Young men point at an electoral college map at an event at Lulu Bar on November 04, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand hosted by the United States Embassy and the NZ U.S Council to watch the results of the 2020 U.S election come through. on November 04, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Lynn Grieveson | Newsroom | Getty Images
It looks like the Blue Wall held this time.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will carry Michigan and Wisconsin, two of the states that propelled President Donald Trump to the White House four years ago, according to NBC News projections.
Those expected wins leave Biden with 253 electoral votes, just shy of the 270 he needs to win the 2020 presidential election. All eyes have turned to the 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, a state too close to call as it tallies its final ballots.
Democrats saw reclaiming the Midwest as their clearest path to denying Trump a second term. Fueled by a strong performance in rural areas, Trump carried both Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016 in the first wins there for a Republican since 1988.
Preliminary, unofficial results show Biden could flip as many as four counties across the two states that Trump won in 2016. His success in turning narrow Democratic losses four years ago into close wins this week came from running ahead of Hillary Clinton in key counties.
In Michigan, Biden leads by roughly 147,000 votes, or 2.6 percentage points. Trump carried the state by just under 11,000 votes in 2016.
Success for Democrats in Michigan starts with the state’s most populous city, Detroit. Biden’s margin of about 37 percentage points in Wayne County, where Detroit sits, is about the same as Clinton’s was in 2016. Still, he saw a margin of victory of more than 320,000 votes in the county.
Measured by how much he improved on Clinton’s 2016 margins, Biden fared better elsewhere. In Oakland County, in Detroit’s suburbs, he performed 6 percentage points better — good for about a 55,000-vote swing.
In Washtenaw County, which includes the college town of Ann Arbor, he outperformed Clinton by about 5 percentage points, or roughly 23,000 votes. In both Ingham — which includes the state capital, Lansing, and another college town, in East Lansing — and Kalamazoo counties, Biden saw a shift of more than 5 percentage points or 10,000 votes.
Wisconsin looks like a closer race than Michigan. Biden leads by about 20,000 votes there, compared with Trump’s roughly 23,000-vote margin of victory in 2016.
The state’s most populous city, Milwaukee, gave Biden a major boost. He picked up about 69% of the vote in Milwaukee County, versus Clinton’s 66%, and gained roughly 20,000 net votes.
Biden saw major gains in Dane, the home of the state capital, Madison, and the University of Wisconsin. He improved on Clinton’s margin there by about 5 percentage points, or roughly 35,000 votes.
Biden also saw an improvement of about 5 percentage points, or more than 7,000 votes, in crucial Waukesha County, west of Milwaukee.