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5 useful facts leading up to the 2020 election

5 useful facts leading up to the 2020 election

If you could ask every American one question right now, what would it be? In the months leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election, we teamed up with Axios and Tableau to publish a series of visualizations that explore the public opinion data driving one of the most-watched elections of our lifetimes. We didn’t just ask one question—we asked many. And we asked them of more than 1 million people. 

Sure, we published a delightful, clickable map with current polling numbers in the presidential race. But if you dig a level deeper, you’ll uncover something even more interesting: countless storylines that prove that data really is the language of elections. Read on for a few Biden vs. Trump stats to sprinkle into your Election Day conversations that will remain true regardless of who wins.

Here are five interesting trends you likely won’t see on the evening news, captured through the vast scale of SurveyMonkey’s market research technology.

  1. This election was about two issues: the economy and health care.

Throughout 2020, two issues have consistently been top-of-mind for voters across the country: health care and the economy. As the coronavirus began spreading in March, those two issues collided, with the virus forcing businesses to close their doors and lay off their employees. 

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In the weeks just prior to the election, 44% of people said “jobs and the economy” was the most important issue in the country today, while 28% pointed to “health care.” No other issue came close—the next closest was the environment at 12%. 

But as with so much else these days, partisanship is at play. President Trump holds a substantial lead (nearly a 50-point margin over Joe Biden) among those who say “jobs and the economy” is the most important issue in the country today, whereas Biden has a similar lead of about 60 points over Trump among those who say “health care” is the top issue. 

  1. We’re seeing a new kind of gender gap.

Men and women often find themselves on opposite sides of the aisle in politics, with women more often voting for Democrats and men more often voting for Republicans. This holds true in 2020, with 59% of women reporting that they would vote for Biden and 53% of men saying they planned to vote for Trump. 

In 2020 we also began allowing respondents to identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming. This group is even more likely than women to support Biden over Trump—64% of our nonbinary respondants said they were voting for Biden.  

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How the election would look if only women and gender non-binary people could vote

  1. Christians, especially white Christians, are sticking by Trump. 

Christians make up the largest voting bloc by religion in the American electorate, and they support Trump by a nearly 20-point margin. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fall even more dramatically into Trump’s camp, though they make up a very small proportion of the overall electorate. Catholics are split evenly between Trump and Biden, despite the fact that if elected Biden would be the second Catholic president in U.S. history. Among people of all other religious identifications—including those who do not identify with any particular religion—Biden has a substantial lead.  

Among white Christians, Trump’s lead over Biden increases even further. Trump also has a clear lead over Biden among white Catholics. 

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  1. The senior vote matters. 

Whichever candidate wins the election will also be the oldest person to be sworn in as president—Trump already holds that esteem after becoming president at the age of 70, while Biden would be 77 on Inauguration Day. Trump won the 65+ vote in 2016, but Biden has a slight lead in 2020: 51% of people aged 65 and up told us they plan to vote for Biden. 

Polling for people aged 65 and up

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5. Vote by mail, save a tree?

Bored with the standard analysis you’ve seen comparing Republicans and Democrats? Our vizzes have more breakdowns, including by religion, by gun ownership, and by union membership. You can use our dashboard to examine who’s likeliest to mail in their ballot rather than vote in person, depending on what issue they say is the most important to their vote. Our data show that people who list the environment as the most important issue in the election are most likely to vote by mail, while people who list terrorism as the No. 1 issue are least likely to vote by mail. Fully 70% of folks concerned with the environment planned to cast their ballots through the mail, and 68% of those concerned about terrorism were planning to vote in person. 

What trends will you uncover in our election hub? Play pollster with the latest data here