In Iowa, voters went out strongly in favor of President Donald Trump, and the president retained power in every district, which he colored red in 2016.
In 2016, Iowa voters changed 31 districts from blue to red. And one, Howard County, was the only county in America to elect Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump with at least 20 points.
The 31 pivot counties, which make up about 26 percent of the state’s total population, helped Trump win the 10-point victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who won only five counties.
Looking ahead to election night, Dennis Goldford, professor of political science at Drake University, told Washington Newsday that Trump would win the state if he maintained his lead in the swing counties. But if that margin were to narrow, it would open the door for Biden to win Iowa and the six votes it would bring from the electoral college.
Unofficial results from the Secretary of State gave Trump a victory over Biden with about 140,000 votes. Although the margin of his victory was smaller than 2016, Trump received about 90,000 more votes in the Tuesday night election.
One of the reasons Trump was able to switch districts in Iowa in 2016 was because voters did not like Clinton and wanted to give a political outsider a chance, Tim Hagle, professor of political science at the University of Iowa, told Washington Newsday.
Four years later, Hagle wondered whether floating voters still supported Trump or whether Biden’s Catholic background as a laborer was enough to get her back on the Democratic side.
The final votes are still counted, but Trump’s first term proved sufficient for him to win elections in the 31 pivot counties and throughout the state starting in 2016.
Fifteen of the 31 counties, a majority that Trump turned over in 2016, were in Congressional District 1. In the elections, Republican voter registration in that district drew not only Democrats but also non-party voters. A position that is familiar to Republicans, as was the case in 2016.
What may have looked like an electoral deficit did not prove an obstacle to Trump’s reelection chances, as he won a victory in all 15 swing counties in Congressional District 1.
Voters in Howard, a district in Congressional District 1, relied on Trump’s ability to keep the rural 9,300-person district red. Even Laura Hubka, the leader of the local Democratic Party, hoped to cut off just a few points on the margin and not turn the district back to blue. In September, when she spoke to Washington Newsday, she said that the district has been supporting Trump more strongly since 2016. “Everyone seems to have a flag,” she added.
“Trump has talked more about farmers than any other president as long as I live,” Aaron Schatz, a farmer who voted for Obama twice and then for Trump, told Washington Newsday. “He is trying to do things to help us in the middle of the country. He’s not saying that it’s always worked out the way we wanted it to, or the way he wanted it to, but at least he’s talking about it and wants us to succeed.
After Convention District 1, Convention District 2 had the second highest number of swing districts in 2016. The Republicans once again had fewer registered voters than the Democrats, although they filled the gap by about 2,000 voters.
In Congressional Districts 3 and 4, where Trump turned over only six districts in 2016, the Democrats were ahead with voter registration in the former and the Republicans in the latter. In the 2020 elections, Republicans had more registered voters in both districts.
Before election day this year, Trump had an average lead of 1.5 percentage points over Biden, and both parties were confident that their candidate would conquer the state. Preya Samsundar, communications director of the GOP in Iowa and Minnesota, told Washington Newsday in September that she could think of no “single issue” that would make voters choose Biden.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Mark Smith, however, saw Trump as a president who broke “every promise” he had made to Iowans and considered Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan a motivator for people to vote democratically.
Ultimately, Iowans decided that Trump was in office for another four years, giving him a victory in a state that would help him on his way to reelection.