In risky New Hampshire, Republicans have recaptured the legislature, though Biden gained a lot of the districts
Thanks to that 8-point margin, Biden won districts with 232 seats in the House of Representatives, while Donald Trump only had 168 seats. (New Hampshire uses a combination of districts with one or more members voting up to 11 representatives, with 204 counties total.) Despite this headwind, 50 Republicans won the Biden seats while only five Democrats took the Trump seats enforced.
In this day and age, it is extremely rare for one party to control a legislature even though the other party's presidential candidate wins a majority of the seats. One explanation for this unusual result is likely Republican Governor Chris Sununu, who secured a third two-year term in November in a landslide between 64 and 34 against Democrat Dan Feltes.
On the way to that victory, Sununu won an extraordinary 366 seats in the house to just 34 for his opponent. As a result, 153 Democrats sit in seats worn by Sununu, more than 80% of the caucus; Unsurprisingly, no Republicans occupy a Feltes lawn.
Take, for example, Hillsborough 19, a multi-member district that voted for a Democrat and a Republican: at 80-18, this was the governor's best district in the state – and yet for Biden 56-42 that is, the one both candidates were divided by an astonishing 76 points. On the flip side, the narrowest district between Biden and Sununu, the one-headed, democratically-held Cheshire 03, still saw them separated by a huge rift: Biden won them with 52-47, while Sununu won with 60-39 out of 26 points.
In total, nearly half of all seats in the House of Representatives – 198 total – split their tickets to Biden and Sununu, electing 148 Democrats and 50 Republicans. And 168 seats went for Trump and Sununu, with all but five Republicans elected, while all 34 Biden / Feltes seats supported the Democrats, as mentioned above.
The story was very similar in the Senate, which is one of the smallest in the country with just 24 members (the house, on the other hand, is twice the size of the next largest lower chamber). There, Republicans reversed the 2018 Democrats' 14-10 majority and took their own 14-10 majority. Biden carried 16 districts and Trump only eight, but Republican senators won six Biden districts. Sununu's performance was just as dominant with wins on 22 seats.
Political watchers have long known that the New Hampshire electorate is unusually resilient, and these new data only underscore that well-deserved reputation. But what happened here wasn't unique. We also saw it in last year's congressional election, where Biden ran in front of two-thirds of the Democratic candidates in both party races – and we'll keep seeing it as we bring you more legislative results from more states.
What exactly this predicts for elections this year and next is, of course, difficult to say, especially since redistribution will mess up borders almost everywhere. Whether you're racing new or old maps, Democrats will always want to remember that just because a district supports Joe Biden won't do the same for them.
P.S. We will be releasing data for new states on an ongoing basis. Subscribe to our free daily newsletter, the Morning Digest, to keep up with every release. This bookmarked permalink provides links to our district-level tables for New Hampshire and every other state.