Our project to calculate the 2020 presidential results for all 435 congressional districts nationwide hits Iowa, where Republicans had a strong year. You can find our complete data set here, which we’re updating continuously as the precinct-level election returns we need for our calculations become available.
Despite preelection polls showing a close race, Donald Trump won Iowa 53-45 over Joe Biden, which was only a small improvement for Democrats from Trump’s 52-42 victory in 2016 in what was once an extremely competitive state. Trump also once again carried all four of the Hawkeye State’s congressional districts (you can find a larger version of our map here), though there was one notable shift.
Trump captured the 3rd District in the Des Moines area only 49.1-49.0, which was decidedly weaker than his 49-45 showing in 2016. That move to the left may also have made all the difference for freshman Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne, who beat former Republican Rep. David Young 49-48 in a rematch of their 2018 battle.
Unfortunately for Team Blue, though, the 1st and 2nd Districts in eastern Iowa voted about the same in this year’s presidential race as they did in 2016. Indeed, both seats supported Trump 51-47 four years after they each backed him by an identical 49-45 spread. Republican state Rep. Ashley Hinson unseated freshman Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer 51-49 in the 1st District, while as of this writing, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks holds a six-vote lead over Democrat Rita Hart in the Democratic-held 2nd District to the south.
Trump also romped to a 63-36 victory in the 4th District in the western part of the state, which was similar to his 61-34 performance in 2016. This district hosted an unexpectedly close race in 2018 when white nationalist Rep. Steve King held off Democrat J.D. Scholten only 50-47. However, state Sen. Randy Feenstra unseated King in this year’s Republican primary, and Feenstra went on to defeat Scholten 62-38 in November.
Republicans also maintained control of Iowa’s state government, and if they decide to ignore decades of precedent, they’ll be able to draw themselves an even more favorable congressional map. Under state law, a nonpartisan agency proposes maps to the state legislature, but while lawmakers have always adopted them, the GOP now can simply reject the agency’s proposals and implement their own gerrymanders, or even repeal the statute that created the agency in the first place.