EXPLAINER: Why AP called Virginia for Biden


CORRECTS MONTH TO NOVEMBER Voters cast their ballots under a giant mural at Robious Elementary school in Midlothian, Va., Tuesday Nov. 3, 2020. Poll workers said that traffic was slow due to all the early voting in the precinct. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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The AP declared Democratic nominee Joe Biden the winner of Virginia at 7:31 p.m. EST, after results from early returns and an AP survey of the electorate showed the former vice president had beaten President Donald Trump in the state.

With about 53% of the vote counted statewide at 11:00 p.m., completed counts in a representative selection of precincts in communities across Virginia showed Biden comfortably ahead of Trump.

Those results matched data from AP VoteCast and an analysis of early voting statistics. The survey found Biden with a substantial lead in the state. VoteCast, the AP’s wide-ranging survey of the American electorate, captures voters’ choices and why they made them.

Trump jumped out to an early lead in Virginia because many Republican counties reported their results first. But much of the remaining ballots left to be counted were cast in population-dense Democratic areas near Washington D.C., including Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Virginia was once solidly Republican, with President George W. Bush winning there as recently as 2004. But explosive growth in northern Virginia’s Washington, D.C., suburbs has led to an influx of increasingly diverse and Democratic-leaning voters who have helped tip the balance of power.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won Virginia by more than 5 points in 2016. The state has a Democratic governor. And in 2019, Democrats took control of both chambers of the Legislature for the first time in decades.

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