New York State's Board of Elections published its certified results on Thursday, allowing us to get a look at how each county in the state voted in person or by mail. With the exception of Staten Island, where only 42% of the vote went for President-elect Joe Biden, the other counties that comprise the rest of New York City voted for him by huge margins: 86% in Manhattan, 82% in the Bronx, 76% in Brooklyn, and 72% in Queens.
The surrounding suburban counties were a mix: Westchester was solidly blue, at 67%, Nassau was less so at 54%, and Suffolk, at least in the certified results (these results may be updated later), went for President Donald Trump, giving Biden only a 49% share.
Upstate counties were also varied, tending to tilt red in rural areas and blue in more urban counties, like Erie, home of Buffalo, or Tompkins, home to Ithaca and its high population of college students.
Similarly blue was Ulster County, which has seen recent gentrification from New York City residents moving there, and Albany County, home to our state capital.
Conversely, some of the reddest parts of the map are in low-population counties along the Southern Tier, such as Allegany County, where only 20,895 voted were recorded, as compared to nearby Erie, with 476,787 votes, and up north, where low-population Lewis County recorded only 13,036 votes and Biden only saw a 29% share.
Turnout increased across the entire state, as New Yorkers took advantage of early voting and relaxed rules on mail-in ballots. But there was variation between counties: for instance, in New York City, Staten Island saw its turnout increase by 20%, while Manhattan only saw an increase of 4%. It's possible that counties where turnout was already relatively high in 2016 would see smaller increases than counties where turnout was lower in that election, and there was more room to grow. Or, it's possible that the population in those counties that saw big increases this year was simply more motivated by the Trump vs. Biden race.
Now, when looking at both 2016 and 2020 data, most counties outside New York City saw a shift toward Biden over then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. This movement tends to be higher in the high population counties, but even rural counties shifted by a point or more towards the Democratic candidate.
In New York City, however, Biden actually lost a little ground over Clinton. In Manhattan, the effect was very small, with Biden taking just 0.04 points less than Clinton, but in Bronx, Biden saw a decrease of 5.6 points, from Clinton's 87.8% of the vote to his 82.2%. This could simply be the effect of an incumbent president with high name recognition increasing his turnout, as often happens during second term races, or it could represent some small slippage of the overwhelming domination of the Democratic party among voters in these boroughs.
Interestingly, in Staten Island, Biden actually gained a point over Clinton's performance.
Do you have any questions or observation about the official New York State results? Let us know!