Coronavirus Impact Study: Political Leaning and COVID Cases by State

Update for the week (November 9, 2020):

  • When we first started this analysis in September, one inference from this graph series was that states on the Republican side of the aisle saw more cases than the Democratic side, likely a result of their prioritizing open economies over enforced mask-wearing or state-wide shutdowns. As summer turned into fall and is heading towards winter, almost all states are seeing an increase in cases regardless of political persuasion before the election.
    • What were considered “Lean Democrat” states before the election now have almost as high of a COVID rate as “Solid Republican” states. “Likely Democrat” states have about the same rates as Toss-Up states. “Likely Republican” and “Lean Democrat” states are seeing the fastest increase in COVID rates.
    • Last week, “Likely Republican” states had about 36 cases per 100,000. Now, that number is 46. “Lean Democrat” states are seeing an increase of similar magnitude.
    • North and South Dakota continue to have far higher COVID rates than any other state, sitting at about 155 and 131 cases per 100,000 respectively. The next highest state, Iowa, has about 87 cases per 100,000.
  • Maybe the biggest surprise of the election was the buckets used to characterize the state political leanings. In the run-up to the election, polling showed many states moving left. While Biden appears to have flipped key states to win, many other states moved strongly in the opposite direction.
    • Five out of the six toss-up states broke for Trump. Only Georgia, at the time of writing, was as close as a “toss up” would imply with the end result being within one percentage point. North Carolina was the second closest with a spread of 1.4 percentage points favoring Trump. The other six states weren’t much of a toss-up and strongly voted for Trump.
    • Biden was able to hold onto all “Lean Democratic” states even though many were closer than the states categorized as toss-ups. Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all had Biden winning by less than one percentage point over Trump at the time of writing.

The page will be updated weekly. 

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