Wisconsin was called up for Joe Biden on Wednesday afternoon and secured the former vice president a victory in an important swing state. Both CNN and the Associated Press called the state for Biden. NBC also predicted a victory for Biden in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is one of six key battleground states that political experts predicted would postpone the outcome of the presidential election in 2020.
In pre-election day polls, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appeared to have an electoral advantage over President Donald Trump among Wisconsin’s registered and likely voters – the state poll averages compiled by FiveThirtyEight estimated his lead to be more than eight points four days before election day.
Trump won the state of Wisconsin in 2016, but by a narrow margin: he won about 47.2 percent of the state’s electorate compared to the 46.5 percent of voters who voted for Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Another 3.6 percent of Wisconsin’s voters chose third candidate Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party in 2016.
In 2016, the Associated Press called Wisconsin to Trump early in the morning after Election Day, giving Trump the 270 votes needed to win the election. The AP called the presidency for Trump immediately after its call for Wisconsin.
The 10 votes from Wisconsin went to the Democratic presidential candidate each year from 1988 to 2012. The state favored Trump in 2016, although polls prior to that election showed that Clinton had a lead among the state’s registered voters. According to FiveThirtyEight’s projections for 2016, Clinton had an 83.5 percent chance of winning the state. The election analysis website said four days before Election Day that Biden had an 89 percent chance of winning the presidential election and a 94 percent chance of winning Wisconsin.
Due to Wisconsin’s decades-long history of consistently voting for the Democratic candidate in presidential elections, Clinton decided against campaigning in Wisconsin four years ago, while Trump visited the state several times in the months leading up to the election. Biden took a different approach than Clinton throughout his campaign, paying close attention to the states of the Midwest, as Trump did.
Both candidates visited Wisconsin on the Friday before election day for campaign events to rally their supporters and encourage voters who had not yet cast their votes to do so before the 8 p.m. deadline on election day.
Like many states in this election cycle, Wisconsin reported record early turnout in the weeks leading up to Election Day. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, turnout two weeks before election day already exceeded the 2016 levels reported, and data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project indicates that election officials in most districts had already received 70 percent or more of the postal ballots requested by voters. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on October 26 that no postal ballot received in Wisconsin after 8:00 p.m. on election day could be counted, resulting in last-minute pressure on election officials to encourage postal voters who had not yet submitted their ballots to hand them in personally.
This is an evolving story and will be updated as more information becomes available.