Trump has underperformed House GOP candidates more in places he has won

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During testimony before the House Select Committee investigating the attack on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) dismissed a series of inaccurate allegations about voter fraud that had been promoted by Donald Trump. But his most effective reply is also the most succinct.

“What happened in the fall of 2020 was 28,000 Georgians skipped the presidential race and yet they voted against in other races,” Raffensperger told the House panel. “Republican members of Congress ended up getting 33,000 more votes than President Trump. And that’s why President Trump failed.

This is a simple but often overlooked point. Trump has often pointed to the fact that he lost the presidency even as Republicans did better than expected in House races as evidence that votes for him were suppressed or votes for Joe Biden were boosted by fraud. But Raffensperger gets a simpler answer: Trump was simply less popular than the other Republican candidates.

It’s a simpler answer…and it’s a demonstrable answer with data.

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Presidential votes are generally not tallied by House district, leaving such analyzes to third parties. In recent presidential cycles, this has been done by Daily Kos, which determines how votes overlap with House boundaries. We can compare these results with the district-by-district results in home races compiled by Cook Political Report.

In 2020, Trump garnered over 74 million votes nationwide. Republican House candidates got about $73 million. But when we compare those numbers at the district level, we find that in most House districts, Republican candidates (both winners and losers) got more votes than Trump, 227 to 208. In nearly every district where the House candidates outperformed Trump, they also did better in the voting margin. In nearly a third of the districts where Trump got more votes, however, the Republican House candidate had a better margin than the president — meaning he won by more or lost by less. Because Biden got more votes than Democratic House candidates in 337 districts.

We can plot these vote totals as a direct comparison. On the graph below, the dots above the line are the districts in which Trump received more votes than Republican House candidates. (The gray dots above the line are where the House candidate still performed better within the voting margin.) The dots below the line are where the House candidate still performed better within the voting margin. House got more votes.

(There are a number of House districts in which Democrats and Republicans ran mostly or literally uncontested; they sit near the left and right sides of the chart.)

You’ll notice that the districts in which more votes were cast were more likely to be those in which Trump got fewer votes. If we recolor the dots to show which presidential candidate received more votes in the district, we see that many districts where House candidates received more votes than Trump are districts he actually won.

This is indeed the case. Trump won about two-thirds of the ridings in which he was outscored by Republican House candidates and won about one-fifth of the ridings in which he outscored his party’s House candidate.

Overall, Trump won about 64% of the districts in which his voting margin was worse than that of Republican House candidates. In other words, if his theory that House Republicans were doing better than him because of fraud was true, that fraud somehow led to him winning nearly two-thirds of those districts.

In fact, Trump got 712,000 fewer votes than Republican candidates in the ridings he won. In the districts he lost, he got 2.1 million After votes. Funny fraud!

Just to keep beating that dead horse, there were 27 states in which Trump got more votes than the House GOP candidates. In 18 of them, Biden won. In the states Trump has won, he has received about 140,000 more votes than his party’s House candidates. In the states he lost, he got 1.2 million more. Funny fraud!

Look, there’s no reason to take Trump’s fraud claims seriously. He’s been making them — and tweaking them, updating them, and overhauling them — for 20 months now, and they’re no stronger than they’ve ever been.

But Raffensperger’s point is clear and concise. The idea that Trump underperformed House candidates because of fraud is obviously not true. His problem was that many Americans, including many Republicans in heavily Republican areas, did not want to vote for him.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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