There was not a lot of change for Republicans or Democrats' share of the electorate in presidential and gubernatorial races this year in Missouri, despite many more people voting locally and across the state.
However, there was still some notable change — such as Republican Gov. Mike Parson's rise in popularity and Parson being more popular than his own party's incumbent presidential ticket, or voters not supporting Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway to the extent they boosted support for her party's presidential ticket or supported the previous Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
The election overall
This year's 73.58 percent turnout among Cole County voters was a 2.93 percent increase over 2016, and the increase included more than 2.5 times as many absentee ballots being cast as four years ago — likely a combination of intense interest in the election and more people being able and wanting to vote absentee or by mail because of health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increased turnout translated into almost 2,000 more ballots and presidential votes being cast.
For all the increased number of voters and a tumultuous year of politics and pandemic, neither main political party saw a huge change in the popularity of their presidential candidates.
Then-candidate Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence won 65.37 percent of the Cole County vote in 2016. This year, Trump's support grew to 65.79 percent of the county vote.
Democrat Hillary Clinton and running mate Sen. Tim Kaine won 28.98 percent of the Cole County vote in 2016. This year, former Vice President Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris won 32.02 percent of the county vote.
Statewide, Trump's ticket won 56.772 percent of the vote in 2016. With more than 200,000 more presidential votes being cast this year in the race in Missouri, Trump won with 56.826 percent of the vote.
Clinton's ticket got 38.1 percent of the vote, while Biden's this year got 41.2 percent.
The presidential race in Cole County
In both 2016 and 2020, Trump tended to do better among voters in outlying areas of Cole County, while Democratic candidates did better in Jefferson City.
Something that changed over those four years, however, is Trump solidified his support — particularly in those outlying areas but also to some extent even in Jefferson City.
In 2016, Trump got more than 80 percent of the vote in Brazito, Eugene, Lohman, Taos, St. Thomas and Wardsville, and he got more than 75 percent of the vote in Centertown, Russellville and St. Martins.
This year, he got more than 80 percent of the vote in all those communities.
St. Thomas was the area of the county that gave Trump the highest percent of support in both races — 83.6 percent in 2016 and 87.4 percent this year.
He did best in Jefferson City in 2016 in Ward 1's 3rd Precinct, with almost 69.3 percent of the vote, and this year in Ward 4's 2nd Precinct, with almost 70.3 percent of the vote.
Trump did worst both years in Ward 2's 1st Precinct, though his 40.6 percent of the vote there this year was an improvement over 2016's share of 37.8 percent of the vote.
That precinct in central Jefferson City — which has the Miller Performing Arts Center as its polling location — seems to be a Democratic stronghold.
It was the only place in the county where Clinton got more than 50 percent of the vote in 2016 and likewise for Biden this year.
What's clear from election data this year is a vote for either main party's presidential candidate did not necessarily translate into a vote for the party's gubernatorial candidate or vice versa.
Parson won 57.1 percent of the vote statewide — despite fewer votes being cast than in the presidential race — and in Cole County, the margin was even wider, with Parson getting almost 67.9 percent of the vote.
Parson ran for and was elected lieutenant governor in 2016, and became governor in 2018 after former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned.
Parson got 52.8 percent of the statewide vote for lieutenant governor four years ago, and in Cole County, he got 57.5 percent of the vote.
Greitens got 55.5 percent of the vote in Cole County in 2016 and 51.1 percent of the vote statewide.
Parson had the pandemic forced upon his administration this year, but not only did he weather the election through it, it would seem his popularity grew anyway.
Like Trump, Parson did well in Cole County in outlying areas, more so than in Jefferson City, and also solidified some support.
Parson's best performance among voters in the county in 2016 was getting 70.5 percent of the vote in Eugene and 62.2 percent of Jefferson City voters in Ward 4's 2nd Precinct.
This year, Parson's highs were 88 percent of the vote in St. Thomas and 73.2 percent of the vote in Ward 4's 2nd Precinct.
His lows also improved from 38 percent of the vote in 2016 in Ward 1's 1st Precinct to 43.3 percent of the vote in Ward 2's 1st Precinct.
Galloway, meanwhile, did not do as well as in her campaign two years ago for state auditor or as well as her party's previous gubernatorial candidate in 2016 — either locally or statewide.
Democrat Chris Koster got 45.6 percent of the vote statewide in 2016 and 42 percent of the vote in Cole County.
Galloway in 2018 got 50.4 percent of the vote statewide for state auditor and almost 51 percent of the vote in the county.
This year, running for governor, she only got 40.5 percent of the statewide vote and 29.6 percent of the vote in Cole County.
The most support she got locally in 2018 was almost 65.5 percent of the vote in Ward 5's 1st Precinct and Ward 2's 1st Precinct, but this year, she only got 51.7 percent of the vote in Ward 2's 1st Precinct.
Her low among voters in Eugene in 2018 — 38.5 percent supported her there at that time — was far better than the 10.8 percent of support she got in St. Thomas this year.
Unlike Parson, Galloway did not benefit from increased absentee votes — slipping from getting 48.3 percent of 3,127 absentee gubernatorial votes in 2018 to 42.4 percent of 9,909 gubernatorial absentee votes this year.
Voters this year also had a choice over whether to change the redistricting laws they approved two years ago — and they did.
Voters in 2018 approved Amendment 1, or "Clean Missouri," with a more than 62 percent statewide majority and a 55.6 percent majority in Cole County — with support being highest in the same Ward 2, 1st Precinct Democratic stronghold as for presidential and gubernatorial candidates, and lowest in Republican's St. Thomas stronghold.
This year, Amendment 3, or "Cleaner Missouri," sought to change the approved redistricting process by transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from a nonpartisan state demographer to governor-appointed bipartisan commissions.
Amendment 3 also bans gifts from lobbyists to legislators and their employees and reduces legislative campaign contributions.
Fifty-one percent of voters statewide and 54.3 percent of Cole County voters approved Amendment 3 last week.
Locally, support was highest in Lohman, with 70.7 percent of the vote, and best in Jefferson City in Ward 1's 3rd Precinct, with 58.5 percent of the vote.
Amendment 3 did worst in Ward 5's 1st Precinct, with 44.88 percent of the vote.
A lower share of absentee voters in the county approved the measure. Clean Missouri was approved in 2018 with 58.6 percent of 3,087 absentee votes, while Cleaner Missouri got 44.94 percent of 9,702 absentee votes.
Notes about the status of election results: All November 2016 Cole County election results were official as of Nov. 15, 2016, a week after the election.
All November 2018 Cole County results were official as of Nov. 15, 2018, nine days after the election.
All November 2020 Cole County results were unofficial, as of Nov. 4., the day after the election.
All statewide results are from the Missouri secretary of state's office, and the 2020 results were unofficial as of approximately 2 p.m. Friday.