BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. has won the state of Michigan, clawing back another state that was long part of the Democratic Party’s bulwark in the industrial North until President Trump narrowly prevailed four years ago.
Mr. Biden’s path to the presidency is now clearer: After being declared the winner in Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday, he now needs to win Arizona and Nevada to amass enough electoral votes to become the next president. And he is leading in both states.
With Wisconsin already in Mr. Biden’s column, victory in Michigan would give the former vice president enough votes in the Electoral College to become the next president, assuming that he also remains ahead in Arizona and Nevada.
Mr. Biden’s narrow win in Michigan — he was ahead of Mr. Trump by about 67,000 votes, or roughly one percentage point as of late Wednesday afternoon — was the product of extremely high turnout in Detroit, where an underwhelming performance with African Americans in 2016 helped doom Hillary Clinton. Mr. Biden also benefited from a surge of support in the economically and racially diverse suburbs north of the city.
Mr. Trump was also the beneficiary of an energized base of support, which turned out for him in larger numbers than 2016, but it was not enough to outpace Mr. Biden.
Michigan became a place of intense interest for the Biden and Trump campaigns in the final days of the race, with its mix of working class industry towns, well-heeled suburbs, white, Black, urban and rural putting it in play for both parties. Mr. Trump held three rallies over two days in the some of the state’s more conservative areas, reflecting his reliance on his white, working class base.
But in many of the suburban areas that previously helped put him over the top, Michiganders this year soured on the president and gave Mr. Biden an edge that Mrs. Clinton did not have in 2016. In bellwether Macomb County, for instance, Mr. Trump is ahead by eight points this year, after winning it by more than 11 points four years ago.
In Oakland County, the state’s second largest and a Republican stronghold not long ago, Mr. Biden’s win was nothing short of a blowout. He was ahead by 14 points, indicative of a larger shift underway in American suburbs as the Trump presidency has created a aversion to the Republican Party. In 2016, Mrs. Clinton won Oakland County by 8 points.
Still, the Biden victory was not without red flags for Democrats in a state that remains very much on a knife’s edge politically. In the race for Senate, Democrats did not expect their first-term incumbent, Gary Peters, to be within a few thousand votes of losing — a development that could leave Democrats with no net gain of seats in the upper chamber this year if he is defeated in his race against John James, a 39-year-old combat veteran and businessman the Republican Party invested in heavily. Mr. Peters pulled slightly ahead late Wednesday as more votes from Detroit were processed, but that race has not been called.
And Mr. Biden’s thin margin was not as large as Democrats had predicted — nor did it point to the friendly atmosphere for the party that public polls suggested.