Steph smith drops off she ballot because that the 2020 presidential choice on Nov. 3 in Rollinsville, Colorado. (Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images)

Pew Research center conducted this study to understand just how Americans vote in 2020 and also how their turnout and vote selections differed from 2016 and 2018. For this analysis, we surveyed U.S. Adult online and verified your turnout in the three general elections utilizing commercial voter records that accumulation official state turnout records. Panelists for whom a document of vote was situated are taken into consideration validated voters; all others room presumed not to have voted.

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We surveyed 11,818 U.S. Adults online in November 2020, 10,640 adult in November 2018 and also 4,183 adults in November and also December 2016. The surveys to be supplemented with procedures taken from annual recruitment and also profile surveys performed in 2018 and 2020. Everyone who took part is a member that Pew study Center’s American fads Panel (ATP), an virtual survey panel recruited through national, arbitrarily sampling the telephone numbers or, due to the fact that 2018, residential addresses. This method nearly every U.S. Adults have actually a opportunity of selection. The surveys room weighted to it is in representative of the U.S. Adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, turnout and also vote choice in the 3 elections, and also many various other characteristics. Read much more about the ATP’s methodology.

Here space the questions offered for this report and its methodology.

The 2020 presidential choice was historical in many ways. Between a an international pandemic, with unprecedented transforms in how Americans voted, voter turnout climbed 7 percent points over 2016, causing a complete of 66% of U.S. Adult citizens casting a ballot in the 2020 election. Joe Biden beat Donald trumped 306-232 in the Electoral College and also had a 4-point margin in the famous vote. When Biden’s renowned vote differential was an advancement over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 2-point advantage, it was not as resounding together congressional Democrats’ 9-point advantage over republicans in votes actors in the 2018 elections for the U.S. Home of Representatives.

Validated voters, defined

Members of Pew study Center’s nationally representative American trends Panel were matched to public voting documents from three national commercial voter documents in an attempt to discover a document for poll in the 2020 election. Validated voters room citizens who told us in a post-election inspection that castle voted in the 2020 general election and have actually a document for poll in a advertising voter file. Nonvoters are citizens who were not found to have actually a record of voting in any type of of the voter files or told us they did not vote.

A brand-new analysis that validated 2020 voters from Pew research study Center’s American fads Panel examines readjust and continually in the electorate, both that which contributed to Biden’s victory. It looks at how new voters and voters that turned out in one or both previous elections voted in the 2020 presidential election and also offers a comprehensive portrait of the demographic composition and also vote choices of the 2020 electorate. It additionally provides a comparison v findings from ours previous researches of the 2016 and also 2018 electorates.

A number of factors figured out the composition of the 2020 electorate and also explain just how it delivered Biden a victory. Among those who voted because that Clinton and Trump in 2016, similar shares of each – around nine-in-ten – likewise turned out in 2020, and the vast bulk remained loyal to the very same party in the 2020 presidential contest. These voter formed substantial bases of support for both Biden and Trump. Overall, there to be shifts in presidential candidate support among some crucial groups between 2016 and 2020, notably suburban voters and also independents. Top top balance, this shifts aided Biden a little more than Trump.


Overall, one-in-four 2020 voters (25%) had not voted in 2016. Around a quarter of these (6% of every 2020 voters) proved up 2 years later on – in 2018 – to cast ballots in the highest-turnout midterm choice in decades. Those who voted in 2018 yet not in 2016 donate Biden end Trump in the 2020 choice by about two-to-one (62% to 36%).

Both Trump and also Biden to be able come bring new voters into the political procedure in 2020. The 19% of 2020 voters who did not vote in 2016 or 2018 split roughly evenly in between the 2 candidates (49% Biden vs. 47% Trump). However, as with voters overall, there was a an extensive age division within this group. Among those under period 30 who voted in 2020 but not in one of two people of the 2 previous elections, Biden led 59% to 33%, if Trump won among new or rarely often, rarely voters periods 30 and also older through 55% come 42%. Younger voters also made increase an outsize share of this voters: Those under age 30 consisted of 38% of new or rarely often rare 2020 voters, despite they represented just 15% of all 2020 voters.

One rather unusual element of the 2016 election was the fairly high re-publishing of voter (nearly 6%) who voted for one of the third-party candidates (mostly the Libertarian and also Green Party nominees), a fact numerous observers attributed to the relative unpopularity of both significant party candidates. By comparison, simply 2% of voters chose a third-party candidate in 2020. Overall, third-party 2016 voters who turned out in 2020 vote 53%-36% because that Biden end Trump, through 10% opting because that a third-party candidate. Amongst the 5% that Republicans that voted third-party in 2016 and also voted in 2020, a majority (70%) supported Trump in 2020, however 18% backed Biden. Amongst the 5% that Democrats that voted third-party in 2016 and also voted in 2020, just 8% sustained Trump in 2020 while 85% voted because that Biden.

Here are few of the other crucial findings native the analysis:

Biden do gains through suburban voters. In 2020, Biden improved upon Clinton’s poll share with suburban voters: 45% supported Clinton in 2016 vs. 54% for Biden in 2020. This transition was also seen amongst White voters: Trump narrowly won White suburban voter by 4 points in 2020 (51%-47%); he brought this group by 16 points in 2016 (54%-38%). In ~ the very same time, Trump thrived his vote share among rural voters. In 2016, Trump won 59% of rural voters, a number that rose to 65% in 2020.Trump made gains amongst Hispanic voters. also as Biden held on to a majority of Hispanic voters in 2020, Trump do gains among this team overall. There was a wide educational divide amongst Hispanic voters: Trump go substantially far better with those there is no a college level than college-educated Hispanic voters (41% vs. 30%).Apart from the tiny shift among Hispanic voters, Joe Biden’s electoral coalition looked much like Hillary Clinton’s, with Black, Hispanic and also Asian voters and those of other races casting around four-in-ten that his votes. Black voters remained overwhelmingly loyal to the autonomous Party, vote 92%-8% because that Biden.Biden make gains through men, while Trump improved among women, narrowing the sex gap. The gender space in the 2020 election was narrower 보다 it had remained in 2016, both since of gains that Biden made among men and also because of benefit Trump made among women. In 2020, guys were almost evenly divided between Trump and Biden, unequal in 2016 when Trump won men by 11 points. Trump winner a slightly bigger share the women’s votes in 2020 than in 2016 (44% vs. 39%), if Biden’s share among women was practically identical come Clinton’s (55% vs. 54%).Biden improved over Clinton among White non-college voters. White voters without a college degree were an essential to Trump’s win in 2016, as soon as he won the team by 64% come 28%. In 2018, Democrats to be able to get some ground v these voters, earning 36% the the White, non-college vote to Republicans’ 61%. In 2020, Biden around maintained Democrats’ 2018 share amongst the group, enhancing upon Clinton’s 2016 performance by receiving the votes the 33%. Yet Trump’s re-publishing of the vote amongst this group – who stood for 42% that the total electorate this year – was almost identical come his poll share in 2016 (65%).Biden prospered his support with some religious groups if Trump held his ground. Both Trump and also Biden organized onto or acquired with large groups within their respective spiritual coalitions. Trump’s strong support amongst White evangelical Protestants ticked up (77% in 2016, 84% in 2020) while Biden got more support among atheists and also agnostics 보다 did Clinton in 2016.A record number of voters reported spreading ballots by letter in 2020 – including countless voters who claimed it was their first time act so. Nearly fifty percent of 2020 voters (46%) stated they had actually voted by letter or absentee, and among that group, about four-in-ten stated it to be their first time spreading a ballot this way. Hispanic and White voters were an ext likely than Black voter to have cast absentee or letter ballots, while black color voters were more likely than White or Hispanic voters to have actually voted beforehand in person. Urban and suburban voters were also more likely than rural voter to have voted absentee or by mail ballot.

This evaluation is based upon a survey of 11,818 members that Pew research study Center’s American patterns Panel conducted Nov. 12-17, 2020, quickly after the general election. It likewise draws on surveys conducted among 10,640 panelists native Nov. 7-16, 2018, after the midterm election the year and 4,183 panelists native Nov. 29 come Dec. 12, 2016, after the general election. Researcher attempted to match the panelists to three differentcommercial voter filesthat contain main records that voter registration and also turnout for 2016, 2018 and also 2020. (For more details, check out Methodology.)

This research marries official turnout records with a post-election survey amongst a large, ongoing survey panel, with the goal of improving the accuracy that the results compared with relying on self-reported turnout alone. The survey panel additionally makes it possible to examine change in turnout and vote preference over time among many of the exact same individuals. This evaluation joins a growing body of research seeking to attain a more accurate assessment of the 2020 election, each based on somewhat different sources the data.2 various methods and data resources have unique strengths and weaknesses, meaning that specific estimates are likely to vary amongst the studies and no single source can be considered definitive.

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Voting trends in the 2020 election

The 2020 choice featured continually in the voting patterns of significant demographic and political groups in the population, yet there to be a few important shifts. The gender gap in the 2020 choice was narrower 보다 it had remained in 2016 as Democrats do gains among men and Republicans do gains among women. In the 2016 election, Donald trumped won males by 11 portion points (52% come 41%) while Hillary Clinton won women by 15 point out (54% come 39%). In the 2018 election, Democrats substantially narrowed the gap with men (50% of males voted for democratic candidates, 48% because that Republican candidates) while keeping an 18-point lead amongst women. In the 2020 election, guys again divided practically evenly (50% Trump, 48% Biden), when Biden’s benefit narrowed come 11 points among women (55% to 44%).