UPDATED: NOV. 3, 2020 AT 5:15 PM ET

2020 Exit Polling Live Updates: COVID-19, Economy and Health Care Are 2020’s Dominant Voting Issues

Morning Consult is undertaking one of the country’s largest exit polls. This page will update regularly with the latest insights.

 

This election cycle, Morning Consult conducted over 2 million surveys to track how the race evolved daily from the primaries to the general election’s final days. Now, we’re undertaking one of the country’s largest exit polls – interviewing over 20,000 voters to provide context for voters’ decisions as they cast their ballots in a once-in-a-generation election.

Follow along below as we update the page in real-time with the latest data and key insights through Election Day and beyond.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Many Biden voters say their vote is more against Trump than for Biden Read
  • COVID-19, economy and health care are 2020’s dominant voting issues Read
  • Biden and Trump Voters Most Likely to Express Anxiety, Nervousness About the Election Read
  • Nearly all Biden voters say controlling COVID-19 was ‘very important’ to their vote. About 3 in 5 Trump voters said the same Read
  • Over 7 in 10 Biden voters say economic opportunities are less fairly distributed than 4 years ago Read
  • Biden voters are 40 points more likely than Trump backers to say health coverage was vital to their vote Read
  • Biden voters more likely than Trump’s backers to prioritize racial equality, see systemic Racism in the United States Read
  • 74% of Biden voters say addressing climate change was a very important factor in their choice; 19% of Trump voters said the same Read
  • Biden has an advantage with groups that tended to vote early Read 
  • Early voters of color less likely than whites to say voting process was ‘excellent’ Read
  • Vote by mail proves most popular method due to ease and COVID concerns Read
  • Most early voters ‘very confident’ their vote will be accurately counted Read

ELECTION DAY

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Biden and Trump Voters Most Likely to Express Anxiety, Nervousness About the Election
By Eli Yokley | Nov. 3, 2020 at 5:15 pm ET

The 2020 presidential election has been a divisive contest, splitting Americans on issues as significant as the coronavirus pandemic and race relations. But both Trump and Biden voters can agree on one thing: They just want the election to be over. 

According to exit polling, 9 in 10 Biden voters and 84 percent of Trump voters agreed with the sentiment that it’s time to wrap up the contest, producing the smallest gap between the two sets of supporters among the nine feelings tested in the poll.

Biden voters, at 48 percent, were 22 percentage points more likely than Trump voters to say they were angry about the contest, dovetailing with the negative partisanship that early exit polling has shown was more likely to drive backers of the former vice president.

Like Biden voters, most Trump backers are likely to say they’re anxious and nervous, though by smaller margins, and they’re significantly more likely than people who voted for Biden to align with positive statements, such as feeling proud (45 percent to 27 percent) and happy (32 percent to 21 percent), about the election. 

 

COVID-19, Economy and Health Care Are 2020’s Dominant Voting Issues
By Cameron Easley | Nov. 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm ET

Coronavirus-related concerns and so-called kitchen table issues weighed heavily on both Biden voters and Trump voters as they cast their ballots.

Majorities of voters in both camps said controlling the spread of COVID-19 and stimulating economic recovery from the pandemic were “very important” factors in their vote choice. Most Biden and Trump voters also cited lowering the unemployment rate and health care costs, as well as protecting the United States from terrorism, as very important.

From there, priorities diverged sharply between the two camps. 

Biden voters were far more likely to prioritize implementing universal health care coverage, addressing climate change, reducing racial inequality in the justice system, protecting abortion rights and balancing the ideology of the Supreme Court.

Trump voters, meanwhile, were much more likely than Biden voters to say that reducing the number of immigrants allowed into the country, building a U.S.-Mexico border wall and lowering taxes for most Americans played a decisive role in their vote choice.

 

Nearly All Biden Voters Say Controlling COVID-19 Was 'Very Important' to Their Vote. About 3 in 5 Trump Voters Said the Same
By Gaby Galvin | Nov. 3, 2020 at 2:15 pm ET

Controlling the spread of the coronavirus was a top election issue for the vast majority of voters who have already voted for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, while voters who backed President Donald Trump prioritized economic recovery following the pandemic, reflecting the candidates’ disparate approaches to the pandemic.

Regardless of their presidential pick, the coronavirus pandemic weighed heavily on voters’ minds as they cast their ballots, early Morning Consult exit polling shows: 93 percent of those who voted for Biden and 59 percent of those who voted for Trump said controlling the spread of the coronavirus in the United States was very important when deciding whom to vote for, while 80 percent of Trump voters and 75 percent of Biden voters said economic recovery after the coronavirus was a very important deciding factor.

When it came to whom voters trust to lead the United States out of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, 91 percent of Biden voters and 95 percent of Trump voters said they trust their candidate to handle the country’s economic recovery.

Trump voters were less uniformly confident about the president’s ability to curb the spread of the virus, though, with about 3 in 4 saying they trust the president and nearly 1 in 5 saying they didn’t know or had no opinion. Meanwhile, 96 percent of Biden’s backers said they trust the former vice president to contain the virus.

Trump and Biden voters have been personally affected by the coronavirus in different ways: While 3 percent of each candidate’s voters said they have or previously had COVID-19, 38 percent of Biden voters said they had a friend or family member that had been infected, compared with 30 percent of Trump voters. And Biden voters were more likely than Trump backers to say they know someone who has died of COVID-19, 21 percent to 13 percent.

Over 7 in 10 Biden Voters Say Economic Opportunities Are Less Fairly Distributed Than 4 Years Ago
By Claire Williams | Nov. 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm ET

Throughout the 2020 presidential campaign, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has centered his economic message on wealth inequality, saying that President Donald Trump’s economy benefited wealthy Americans disproportionately. It’s been the center of his economic proposals, from tax plans that target high earners to increasing investment in American-made products and companies. 

That message seemed to strike a chord with Biden’s voters: 71 percent said that economic opportunity is less fairly distributed than it was four years ago, compared to only 4 percent who said it’s more fairly distributed, 17 percent who said it’s about the same and 8 percent who said they don’t know or don’t have an opinion.

That’s a big gap compared to Trump voters, 45 percent of whom said the economy is more fairly distributed. Twelve percent said it’s less fairly distributed, compared to 33 percent who said it’s about the same and 10 percent who didn’t know or had no opinion.

On the other hand, Trump’s voters seem to have responded to his economic message.  

Nearly all of Trump’s voters (93 percent) believe the president has helped the U.S. economy. Only 9 percent of Biden voters said the same about the incumbent. 

Ratings on Trump’s economic handling of the coronavirus pandemic seemed to divide Trump and Biden voters as well: 89 percent of Biden voters rated Trump’s efforts to curb the economic impact of the pandemic as “poor.” The numbers taper off significantly after that, with 7 percent saying his handling of the economic fallout from the crisis was “fair,” 2 percent said “good” and 1 percent said excellent.

Trump’s voters told a drastically different story, with 37 percent rating the president’s performance in combating the economic effects of the pandemic as excellent, 42 percent saying good, 16 percent saying fair and 4 percent answering poor. 

 

Biden Voters Are 40 Points More Likely Than Trump Backers to Say Health Coverage Was Vital to Their Vote
By Gaby Galvin | Nov. 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm ET

Lowering health care costs was a common priority among voters who have given early support to President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden, though they differed on the other health care issues driving them to the polls in 2020, Morning Consult exit polling shows.

Biden voters were 40 percentage points more likely than those who have voted for Trump to say making health care coverage accessible to all Americans was very important when casting their 2020 vote, 83 percent to 43 percent, while 61 percent of Trump voters and 76 percent of Biden’s supporters said lowering health care costs was a very important deciding factor.

And a decade after its passage, the Affordable Care Act remains a galvanizing issue for voters on either side of the debate: 37 percent of Trump backers said eliminating the health law was very important when casting their 2020 vote, while 3 in 4 Biden voters said protecting the ACA was very important.

Biden supporters were also more focused on abortion access, which re-emerged as a frontline issue in the final weeks of the campaign with Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Two in 3 Biden voters said protecting a woman’s right to receive an abortion was a very important issue when deciding whom to vote for, while 19 percent of Trump voters said the same. 

Meanwhile, 16 percent of Biden voters and 21 percent of Trump voters said overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States, was a top priority when casting their 2020 vote.

Biden Voters More Likely Than Trump’s Backers to Prioritize Racial Equality, See Systemic Racism in the United States
By Eli Yokley | Nov. 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm ET

Joe Biden’s voters are more than twice as likely as President Trump’s to prioritize reducing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, elevating an issue at the heart of the summertime protests over the death of George Floyd to the 2020 ballot box. 

A third of Trump supporters said it was “very important,” compared with 74 percent of Biden’s supporters. 

Over half of both candidates’ supporters (52 percent) said they expect race relations in the United States to get better over the next five years, but the groups have different perceptions of the current state of discrimination in the country.

Just over half of Biden supporters (52 percent) said that racial discrimination in the United States is systemic — built into American society and institutions — while just 16 percent of Trump voters said the same. 

Trump voters, on the other hand, were 24 points more likely than Biden voters to align with the view that discrimination in the United States is a product of individuals who hold racist views, 72 percent to 48 percent. 

Just 1 percent of Biden voters said racism does not exist in the United States, compared with 13 percent of Trump voters.

Biden voters have overwhelmingly favorable views of the Black Lives Matter movement (82 percent), while 78 percent of Trump voters have unfavorable views. When it comes to the police, 66 percent of Biden supporters have favorable views, compared with 94 percent of Trump backers. 

 

74% of Biden Voters Say Addressing Climate Change Was a Very Important Factor in Their Choice; 19% of Trump Voters Said the Same
By Lisa Martine Jenkins | Nov. 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm ET

Seventy-four percent of Biden voters said addressing climate change was very important in deciding whom to vote for this year, Morning Consult’s exit polling shows, while just 19 percent of Trump voters said the same. 

Meanwhile, 22 percent of Trump voters and only 1 percent of Biden voters said the issue is not at all important to their vote.

Black voters, who have historically leaned heavily Democratic in their preferences, were 13 points likelier than their white counterparts to say climate change was very important to their vote (65 percent and 52 percent, respectively), while a 63 percent share of Hispanic voters and a 62 percent share of other voters of color said the same.

And roughly half of rural voters (48 percent), who tend to skew Republican, cite climate change as a very important factor, a smaller share than that of urban or suburban voters.

While Biden has made addressing climate change a central part of his campaign, airing two ads focused on the issue in the campaign’s final weeks, Trump makes no mention of climate change in his list of priorities for a potential second term, though he does commit to continuing his “deregulatory agenda for energy independence.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the air time he devotes to the issue, virtually all (95 percent) Biden voters trust the former vice president over Trump on the issue. 

However, the same is not true of the incumbent’s voters: While a 58 percent majority trust Trump more on climate change, 16 percent name his opponent and 26 percent say they don’t know or have no opinion.

 

Many Biden Voters Say Their Vote Is More Against Trump Than for Biden
By Eli Yokley | Nov. 3, 2020 at 12:40 pm ET

The Americans who have already voted for Joe Biden are twice as likely as President Trump’s backers to say their vote was more about the rival candidate, showing that negative partisanship is helping fuel the Democratic nominee’s early support. 

According to Morning Consult’s exit polling, 44 percent of Biden voters described their vote as more against the Republican president than for the Democratic nominee, while 22 percent of Trump voters said they were mostly voting against Biden. Three in 4 Trump voters said they were voting mostly for the president, while 54 percent of Biden voters said the same of their candidate. 

When it comes to what voters are looking for, Biden’s backers were most likely to prioritize judgment, stability, honesty and trustworthiness in their choice for president, while Trump’s supporters elevated judgment, mental fitness, effectiveness and strong leadership.

Trump voters were also significantly more likely to prioritize their candidate’s ideology than Biden supporters: While 57 percent who are backing Trump said it was “very important” that their candidate was conservative, only 30 percent of Biden voters said the same of his liberal bona fides. Aside from ideology, the biggest gaps between what voters want from their candidate emerged on questions of compassion and caring about women and people of color. More than 8 in 10 Biden voters prioritized those traits, compared with just over half of Trump’s voters. 

 

Early Voters Tend to Be Female, Older or Democratic — All Groups Where Biden Has An Advantage
By Eli Yokley | Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:10 pm ET

Women, older people and Democrats are among the most likely Americans to have cast their ballots early, according to Morning Consult exit polling, all groups with whom Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has held a polling advantage among the overall electorate likely to vote — highlighting the importance of President Donald Trump’s encouragement of his supporters to show up at the polls on Election Day. 

The majority (57 percent) of people who voted early — whether in person or by mail — were women, compared with 43 percent who were men. Half of early voters were Democrats, while 29 percent were Republicans. 

Older people made up the bulk of the early voting population: Just 15 percent of voters who cast their ballots early were under the age of 35, compared to 39 percent who were ages 65 and older and 38 percent who were between the ages of 45 and 64.

More than half of America’s early voters (55 percent) hail from the suburbs, and 3 in 5 do not have a college degree. 

Roughly three-quarters of early voters were white. Black Americans made up 11 percent of early voters, while Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and voters of other races made up 15 percent of the sample. 

All but 5 percent of people who voted early said they’d voted in previous elections.

On Monday, Nov. 2, Morning Consult released the first round of exit polling – a survey of 7,350 early voters – diving into the factors that drove them to vote early this election cycle. This post is based on that data.

 

Early Voters of Color Less Likely Than Whites to Say Voting Process Was ‘Excellent’
By Eli Yokley | Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:10 pm ET

Americans of color who cast their ballots early are less likely than their white peers to give the voting process a great grade.

While 71 percent of white early voters rated the ease of voting “excellent,” 59 percent of Black voters and 58 percent of Hispanic voters said the same. There was a smaller gap on the question of ease of registration, though Black and Hispanic voters were still less likely than white voters to rate the experience positively. 

Among those who voted early in person, voters of color and white voters were equally likely to report encountering a request for a valid form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license (roughly 3 in 4 white, Black and Hispanic respondents said they were asked to do so). 

But Black and Hispanic respondents were more likely than white in-person early voters to say they were asked for a proof of residence or a voter registration card. 

Along with their poorer rankings of the ease of voting, early voters of color were also more likely to experience a line or wait when casting their ballots: 45 percent of Black early voters and 44 percent of Hispanics said they had to wait, compared with 33 percent of white voters who said the same. 

Among those who had to wait, about half of white respondents reported waiting 20 minutes or less, while nearly 6 in 10 Black early voters said they had to wait more than 20 minutes to cast their ballots. 

On Monday, Nov. 2, Morning Consult released the first round of exit polling – a survey of 7,350 early voters – diving into the factors that drove them to vote early this election cycle. This post is based on that data.

 

Most Early Voters Did Not Cast Ballot in Person, Citing Ease of Mail-in Voting and COVID-19 Concerns
By Cameron Easley | Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:10 pm ET

More than two-thirds of the Americans who voted early said they did so by either mailing in their ballot or placing it into a drop box, while 3 in 10 voters said they went to a voting center to make their voices heard.

Nearly half (45 percent) of Democrats said they mailed in their ballot and another 31 percent said they dropped it off, compared with roughly a quarter who cast their vote at a polling place. Republicans, by contrast, were slightly more likely to vote in person (41 percent) than they were to vote by mail (37 percent).

While similar shares of Black, Hispanic and white voters said they voted by mail, Black and Hispanic voters were slightly more likely than whites to say they cast their ballots in person. At 51 percent, early voters of other races or ethnicities — such Asian Americans, Native Americans and Arab Americans — were most likely to mail in their ballot.

The ease of the method and concern about potential exposure to COVID-19 were the most commonly cited reasons for voting by mail.

Reflecting the partisan gap in general concern over the coronavirus, Democrats who voted early by mail were significantly more likely than Republicans to cite potential COVID-19 exposure as the biggest reason they opted for that method.

On Monday, Nov. 2, Morning Consult released the first round of exit polling – a survey of 7,350 early voters – diving into the factors that drove them to vote early this election cycle. This post is based on that data.

 

Most Early Voters ‘Very Confident’ Their Vote Will Be Accurately Counted
By Cameron Easley | Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:10 pm ET

Almost 3 in 5 early voters said they are “very confident” that their vote will be accurately counted in the 2020 election, although significant partisan gaps emerged on the question.

At 64 percent, Democrats who voted early were 15 points more likely than GOP early voters to express a great deal of confidence that their vote will be counted accurately. Only 7 percent of Democrats, 8 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans who voted early said they had little or no confidence in their vote being counted accurately.

Large generational gaps also emerged on the question: While 44 percent of Generation Z early voters said they were very confident about their vote being counted accurately, that figure rose steadily among millennials (48 percent), Generation Xers (54 percent) and baby boomers (62 percent). 

The presidential race has been stable for months with Biden holding a 6- to 10-point lead over Trump, and relatively few Americans who voted early (20 percent) said they chose their candidate within the past month.

Five percent of early voters said they made their decision as they were casting their ballot, but the largest share of early voters (42 percent) said they made their decision about the 2020 race more than a year ago. Another 16 percent said the choice had been made within the past year.

Republicans were slightly more likely than Democrats (21 percent versus 15 percent) to say they had made their decision in the past month, while both groups were equally likely, at around 45 percent, to say they’d made the choice at least as early as 2019.

On Monday, Nov. 2, Morning Consult released the first round of exit polling – a survey of 7,350 early voters – diving into the factors that drove them to vote early this election cycle. This post is based on that data.

Methodology

Morning Consult is conducting an ongoing exit poll from October 30th through Election Day with voters who have already cast their ballot. As of 4:00 p.m. ET on November 3, Morning Consult has surveyed 12,494 voters who’ve cast their ballot, including 11,584 early voters and 910 who voted on Election Day.

To ensure we’re reaching those who have already voted, we first ask whether or not the respondent has voted in the 2020 election, collect how they cast their ballot, and ask if they voted before Election Day or on Election Day.

All of the interviews were conducted online. The full data set of all registered voters was weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, gender, education, race, region, marital status, population density, home ownership, and 2016 vote. Then, Morning Consult filtered the dataset to those who reported that they have already voted in the 2020 Election.

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