ReportExit polls present both familiar and brand-new voting blocs sealed Biden’s winWilliam H. FreyNovember 12, 2020
Editor's Note:

 This is an updated variation of this brief, taking right into account new exit poll results through November 11, 2020.

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When Barack Obama winner his second presidential hatchet eight year ago, the exit polls plainly showed the he benefitted native what I dubbed the “new American mainstream”—the growing voter blocs the youth, civilization of color, and the college-educated. That calculus changed in 2016, once Donald trumped shocked the political people with a “demographic blowback” among, largely, older white skin - man without college degrees that take it him come the White House.

Now, with Joe Biden claimed the winner the the 2020 election, his success over trump reflects aspects of both that these demographic constituencies. And if departure polls room to be believed, number of voting blocs comprised of white and also older Americans contributed to his success.

This is not because white voters all of sudden flocked to Biden and also the Democrats—although in some instances they did. Nor is it the instance that Democrats need to abandon their farming “new American mainstream,” since they absolutely need them to succeed in the future. Instead, 2020’s exit polls indicate that in key Rust Belt and also Sun Belt battlegrounds, Biden benefitted from reduced Republican margins amongst some the the groups that handed trump his 2016 victory.

National polls display lower white and older assistance for Trump

Exit polls exit by the nationwide election consortium Edison research (accessed November 11, 2020) permit for national- and also state-level comparisons through those native 2016. Figure 1 mirrors the shifts in autonomous minus Republican (D-R) voter margins for racial groups. (The D-R margin is characterized as the percent voting democratic minus percent vote Republican. A hopeful value reflects a democratic vote benefit whereas a an unfavorable value shows a Republican poll advantage.)

While whites continued to favor the Republican candidate in 2020—as they have actually in every presidential election because 1968—it is notable that this margin was lessened from 20% to 17% nationally. In ~ the same time, the democratic margins because that each that the major nonwhite groups was somewhat reduced. The Black autonomous margin—while still high, at 75%—was the shortest in a presidential election since 2004. The Latino or Hispanic and also Asian American democratic margins that 33% and also 27% were the lowest because the 2004 and also 2008 elections, respectively. This shifts carry out not use to all states, and also are not applicable to many battleground claims where voter of color were crucial to Biden’s win

It is clear that white voting blocs start at various levels of autonomous or Republican support. In fact, there to be a modest decline in Republican support in a key Trump base: white males without university educations. This group showed a diminished Republican benefit from 48% to a still sizeable 42% in between 2016 and 2020.

Yet amongst white voters v college educations, there were remarkable shifts in Biden’s direction. White masculine college graduates decreased their assistance for Trump native 14% to 3%. At the same time, white female university graduates raised their autonomous support indigenous 7% come 9% nationally. Moreover, in crucial battleground states, white female college graduates normally registered better support because that Biden in 2020 보다 they did because that Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The other noteworthy change that impacted the 2020 election involves D-R margin move for different age groups. It need to not be surprising the after a summer the protests and also activism among young people, persons period 18 come 29 registered a increase in democratic support between 2016 and also 2020, native 19% come 24%. Few of this is attributable to the raised Democratic-leaning nonwhite existence in this age group, because of the nation’s transforming demographic make-up.

There was also less Republican support among older segments of the population: eras 45 to 64 and ages 65 and also older. This diminish in Republican assistance was even more pronounced for 45- come 64-year-old whites: native 28% in 2016 come 19% in 2020 (see downloadable Table A). This is evident in number of battleground states.

Lower white support for trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin

The three an important northern battlegrounds of both 2016 and 2020 room the relatively “white” claims of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and also Wisconsin. Every one flipped for Biden this election.

Exit polls in all 3 states suggest that much more Democratic-favorable (or much less Republican-favorable) margins amongst different white blocs in between 2016 and 2020 added to Biden’s wins. See figure 4 and also downloadable Table B.

Beginning with Pennsylvania, it is clear the white university graduates—both male and also female—voted an ext Democratic in 2020 보다 in 2016. Particularly noteworthy is the adjust for white male college graduates (from a 17% Republican advantage to simply 2%), while white female university graduates boosted their autonomous support indigenous 14% come 19%.

Pennsylvania’s seniors, too, registered a smaller Republican margin, while white noncollege men and women remained relatively strongly Republican. But the transition among white college-educated Pennsylvanians towards Democrats, solid nonwhite (especially Black) support, and also greater support amongst young world were sufficient to seal Biden’s win.

Michigan’s flip to Biden’s column in 2020 is even much more dependent on higher D-R margins among each the the white vote blocs. Specifically strong transition in Democratic advantage occurred because that white female university graduates, native 6% in 2016 to 20% in 2020. Also, huge declines in Republican advantages were obvious for white college and noncollege men. Among the latter, the Republican benefit fell native 44% come 30%. Moreover, voter in older period groups flipped indigenous a Republican advantage in 2016 come a Democratic benefit in 2020. Along with the strong Democratic support among Michigan’s black voters, the move in the state’s white voting blocs aided Biden considerably.

Wisconsin, the last of the northern battleground trifecta, also showed the very same or enhanced D-R voting margins for every white voting blocs. This to be the situation for white noncollege men and also women. The previous group lowered its Republican benefit from 40% in 2016 to 27% in 2020, when the latter lowered indigenous a Republican advantage of 16% in 2016 to 5% in 2020. White female college graduates registered 2020’s highest autonomous margin, 23%, v white male college graduates shifting from an also Republican-Democratic split in 2016 come a 3% Democratic benefit in 2020. Biden also benefitted from greater Democratic margins amongst voters period 18 come 29 and 40 to 64, as well as from solid support among the state’s black color population. But similar to Pennsylvania and Michigan, a an ext Democratic-leaning white electorate in this whitest that the three states added to his win.

Whites do Biden compete in racially varied Sun Belt states

As the final votes were being counted, three sun Belt states continued to be competitive between Biden and Trump: Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. While their last outcomes additionally depended on nonwhite gyeongju groups, white vote blocs in these claims shifted because 2016 in means that benefitted Biden. See number 4 and also downloadable Table B.

Take Arizona. It is a state that has not voted for a autonomous presidential candidate because 1996. While promptly diversifying, its larger white populace has leaned greatly toward Republicans. This time was different; white college graduate women and also men flipped sharply toward Democrats, indigenous 2016 Republican benefits of 2% and 12%, respectively, to 2020 Democratic advantages of 15% and also 3%. Likewise, white noncollege men lessened their Republican support from 28% come 10%. In addition, Arizona’s senior populace flipped from Republican support to also Democratic-Republican support.

These shifts, and also increased autonomous support amongst 18- to 29-year-olds and continued autonomous support indigenous the state’s Latino or spain voters, contributed to Biden’s vote gains in Arizona.

Georgia, a longtime deep red Republican state, has actually been inching toward “battleground” status because of its large and growing Democratic-leaning black color population. Yet its solid white Republican margins have actually led come GOP presidential wins because 1996. This year, those white Republican margins were diminished enough to make the state competitive.

The greatest swings from Georgia’s 2016 results were reduced Republican support among white college-educated men and also women. The previous saw that is Republican margin shrink native 55% come 12% in between 2016 and 2020; the latter’s shrank indigenous 29% come 10%. Reduced Republican spare part were additionally evident because that voters age 45 and older. These shifts, along with still solid support from black color voters, were important in Biden’s strong showing in Georgia.

Nevada has actually voted for democratic candidates due to the fact that Obama an initial ran in 2008. As among the many rapidly growing and also racially diverse battleground states, it was anticipated to it is in in Biden’s tower well prior to the election. However, the so late reporting the votes in Clark county made that competitive to the end. White female college graduates did upper and lower reversal from Republican come Democratic between 2016 and 2020, and also white men—both college and also noncollege—showed lower Republican margins. These are vital for Biden, because Nevada exit polls proved 2016 come 2020 decreases in democratic support indigenous Black, eastern American, and also especially Latino or Hispanic voters there.

Several other states were expected to come close to flipping to Biden in 2020, yet their last votes favored Trump. Amongst these space North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. Every showed lower Republican spare or flips to autonomous support for most or every white poll blocs, especially white female university graduates. (See pertinent statistics in can be downloaded Table B.) However, they were not able to overcome shifts in other teams (such together lower democratic support among Latino or Hispanic voters in Florida and Texas) to carry Biden a victory.

What this shifts mean for future elections

The leave polls and also results from this year’s presidential election paint a somewhat different picture than the previous two races. ~ Obama’s 2nd victory in 2012, Democrats to be touting a voter constituency consisted of of young people, diverse voters, and college-educated whites that they feeling would provide them solid support for several elections to come. It even prompted republicans to concern an “autopsy” urging the inclusion of a more comprehensive voter base. However after Trump’s 2016 win with strong support indigenous older, less urban, and noncollege whites, plenty of Republicans continued to be onboard their earlier train.

In retrospect, it appears that both the 2012 Obama coalition and also the 2016 trump card coalition overperformed in those elections. The 2020 results imply neither party deserve to rely specifically on those specific sets that voters. As I have actually written, over there is no doubt that an altering demographics—especially rising diversity—should advantage Democrats in the long run (see additionally the latest states of adjust report).

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But in the interim, the outcomes of the 2020 choice make plain that both parties require to attend to the understand of a coalition comprised of every one of these groups. The trumped presidency walk not carry out this—perhaps a Biden presidency can.