.77-18.21
Pierce13.00-0.4412.23
Polk27.40-0.0618.44
Rusk34.801.0430.92
Shawano36.302.4726.33
Sheboygan15.90-0.026.08
St Croix15.90-2.493.80
Taylor46.502.3127.18
Vilas21.90-3.058.91
Walworth19.20-0.556.86
Washburn23.800.3721.08
Washington38.10-2.14-2.03
Waukesha20.90-5.76-13.55
Waupaca31.802.0722.42
Waushara34.102.0023.91
Wood19.300.0616.42
  • Percentage points have more impact in the more populous counties. Out of Wisconsin’s ten most populous counties, none changed hands. But of those Trump won in 2016, he had a smaller margin of victory by -2.18 percentage points on average. Of those Biden won that Clinton had in 2016, he had a larger margin of victory by 6.53 percentage points on average. Trump’s performance in these counties is significantly worse than in others, and for Biden significantly better.
CountyPopulationResultChange from 2016
Milwaukee County945,726Obama – Clinton – BidenB +3.10
Dane County546,695Obama – Clinton – BidenB +15.61
Waukesha County404,198Romney – Trump – TrumpT -5.76
Brown County264,542Romney – Trump – TrumpT -3.52
Racine County196,311Obama – Trump – TrumpT -0.28
Outagamie County187,885Romney – Trump – TrumpT -2.57
Winnebago County171,907Obama – Trump – TrumpT -3.34
Kenosha County169,561Obama – Trump – TrumpT +2.79
Rock County163,354Obama – Clinton – BidenB +0.89
Washington County136,034Romney – Trump – TrumpT -2.14

Overall analysis of these counties:

 OverallIn Ten Most Populous Counties
Biden Margin Victory compared to 20162.62 percentage points6.53 percentage points
Trump Margin Victory Compared to 2016-0.06 percentage points-2.18 percentage points
  • What does this all reveal? A polarised America.

Even within of one of the few states that changed hands this election, there was little movement in most of Wisconsin’s counties. This reflects just how polarised between the two parties America remains. Biden was victorious because he performed slightly better than Hilary Clinton in mainly Democratic counties, and extended Democratic leads in some of the area’s most populous counties.