By Jim Ellis
Feb. 11, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections researchers are converting the 2020 presidential returns into congressional district totals, as they have successfully done in past election years. This allows us to compare the 2020 voting patterns with those from four years ago. Doing so reveals some interesting conclusions.
As you can see from the chart below of all 27 New York congressional seats, the patterns are striking, and while former President Trump met and exceeded his projected vote goals within his worst performing districts in New York City, he underperformed by similar ratios in the regions that should have been his strongest.
The NY congressional delegation is split 19-8 in the Democrats’ favor. When comparing the districts that President Joe Biden and former President Trump each won, we see that they match almost identically to the partisan choices those electorates made for the House of Representatives.
There is one exception, however, in addition to a pair of districts that Trump carried in 2016 but switched to President Biden in 2020. The Syracuse-anchored congressional seat that Republican John Katko (R) represents is the only New York district that split its presidential and congressional vote.
While Biden was carrying the CD with a nine-point margin, a net 3.6 percent Democratic improvement from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 result in this 24th District, Rep. Katko was re-elected to a fourth term with a 52-42 percent margin over college professor Dana Balter (D), his 2018 opponent who returned for a re-match. The result was a net four-point improvement for the GOP incumbent from 2018 his victory.
The two seats Trump won in 2016 that switched to President Biden in 2020 are the 18th and 19th Districts, those of Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring/Peekskill) and Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) — CDs that bridge the city districts with those in the upstate region.
As the chart below shows, the striking point is that the net gains or losses in almost every 2020 district when compared to 2016 is almost opposite of what an analyst would have predicted. Former President Trump underperformed on Long Island as well as upstate, areas where he should have shown greater strength; and he over-performed in all of the New York City districts.
Trump lost the NYC seats by substantial margins, a heavily minority region, but his improvement ranged from a net 0.5 percent in Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-Manhattan) Silk Stocking district to 15.5 percent in the Bronx CD of freshman Rep. Ritchie Torres (D). Four years ago, the latter NY-15 CD was the former president’s worst-performing district in the entire country.
These particular results show that despite the media image of Trump being America’s most racist president, the numbers generally depict clear improvement among people of color in New York State.
The explanation for his lesser performance on Long Island and upstate traces back to a familiar Trump 2020 problem: performing worse among women, those aged 65 years and older, in addition to right-of-center unaffiliated and minor party voters. It was his failure to equal his 2016 performance with these voting segments that cost him his re-election victory.
As we look at other numbers from across the country, we will see the patterns uncovered in New York also becoming prevalent in most other regions.
|INCUMBENT||BIDEN ’20||CLINTON ’16||TRUMP ’20||TRUMP ’16||NET|
|1 – ZELDIN||47.3||42.2||51.5||54.5||8.1|
|2 – GARBARINO||47.4||43.9||53.0||51.6||2.1|
|3 – SUOZZI||54.7||51.6||44.3||45.5||4.6|
|4 – RICE||55.6||53.4||43.4||43.8||2.6|
|5 – MEEKS||83.3||85.7||16.2||12.7||5.9|
|6 – MENG||61.8||65.1||37.4||32.1||8.6||7 – VAZQUEZ||81.8||84.6||16.5||13.5||4.4|
|8 – JEFFRIES||82.9||86.9||17.3||10.4||12.0|
|9 – CLARKE||81.4||83.5||17.8||14.4||5.5|
|10 – NADLER||76.1||78.3||22.9||18.8||6.3|
|11 – MALLIOTAKIS||44.3||43.8||54.8||53.6||0.7|
|12 – MALONEY, C.||84.1||83.3||14.8||13.5||0.5|
|13 – ESPAILLAT||88.1||92.3||11.2||5.4||10.0|
|14 – OCCASIO-CORTEZ||73.3||77.7||25.9||19.8||10.5||15 – TORRES||86.5||93.8||13.1||4.9||15.5|
|16 – BOWMAN||75.3||75.1||23.8||22.5||1.1|
|17 – JONES||59.6||58.6||39.4||38.4||0.0|
|18 – JONES||51.8||47.1||46.8||49.0||6.9|
|19 – DELGADO||49.8||44.0||48.3||50.8||8.3|
|20 – TONKO||59.3||54.0||38.7||40.5||7.1|
|21 – STEFANIK||43.8||40.0||54.2||53.9||3.5|
|22 – TENNEY||43.3||39.3||54.7||54.8||3.9|
|23 – REED||43.3||39.7||54.6||54.5||3.5|
|24 – KATKO||53.4||48.9||44.4||45.3||3.6|
|25 – MORRELLE||60.1||55.5||37.8||39.1||5.9|
|26 – HIGGINS||62.6||57.6||35.6||38.0||7.4|
|27 – JACOBS||41.1||35.2||56.8||59.7||8.8|