Electoral map shuffle: Could migrating Americans decide the 2020 election?

Experts say a migration to the suburbs may alter voting patterns in key swing states

The voting outcome in some key swing states this November may be decided by migrating Americans, a new study argues.

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The coronavirus pandemic accelerated an ongoing move away from densely populated metro areas, which tend to skew Democratic, towards suburban areas that have traditionally been more Republican.

Realtor.com researchers claim that this inflow of urban residents could shift momentum toward Biden in November in some areas where President Trump narrowly defeated Democratic contender Hillary Clinton in 2016.

"There’s no doubt people are moving out of some of these higher-tax states, like California and New York, [and into states] where homes are more affordable, taxes are lower, and jobs more plentiful,” Jonathan Bydlak, interim director of the governance program at think tank the R Street Institution, told researchers. “That obviously has electoral complications."

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The research looked at where homebuyers were looking for homes between August 2017 and August 2020, and assumed a political affiliation among potential movers proportional to the distribution recorded in respective counties of origin during the 2016 election.

The analysis concluded that four key swing states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan – could lean toward Biden this November if homebuyers who were looking at homes followed through on their purchases.

Florida

As previously reported by FOX Business, residents from the Northeast – including states like New York and New Jersey – fled to Florida in droves throughout recent months.

In addition to that pair of states, researchers said Illinois and California also saw an outsized outflow of residents to Florida.

Georgia, which tends to lean red, was another big state that lost residents to Florida with interest in Florida coming primarily from blue counties in the neighboring state, according to Realtor.com.

That mix of inbound residents could shift the state 0.7% toward the Democrats. But combined with the fact that 0.9% of Florida residents were potentially looking to leave the Sunshine State, researchers postulate that the state could swing toward Biden.

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Michigan

The biggest share of out-of-state home searches in Michigan came from Ohio, Illinois, California, Georgia and Florida – with the highest share of searches from red states originating from individuals located in blue counties, according to the study.

Pennsylvania

Four of five states from which residents were searching most heavily for properties in Pennsylvania throughout the past three years were Democratic-leaning, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin had the most interest from residents from Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Iowa and California, three of which are considered solidy blue states.

On the flip side, eight states that favored Clinton in 2016 saw an outpouring of interest from residents of conservative states.

However, people who have moved into red states may not necessarily vote Democratic simply because they come from a primarily blue county or state. It is also unclear that all of the people who were considering a move, did so.

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