Why was California deemed to be democratic win when only 77 percent of votes tallied?

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3 Answers 3


The remaining votes (23%) are not enough to swing the vote in Trump's favor.

votesCast = 8,180,018 (D) + 4,152,425 (R) = 12,332,443

votesExpected = 1.23*votesCast = 15,168,904.89  

remainingVotes = votesExpected-votesCast = 2,836,461.89

currentLead = 8,180,018 - 4,152,425 = 4,027,593

Even if Trump wins 100% of the remaining votes in California (extremely unlikely) to win the state, this is still less than the lead Biden has.

  • 1
    Just created my account to point out that you made a mistake. The remaining votes as per the picture are 23%, not 33%. The argument is correct none the less (+1).
    – Nacorid
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 13:26
  • Oops, sorry, thanks for the clarification. I fixed the calculation. :)
    – Kiril
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 13:39

This question should be closed as a duplicate, but in case it isn't,

The infamous picture of President Truman holding a Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper with the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman"

You will not find any articles about President Dewey because Dewey did not defeat Truman. It was Harry Truman who defeated Thomas Dewey in the 1948 presidential election. Declarations by news organizations about winners and losers are not official.

In the case of California in the 2020 presidential election, the Associated Press, along with several other news organizations, declared that California had voted for Mr. Biden the instant that polls closed in that state.


This is a press announcement. It is not legally binding. Of course it’s very embarrassing to make such an announcement and then it turns out you were wrong. Right now Alaska could theoretically go to Biden, but the chances for that are so slim that it is declared as “Republican win” and nobody minds. And California was so far ahead for Biden, it was safe to declare it for Biden without fear of later embarrassment.

Right now, there are five states that I wouldn’t dare to declare. And AP doesn’t dare either. And there’s a chance that one or two states would end up so close that a recount would be needed. (Entirely possible that Pennsylvania would end up with less than 10 votes difference).

  • The AP perhaps prematurely dared to declare Arizona for Biden. Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 12:26

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