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With final states called, Biden's projected Electoral College victory matches Trump's in 2016

Biden is the first Democratic candidate in decades to win Georgia and Arizona, bringing his expected Electoral College vote tally to 306.
Image: Count Every Vote Rally In Atlanta
Supporters of Joe Biden rally in Freedom Park to deliver the "Count Every Vote" message on Nov. 7, 2020 in Atlanta.Marcus Ingram / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is the apparent winner in Georgia and President Donald Trump has won North Carolina, NBC News projected Friday, bringing the presidential race to a close.

Those last two calls by NBC News — coming 10 days after polls closed on Election Night — were the final calls by the network in a tumultuous post-election stretch that included the tense four days it took for news outlets to call the race for Biden.

With 99 percent of the vote counted in Georgia, Biden had received 49.5 percent of the vote, while Trump had 49.2 percent. Biden’s margin in his apparent victory over Trump in the state was 14,152 votes, according to NBC News. His apparent win there is the first by a Democratic presidential candidate in the state since 1992. The outcome in Georgia, however, is subject to a planned recount of the state’s votes.

With 99 percent of the vote counted in North Carolina, Trump had 50 percent of the vote, while Biden had 48.6 percent. Trump’s margin of victory over Biden in the state was just over 73,600 votes.

Biden’s projected win in Georgia added 16 Electoral College votes to his tally, while Trump’s projected win in North Carolina added 15 Electoral College votes to his own. On Thursday, NBC News projected that Biden wins Arizona, a pickup of 11 Electoral College votes for Biden.

As a result, Biden’s final projected Electoral College vote victory over Trump amounted to 306 to 232, according to NBC News.

That total is identical to Trump’s projected Electoral College victory over Hillary Clinton 2016 — a margin that Trump himself had called a “massive landslide,” even though Trump lost the popular vote that year by nearly 3 million votes. (Trump's final Electoral College tally in 2016 was 304, thanks to two so-called faithless electors.)

In comparison to other recent presidential victors, Biden's Electoral College vote total was less than both of Barack Obama's wins (332 in 2012 and 365 in 2008) but more than both of George W. Bush's (286 in 2004 and 271 in 2000).

To win the White House, Biden flipped back blue the critical Upper Midwest battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, all of which Trump won narrowly in 2016. He also flipped Georgia and Arizona blue for the first time in decades. Meanwhile, Trump carried the key battlegrounds of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Iowa, all of which he also carried in 2016.

With 97 percent of the expected vote across the country counted as of 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Biden led Trump by 50.8 percent to 47.4 percent in the popular vote, a contrast to Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016 while winning the Electoral College.

The nearly 78 million votes that have so far been counted for Biden is the largest number of votes won in the U.S. by any presidential candidate

Trump has not yet conceded the race — and may never actually do so, his aides have told NBC News. His General Services Administration hasn’t officially declared Biden the victor in the 2020 race, a previously mostly noncontroversial process known as “ascertainment." Biden's team has pressed forward with the transition process, though the GSA's continued stonewalling has raised concerns about national security and readiness for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, among other issues.

Trump has continually generated unfounded fears about the vote tabulation process and has repeatedly falsely claimed that mass voter fraud fueled Biden’s victory, which has been projected by news outlets since Saturday when the former vice president surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

Trump aides continue to insist that the Republican president will prevail in litigation which alleges mass fraud without producing evidence.

Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president on Jan. 20.