A closer look at Biden’s win over Trump in Maryland offers insight into state’s political landscape
By Sean McGoey and Adam Marton
Capital News Service|
Dec 09, 2020 at 9:43 AM
It would not be an exaggeration to call President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Maryland a landslide. Biden won the state by more than 30 points, and The Associated Press called the state for the former vice president the minute polls closed on Election Day (nearly 90% of Maryland’s votes were cast early or by mail).
Biden won a commanding victory at the local level, as well. More than half of Maryland’s 1,991 precincts were won by margins of at least 50 points, according to data from the State Board of Elections. Biden was the victor in 907 of them, while President Donald Trump won just 99 such precincts.
Capital News Service’s analysis of precinct-level election data offers some other notable insights into the state of Maryland politics in 2020. See this shaded map of Maryland precincts to explore precinct-level voting data in Maryland.
Both candidates were able to make some inroads into opposing territory, with Biden winning nearly 24% of precincts in counties that voted for Trump overall and Trump winning 14% of precincts in counties where Biden was victorious.
But whether Democratic voters were casting their ballots for Biden or against Trump, their enthusiasm was reflected in large margins of victory for the former vice president. Trump’s margin in the precincts he won was 26 points (63-37), while Biden won precincts by an average of 56 points (78-22).
Trump’s biggest stronghold was Garrett County, which he won by nearly 60 points. Maryland’s westernmost county has the state’s smallest Black population (301, according to the 2010 census — just 1% of the county’s population). Biden failed to win a single precinct in Garrett, Caroline or Queen Anne’s counties.
Meanwhile, Biden won commanding victories in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, Maryland’s two majority-Black jurisdictions. Biden won both areas with around 90% of the vote, and Trump took just five out of a possible 571 precincts.
All five of those precincts were around the outer edges of Baltimore City: one near the heavily white, working-class Dundalk community; two in the Orangeville area east of McElderry Park; and two in the northwestern part of the city, where heavily Orthodox Jewish communities likely boosted the president to victory in those areas.
Biden also topped the president in some of the larger cities in otherwise Republican-dominated areas: Chestertown (Kent County), Cumberland and Frostburg (Allegany County), Hagerstown (Washington County) and Salisbury (Wicomico County) — many of which are home to college campuses.
The former vice president’s strength in Chestertown helped flip Kent County Democratic for the first time since 2008, by a final margin of just 14 votes. Frederick County flipped blue in 2020, as well, after supporting Trump by 2.4 points in 2016.
Trump performed well in parts of some counties that Biden carried, though: He won precincts in Gambrills and Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County; working-class enclaves in Baltimore County, like Parkville and Dundalk, and some of the more rural precincts in the northern part of Montgomery County, around Damascus.
And in one of the more peculiar developments of the election, there were 13 precincts where the winner was decided by just one vote. Trump won 12 of them. The exception? Allegany County Precinct 26-000, the home of Frostburg State University.