It probably won’t happen, but if it does, I want to be the first to call it. The election results right now in Illinois are very interesting. Republicans seem poised to flip at least one House district, with Jim Oberweis eeking out a win in the 14th. And Joe Biden’s comfortable lead in the presidential results might not be as secure as it seems. Let me explain.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Illinois by a comfortable margin–55.83% to 38.76%. Hillary got 3,090,729 total votes to Trump’s 2,146,015. This time, Trump is performing a lot better. As of this morning, he had 43% of the popular vote, with some downstate counties left unreported (the rural areas of Illinois are his strongholds). The four unreported counties are:
Trump won three of the four by large margins in 2016.
Biden will win Cook County handily, of course, but with 98% of precincts counted, Trump is already doing better there than in 2016. In 2016, he got 453,287 votes in Cook County. This time, he has 456,943 and counting. His percentage in Cook County in 2020 (so far) is at 26.1 vs 21.02 in 2016 because Biden is underperforming.
Illinois and Pennsylvania are similar in population size. If there’s a chance Biden could close the gap and possibly win Pennsylvania, why not Trump in Illinois? It wasn’t that long ago that Illinois elected a Republican governor.
Joe Biden’s lead in Illinois right now is slightly smaller in terms of raw numbers than Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania (635,082 vs 675,012). If Trump can pick up votes in downstate counties, he might have a chance to close the gap in the Prairie State.