As you watch the results roll in, you'll note that there's not much attention paid to the popular vote over the course of the night. That's because at this point it's all about the Electoral College and which candidate will make it to 270, a majority of the electoral votes that send the nominee to the White House come January. Even in the most lopsided of races, there tends to be some states that go for each — and this year, polling ended up being much closer than anyone expected and results more so. Some 31 states voted for Donald Trump, according to early estimates Wednesday morning, and some were part of Clinton's "Blue Wall."
Trump wound up with a projected 310 Electoral College votes. Of those, about 197 were considered to be leaning, safe, or certain for Trump going into Election Day, according to 270toWin.com. So he more than doubled his Electoral College take from what was certain beforehand. The number of states he picked up, on the other hand, was less crazy. Those safe or certain Electoral College votes amounted to the votes of 20 states. They were going to go for Trump no matter what.
Take Wyoming for example. The state hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1964 when Barry Goldwater was the Republican candidate. That year, Lyndon B. Johnson got the state's votes. Ever since, it has been red on the Electoral College map. And despite the close state of the race nationally with Clinton ahead, Trump was polling with about a 32-point to 40-point margin going into the election. FiveThirtyEight had given Trump a 99 percent chance of winning Wyoming, and he finished with 70 percent of the vote — a margin of 47 percentage points.
So those first 20 were a given. Then there were another four that were likely to go for him, followed by four true swing states. So getting to 28 is is not so shocking — it's 29, 30, and 31 that is blowing everyone's mind. You see, Clinton had 16 states that were considered safe for her, plus six that were leaning her way. Trump appears to have won at least two of them. Pennsylvania was considered to be leaning Clinton, as was Michigan. Both are now projected to fall for Trump. Pennsylvania has already been called by the Associated Press, and Michigan shows Trump ahead with 99 percent of the vote counted.
The polls weren't that close in those states. They were considered by most to be in the Clinton column, part of her 20 states and the "Blue Wall" that would keep Trump out of office. The swing states this year have been considered as many as Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. Clinton only won Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia. In the end, only Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and New Hampshire were truly up for grabs. Trump won them all.
The fact that Trump won all of these states, especially Wisconsin and Michigan, is a huge disappointment and shock for Clinton and her supporters. The more rural states are almost always in the Republican column while urban states tend to support the Democrats. It's the states that are a mixture of both, or heavy on suburbs that tend to come down the middle. Therefore Trump's impressive turnout in 20 of these 30 states isn't surprising at all, the next 8 isn't beyond belief, but it's states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and likely Michigan that are truly shocking.