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Trump topped Biden in 2020 primary vote turnout in key swing states like Florida, Ohio

The Trump campaign sees an enthusiasm and base intensity gap favorable for the president.

July 7, 2020 6:31pm

Updated: July 9, 2020 7:24pm

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While an imperfect predictive measure, President Trump defeated rival Joe Biden in 2020 primary vote turnout for key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, even after Biden had essentially sewn up his Democratic Party's nomination.

Citing the strong turnout for Trump in the primaries, his campaign sees an enthusiasm and base intensity gap favorable for the president, as the Democratic Party has been locked in fierce internecine battle dating back to at least the 2016 presidential race.

In Pennsylvania, Trump earned 934,524 votes this year, compared to 914,904 for Biden, according to the Associated Press. In Ohio, Biden earned 623,186 votes compared to a reported 682,843 for Trump.

In the supposed "blue wall" state of Wisconsin, Biden earned 581,611 votes compared to 616,705 for Trump, and though Democratic rival candidate Bernie Sanders earned 293,652 votes, those Sanders voters were not reliably loyal to the Democratic Party, as shown by 2016.

"In 2016, about 216,000 Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin voters backed the Vermont senator in the spring and Trump in the fall, according to an analysis of exit polling — well over twice the president's total margin of victory in those states, which were critical to his electoral vote win in the face of a decisive popular vote loss," reported NBC's Shannon Pettypiece.

In Florida, Trump won 1.163 million votes, compared to Biden's 1.077 million, although 397,091 Floridians voted for Sanders and 255,764 voted for other Democrats. Yet an ABC News/Washington Post poll found 15% of Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2020 supporters will vote for President Donald Trump's reelection, and 80% of Sanders' supporters said they would back Biden over Trump, leading to questions of whether many Sanders primary voters would stay home for the general election.

The Biden campaign did not respond to request for comment from Just the News.

"I think that there's a real excitement around the president," Boris Epshteyn, Trump 2020 campaign strategist and former Trump White House aide, told Just the News in an interview. "It's very important to report it correctly. And a lot of the media — overwhelming majority of the media — got it wrong in 2016. And they're doing it now."

The Trump campaign noted that the president attracted record-breaking support in 2020 primary election voting when compared to recent incumbent presidents of either party seeking re-election. Trump received more votes than former President Barack Obama did in 2012 (the year Obama ran for re-election) in 23 of the 27 states which have held primaries in both 2020 and 2012. In many cases, Trump received two or three times Obama's totals. Trump has also received more votes than former President George W. Bush when the Texan was seeking re-election in 2004.    

Trump also has historic support within his own party, so far winning more than two million more votes than his total in the 2016 primaries — a new record for the most votes ever cast for an incumbent president. Trump has also set dozens of records for votes cast for incumbent presidents in their respective state party primaries and has won more than 94% of all votes cast in the Republican primaries.

The Trump campaign also noted Biden’s vote share in Democratic primaries underwhelmed even after rival Sanders dropped out of the race. Despite being unopposed by any active candidates, Biden earned barely half of the vote in some contests. In his best primary, he received less than five of every six Democrat votes, with most states falling somewhere in between. Notably, one of the two primaries held in late June was almost as bad for Biden as his first one as the presumed nominee two-and-a-half months ago.

“Joe Biden is not excited about his own candidacy," Epshteyn said. "He doesn't have the stamina to run a campaign, let alone the presidency. And it takes a lot of stamina. And you look what President Trump's putting in, you know, 20-plus-hour days working for this country, achieving so much for this country. What's Joe Biden going to be able to do between his sleep and his naps and wondering about what day it is? And I'm not trying to make fun of the guy. You just compare Joe Biden, you compare Donald Trump. Which person would you want run running a county, let alone a country, right? Joe Biden just doesn't have the stamina. He doesn't have the strength. He doesn't have the alacrity. He doesn't have what it takes to be president.”