The journey to the requisite 270 electoral votes for the Presidency wasn’t finished until the early morning hours on November 9th. As the numbers were tabulated for presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald J. Trump (R), there was a point in which the pundits questioned whether Minnesota was “in play” to add to Trump’s growing tally.
As Minnesota is a historically “Blue” state, having not elected a Republican president since Richard Nixon in 1972, and being the only state not to vote for Ronald Reagan in his historic landslide election of 1984, the idea that it might flip “red” seemed unlikely.
How close did Trump come to flipping Minnesota red?
The election results show a Presidential race separated by fewer than 43,000 votes between Clinton and Trump according to the Minnesota Secretary of State website. The 2016 Minnesota voter total was 3,270,578. Of those votes, Clinton won 46.41% or 1,363,751; Trump received 1,321,015 votes for 44.96%. The top three alternate party candidates, Jill Stein (Green), Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Evan McMullin (Independent) took a combined 202,716 votes, with Johnson gaining more than half of that total. (See chart below.)
As shown by the maps comparing 2008, 2012, and 2016 (above), Minnesota has grown progressively more “red” with each presidential election. In 2008, there were fewer total voters: 2,921,147, of which President Obama won 1,573,354 (54.06%) to John McCain’s 1,275,409 (43.82%).
In 2012, the percentage of voters supporting Governor Mitt Romney was identical to the vote percentage Trump received on Nov. 8, 2016: 44.96% (1,320,225) with 3,084,025 Minnesota voters total. President Obama defeated Romney in Minnesota by 225,942 votes: 1,546,167 voters reelected Obama for a second term with 52.65%.
The 2016 mock election by Minnesota High School students gave Trump the win with a small margin of victory. As Alpha News reported, the results from the mock election showed that the students in outstate Minnesota were more likely to vote for Trump than they were for Clinton, closely mirroring the election night results.
Hillary Clinton won Minnesota with a 1.45% margin of victory, the narrowest margin in the last 20 years. In 2000, Al Gore (D) edged out George W. Bush (R) by 2.4%.