As they chose a leader in a time of turmoil, supporters of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden found little common ground on the top crises facing the nation, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate.
The divide between Republican and Democratic America cut across the economy, public health and racial justice. Among the few shared views in the two camps of voters: Trump has changed the way things work in Washington.
Most Trump voters say he has changed Washington for the better; most Biden voters say he’s changed it for the worse. Follow US Election Results 2020 Live Updates
Here’s a snapshot of who voted and what matters to them, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 132,000 voters and nonvoters nationwide conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS
The differences between Trump and Biden supporters — on the virus, the economy, racism and policing — are stark.
As coronavirus cases rise across the country, claiming more than 232,000 lives, Biden voters overwhelmingly said the federal government should prioritize limiting the spread of the virus — even if that damages the economy — while most Trump voters preferred protecting the economy.
About half of Trump voters called the economy and jobs the top issue facing the nation, while only 1 in 10 Biden voters named it most important.
A majority of Biden voters — about 6 in 10 — said the pandemic was the most important issue, more than twice the share of Trump voters.
The two groups did not agree on the state of the economy, either. Trump voters remain adamant that the economy is in good shape: About three-quarters call national economic conditions excellent or good. About 8 in 10 Biden voters call them not so good or poor.
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Biden voters almost universally said racism is a serious problem in U.S. society and in policing, including about 7 in 10 who called it “very” serious. About half of Trump voters called racism a serious problem in U.S. society, and just under half said it was a serious problem in policing.
A REFERENDUM ON TRUMP
Trump courted his voter base throughout his presidency, and their loyalty showed. About 8 in 10 said their vote was an endorsement of him, not cast in opposition to Biden.
Biden voters, meanwhile, were closely split over whether they were voting mainly to support Biden or oppose Trump.
The division was likely a reflection of Democrats’ overwhelming opposition to the president, as well as lingering ambivalence about Biden. The former vice president, who campaigned as a moderate who could draw support from a broad electorate, endured a tough primary with opposition from the progressive wing of his party.
Republicans enjoyed more cohesion. Trump voters were more likely than Biden voters to say they agreed with their candidate all or most of the time, 81% versus 74%.
THE PANDEMIC’S PERSONAL IMPACT
A wide majority of voters said the coronavirus pandemic has affected them personally. About 4 in 10 said their household lost a job or income. Roughly half said they missed out on a major event, and about 2 in 10 said that a close friend or family member died from the virus.
Biden voters were somewhat more likely than Trump voters to say they’ve felt the impact in at least one of those ways, 73% to 62%.
Voters see their financial situations as holding steady despite the fragile economy. About 7 in 10 said their personal finances are stable; roughly 2 in 10 said they are falling behind. Just about 1 in 10 said they are getting ahead financially.
Voters did not stay on the sidelines, with experts predicting total votes will exceed the 139 million cast in 2016. About 101 million people voted ahead of Election Day.
About three-quarters said they’ve known all along who they were supporting in this election.
Voters were measured in their confidence that the vote count would be accurate — despite Trump seeking to sow doubts about the integrity of the vote count.
About a quarter of voters said they are very confident that the votes in the election will be counted accurately, while 4 in 10 were somewhat confident. Roughly 3 in 10 said they are not confident in an accurate vote count.
After a summer of protests and sometimes-violent clashes over racial inequality in policing, about half of voters call racism a “very serious” problem in U.S. society. Roughly 3 in 10 say it’s somewhat serious; about 2 in 10 say it’s not a serious problem. Similar shares call racism a serious problem in policing in this country.
About a third of voters said police in the U.S. are too tough on crime; fewer — about a quarter — said police are not tough enough. About 4 in 10 think police handle crime about right.
But compared with the pandemic and the economy, relatively few voters deemed racism or law enforcement the country’s top issue: 8% said racism was most important and just 4% said law enforcement was.