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If you’re looking for something constant and unchanging in these uncertain times, you could do worse than the presidential electorate in Ohio.
After four years of bitter political fights, hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending, and a pandemic, the election result in Ohio looks an awful lot like it did in 2016.
We’re not talking about just the bottom-line results of 2016 and 2020. The geographic distribution of votes for the Republican and Democratic candidates is also uncannily similar when we separate counties by their metro and rural status.
At the top of the story is our standard look at the metropolitan and urban vote for 2020 in Ohio. The red bars indicate an increase in support for Trump as voters get farther from the core counties of large metropolitan areas.
Trump rolled up a win with heavy support from small-city and rural voters, much like he did in 2016.
To compare the two races, we graphed the share of Trump’s vote in each of our county categories for the 2016 race against Hillary Clinton and the 2020 Trump/Biden matchup. Trump did identically or better in every category. He got slightly ahead of 2016 as counties became more rural.
Increased turnout was split relatively evenly between Trump and Biden. Trump had 233,000 more votes this year than in 2016. Biden had 210,000 more votes than Clinton had in 2016. Biden picked up an advantage of 53,000 votes compared to Trump in core counties of major metros. But Trump erased that advantage with a similar gain in rural counties. Trump gained votes from increased turnout in every type of county except major metros.