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Highlights November 2020


The By-poll Results

By-polls were held in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, UP, Haryana, Telangana, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Nagaland. While in Madhya Pradesh, BJP won 19 out of the 28 seats it contested, in others it won 21 out of 25 seats it contested, making it an impressive by-poll performance.

State Total no. of seats contested No. of seats won Incumbents
Gujarat 8 BJP – 8; Congress – 0  
Uttar Pradesh 7 BJP – 6; Samajwadi Party – 1  
Jharkhand 2 JMM – 1; Congress – 1  
Manipur 4 BJP – 3; Independent (BJP-supported) – 1  
Karnataka 2 BJP – 2 –         JD(S) – 1, Congress – 1
Odisha 2 BJD – 2 –         BJD – 1

–         BJP – 1

Chhattisgarh 1 Congress – 1 –         Marwahi seat (reserved) – Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (AjitJogi’s party)
Nagaland 2 NDPP (BJP ally) – 1; Independent – 1 –         NDPP – 1

–         NPF – 1

Telangana 1 BJP –         TRS
Haryana 1 Congress –         Congress
Bihar 1 JD(U) – 1 –         JD(U)
Madhya Pradesh 28 BJP – 19,  Congress – 9 –         BJP – 1,

–         INC – 27


The by-election results show a clean sweep for the BJP across the country. The results in Madhya Pradesh were the most significant. Here 25 out of 28 seats on which by-elections were held were those that had witnessed revolt by the Congress MLAs against the Kamal Nath government. In 3 seats, MLAs had passed away. Except for the Agar seat, where the incumbent was BJP (who had died) and the winner was Congress, on all other seats, Congress had been the incumbent.

Except for Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, BJP performed well in all other states in the by-polls. Two particularly interesting states were UP and Telangana. In Telangana, the BJP candidate, Raghunandan Rao – one of the most prominent faces of the party in the state – won narrowly by 1100 votes. What is interesting about the Dubbaka seat in Telangana is that it has been a turf of TRS. Its neighbouring seats are Gajwel (represented by KCR), Siricilla (represented by KCR’s son, KTR) and Siddipet (represented by KCR’s nephew, T. Harish Rao).

The battle for the Dubbaka seat was fierce, as KCR deployed the entire state machinery to fight the BJP, even overseeing police raids on Raghunandan Rao’s house and lathicharging the BJP state President. The BJP was equally aggressive, with Raghunandan Rao having started the campaigning well before his name was even announced by the party. The BJP cadre in the state was also full of aggression.

TRS had already received a shock in Lok Sabha elections, as KCR’s daughter had lost to BJP from the Nizamabad seat, and BJP had also won the Karimnagar seat which was the turf of KTR. Only KCR’s powerful nephew, Harish Rao, was unbeatable. The changing political dynamics in Telangana had made the battle for Dubbak particularly fierce and of greater importance to BJP’s national leadership than other elections.

In UP, it was interesting the note that while BJP won 6 out of 7 seats that had gone to by-polls, 3 of those seats (Tundla (SC seat), Amroha, and Bulandshahr) were in western UP and neighbouringHathras – which had seen much national outrage and debate over the gangrape case and the subsequent questions and linkages exposed in it thereafter. The opposition had made the Hathras issue their campaigning point in these seats. In all three seats, the BJP won by large margins. In Tundla, almost 1/3rd voters were Dalits. In Bulandshahr, while BJP won by a margin of 21000 votes, BSP came second, Bhim Army came a distant third (with just 13,000 votes), while Congress came fourth. This seat has over 52000 JatavDalits and over 1.2 lakh Muslim voters. Despite good reception to Bhim Army rallies, its electoral performance remained poor.

UP’s by-polls in these three seats have come as a shock to the opposition, with the realization that their attempts to create caste conspiracy out of the Hathras case have failed miserably, with BJP performing handsomely even in the neighbouring Scheduled Caste seat. Ever since these results, neither the opposition nor the media has raised this issue.


US Election Results:

The United States Presidential results have finally been called, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden winning with 306 electoral votes (and a vote share of 51.3%) and Donald Trump securing 232 electoral votes (and a vote share of 47%).A candidate needs more than 270 electoral votes to win the election.

The voter turnout – at 66.4% – was the highest since 1900.

Battleground States:

In key battleground states, the competition was tough.

Key Battleground States % of votes won by Biden % of votes won by Trump No. of electoral votes
Arizona 49.4 49.1 11
Colorado 55.4 41.9 9
Florida 47.9 51.2 29
Georgia 49.5 49.3 16
Iowa 44.9 53.2 6
Michigan 50.6 47.8 16
Minnesota 52.4 45.3 10
Nevada 50.1 47.7 6
Pennsylvania 49.7 49 20
Ohio 45.2 53.3 18
North Carolina 48.6 50 15
Wisconsin 49.5 48.8 10


Trump won some important battleground states – Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia – which were won by Biden – the race was extremely close.

Other Important States:

Biden made narrow gains in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, thereby managing to flip the results in his favour. Trump won in the strongholds that he had already won last time, such as Idaho, Utah, Arkansas and Tennessee.

In 2016 elections, Trump had won Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia. Georgia and Arizona had not been won by the Democrats since 1990s, while Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania had always been Democrat strongholds, but had voted for Trump in 2016. In this election, they have again flipped towards Democrats.

Key Voting Patterns:

White voters:

Trump lost some ground with white voters, while making some progress in gaining support of non-college non-white voters. Trump lost among educated white men and women. Biden made gains among white voters – with 36% vote share among whites, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 32% in 2016. Thus, the Democrats’ made a 4-point swing among the educated white voters.

Hispanics and Blacks:

Trump increased his support among non-college educated non-white voters from 20% (in 2016) to 25% (in 2020). Trump made significant headway with Hispanic voters in key states like Florida and Texas. In Florida, the Cuban community voted for Trump by 55% compared to 42% for Biden. Compared to 2016 elections, the Latino vote shifted in favour of Trump by 8 percentage points nationally.

While Blacks voted overwhelmingly for Biden, there was a very slight shift in favour of Trump.

Social group 2016 (vote %) 2020 (vote %)
White men R- 62

D- 31

R- 61

D- 38

White women R- 52

D- 43

R- 55

D- 44

Black men R- 13

D- 82

R- 19

D- 79

Black women R- 4

D- 94

R- 9

D- 90

Latino men R- 32

D- 63

R- 36

D- 59

Latino women R- 25

D- 69

R- 30

D- 69

Other R- 31

D- 61

R- 38

D- 58

Source: Edison Research

*R = Republican

D = Democrat

The most marked was the dynamic of the Latino support for Trump and erosion in Democrats’ Hispanic base as reflected in Florida and Texas, which increased in 2020 elections. In Texas, three Latino counties in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, while still supporting Biden, all swung by 19+ points toward Trump compared to 2016. Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the small, 94% Hispanic Zapata County in Texas since 1920(Rothschild & Kight, 2020).


Age-wise outcomes:

In 2016, while younger voters had voted for Democratic Party, older voters had gone towards Trump. In 2020, while younger voters still voted for Biden, older voters were split between Biden and Trump.

Age Group (years) 2016 (vote share %) 2020 (vote share %)
18-29 Republican: 36

Democrat: 55

Republican: 36

Democrat: 60

30-44 Republican: 41

Democrat: 51

Republican: 46

Democrat: 52

45-64 Republican: 52

Democrat: 44

Republican: 50

Democrat: 49

65+ Republican: 52

Democrat: 45

Republican: 52

Democrat: 47

Source: Edison Research

In 2020, older voters (65+ years) made up a larger share of total voting population – around 22% – than in 2016 (around 6 percentage points more than in 2016). The Democrats beat Trump in almost all age groups in 2020, as compared to 2016, except the age group of 30-44 years(Hall & Gal, 2020).

Rural-Urban and Educational Voting Patterns:

While cities voted heavily for Biden, rural areas voted for Trump. The suburbs swung from Trump towards Biden in this election. While overall, rural areas voted more for Trump, yet there was a slight dip in his rural support compared to 2016, from 61% to 57%, while Biden gained 8 percentage points in rural areas and suburbs.

In terms of education, the higher the level of education, the more decline was there in Republican support. Trump gained 3 percentage points among voters who had never attended college.

Male-Female Voting Patterns:

Both, in 2016 and 2020, men voted more for Republicans, while women voted more for Democrats.

Democrats have gained among both men and women, even as Republicans’ share continues to be the same.

A Controversial Election:

The 2020 US Presidential election stood out due to many surprise elements. A record number of votes were cast through mail-in ballots and through in-person votes. While Democrats’ secured advantage in mail-in ballots and absentee voters, Republicans secured more advantage in in-person votes. More mail-in ballots were cast as compared to in-person votes.

As of November 23rd, the in-person votes cast were 35,811,062, while mail-inballots returned/accepted were 65,642,049(McDonald, 2020). These figures do not include certain states which do not make a distinction between in-person votes and mail-in ballots.

Donald Trump has refused to accept the election results as authentic, alleging an electoral fraud in mail-in ballots cast. He has alleged that many mail-in ballots were bogus or fake, due to double counting frauds, fake identities etc. His vast mass of supporters also took to the streets of Washington to hold massive protest rallies. His team had filed at least 7 lawsuits in various courts. However, with several of his lawsuits challenging the results not holding sway, his team has now begun preparing for transition of power.

The entire controversy reflected the speedy polarization of US politics and communities. The gap between 71 million people who voted for Trump and more than 80 million people who voted for Biden appears unbridgeable and increasingly hostile. The election process reflected how easy it is to discredit the current democratic process, whose inadequacies contain its own seeds of failure.

Current technology has made it easier to manipulate systems than ever before. The extent to which US elections – as the sitting President, his team and the rest of Republican party is doing – can be questioned will remain mysterious. However, the discontent with the current system is increasing by the day. As many observers have correctly concluded, Trump may have gone for now, but Trumpism is here to stay in the United States.


Agrawal, S. (2020, October 26). The Print. Retrieved from https://theprint.in/world/ban-islamophobia-pakistan-pm-imran-khan-complains-against-india-in-letter-to-facebook/530818/

ANN. (2020, October 28). Hindustan Times. Retrieved from https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/saudi-arabia-removes-pok-gilgit-baltistan-from-pakistan-s-map-activist-calls-move-diwali-gift-to-india/story-0vxoN0On4KpVYDMcOVllbJ.html

Hall, M., & Gal, S. (2020, November 19). Business Insider. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.in/politics/world/news/how-the-2020-election-results-compare-to-2016-in-9-maps-and-charts/slidelist/79290296.cms

McDonald, M. (2020, November 23). Retrieved from https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/index.html

Rothschild, N., & Kight, S. W. (2020, November 11). Axios. Retrieved from https://www.axios.com/election-biden-trump-demographics-639b6c8e-6e5c-43c8-962f-dca6a127c4ef.html

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