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

Pew Research facility conducted this study to understand just how Americans vote in 2020 and how your turnout and also vote selections differed from 2016 and 2018. For this analysis, us surveyed U.S. Adults online and verified their turnout in the three basic elections utilizing commercial voter records that aggregate official state turnout records. Panelists because that whom a document of vote was located are taken into consideration validated voters; every others space presumed no to have actually voted.

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We surveyed 11,818 U.S. Adults online in November 2020, 10,640 adults in November 2018 and 4,183 adults in November and December 2016. The surveys to be supplemented with procedures taken from yearly recruitment and profile surveys conducted in 2018 and also 2020. Everyone who took component is a member the Pew study Center’s American patterns Panel (ATP), an online survey panel recruited v national, arbitrarily sampling the telephone number or, since 2018, residential addresses. This means nearly every U.S. Adults have actually a chance of selection. The surveys are weighted to be representative that the U.S. Adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, turnout and also vote selection in the three elections, and many other characteristics. Read an ext about the ATP’s methodology.

Here room the questions provided for this report and its methodology.


The 2020 presidential choice was historical in countless ways. Amid a worldwide pandemic, through unprecedented transforms in how Americans voted, voter turnout increased 7 percent points over 2016, bring about a full of 66% that U.S. Adult citizens spreading a ballot in the 2020 election. Joe Biden defeated Donald trump card 306-232 in the Electoral College and also had a 4-point margin in the well-known vote. While Biden’s well-known vote differential to be an development over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 2-point advantage, that was no as resounding as congressional Democrats’ 9-point advantage over republicans in votes actors in the 2018 elections because that the U.S. Residence of Representatives.


Validated voters, defined

Members of Pew research study Center’s nationally representative American patterns Panel were matched to public voting records from three national commercial voter documents in an effort to find a document for vote in the 2020 election. Validated voters space citizens that told us in a post-election survey that castle voted in the 2020 basic election and have actually a record for vote in a advertisement voter file. Nonvoters room citizens that were not uncovered to have actually a document of poll in any type of of the voter documents or told us they did no vote.


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

A number of factors determined the composition of the 2020 electorate and 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 – additionally turned the end in 2020, and also the vast bulk remained faithful to the exact 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, these shifts assisted Biden a little much more than Trump.


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Overall, one-in-four 2020 voter (25%) had actually not voted in 2016. About a 4 minutes 1 of this (6% of all 2020 voters) proved up 2 years later on – in 2018 – to cast ballots in the highest-turnout midterm choice in decades. Those that voted in 2018 but not in 2016 donate Biden over Trump in the 2020 election by about two-to-one (62% come 36%).

Both Trump and also Biden to be able come bring brand-new voters right into the political process in 2020. The 19% that 2020 voters who did not vote in 2016 or 2018 split around evenly between the 2 candidates (49% Biden vs. 47% Trump). However, as with voters overall, there was a considerable age divide within this group. Among those under age 30 that voted in 2020 yet not in either of the two previous elections, Biden led 59% to 33%, while Trump winner among new or irregular voters eras 30 and also older by 55% come 42%. Younger voters also made up an outsize re-superstructure of this voters: Those under period 30 comprised 38% of brand-new or irregular 2020 voters, despite they represented just 15% the all 2020 voters.

One somewhat unusual facet of the 2016 choice was the relatively high re-superstructure of voter (nearly 6%) that voted for one of the third-party candidates (mostly the Libertarian and Green Party nominees), a fact numerous observers attributed come the loved one unpopularity of both major party candidates. Through comparison, just 2% the voters chose a third-party candidate in 2020. Overall, third-party 2016 voters that turned the end in 2020 voted 53%-36% because that Biden over Trump, with 10% opting for a third-party candidate. Among the 5% the Republicans who voted third-party in 2016 and voted in 2020, a bulk (70%) supported Trump in 2020, but 18% backed Biden. Among the 5% that Democrats who voted third-party in 2016 and voted in 2020, simply 8% supported Trump in 2020 while 85% voted for Biden.

Here are some of the other key findings from the analysis:

Biden made gains v suburban voters. In 2020, Biden improved upon Clinton’s vote share v suburban voters: 45% supported Clinton in 2016 vs. 54% because that Biden in 2020. This shift was also seen amongst White voters: Trump narrowly won White suburban voters by 4 point out in 2020 (51%-47%); he lugged this group by 16 clues in 2016 (54%-38%). In ~ the exact same time, Trump grew his poll share among rural voters. In 2016, Trump winner 59% the rural voters, a number that rose to 65% in 2020.Trump do gains amongst Hispanic voters. even as Biden organized on come a majority of Hispanic voter in 2020, Trump make gains among this group overall. There to be a broad educational divide among Hispanic voters: Trump go substantially much better with those without a college level than college-educated Hispanic voters (41% vs. 30%).Apart indigenous the little shift amongst Hispanic voters, Joe Biden’s electoral coalition looked lot like Hillary Clinton’s, with Black, Hispanic and also Asian voters and those of various other races casting about four-in-ten of his votes. Black voters continued to be overwhelmingly faithful to the democratic Party, voting 92%-8% for Biden.Biden make gains v men, if Trump improved among women, narrowing the gender gap. The gender void in the 2020 election was narrower than it had remained in 2016, both because of gains that Biden made among men and also because of profit Trump made amongst women. In 2020, males were nearly evenly divided in between Trump and Biden, unequal in 2016 once Trump won men by 11 points. Trump winner a slightly bigger share of women’s votes in 2020 보다 in 2016 (44% vs. 39%), if Biden’s share amongst women was almost identical to Clinton’s (55% vs. 54%).Biden enhanced over Clinton amongst White non-college voters. White voter without a college degree were crucial to Trump’s victory in 2016, as soon as he winner the group by 64% to 28%. In 2018, Democrats to be able to get some ground through these voters, earning 36% that the White, non-college poll to Republicans’ 61%. In 2020, Biden roughly maintained Democrats’ 2018 share amongst the group, boosting upon Clinton’s 2016 performance by receiving the votes the 33%. But Trump’s re-publishing of the vote among this group – who represented 42% of the full electorate this year – was almost identical to his poll share in 2016 (65%).Biden thrived his support with some religious groups when Trump organized his ground. Both Trump and Biden organized onto or obtained with large groups within your respective religious coalitions. Trump’s strong support amongst White evangelical Protestants ticked up (77% in 2016, 84% in 2020) if Biden got much more support amongst atheists and agnostics than did Clinton in 2016.A record number of voters reported spreading ballots by letter in 2020 – including plenty of voters who claimed it was their an initial time doing so. Nearly fifty percent of 2020 voters (46%) stated they had actually voted by mail or absentee, and amongst that group, about four-in-ten said it to be their an initial time spreading a ballot this way. Hispanic and also White voter were much more likely than Black voter to have actors absentee or letter ballots, while black voters were an ext likely 보다 White or Hispanic voter to have actually voted beforehand in person. Urban and also suburban voters were also an ext likely 보다 rural voters to have voted absentee or by mail ballot.

This evaluation is based on a inspection of 11,818 members of Pew research Center’s American trends Panel carried out Nov. 12-17, 2020, soon after the basic election. It additionally draws top top surveys conducted amongst 10,640 panelists indigenous Nov. 7-16, 2018, after the midterm election that year and also 4,183 panelists from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, 2016, after the general election. Researcher attempted to enhance the panelists to three differentcommercial voter filesthat contain main records that voter registration and turnout for 2016, 2018 and also 2020. (For much more details, check out Methodology.)

This examine marries main turnout documents with a post-election survey among a large, recurring survey panel, v the goal of improving the accuracy that the results contrasted with relying top top self-reported turnout alone. The inspection panel additionally makes it possible to examine change in turnout and vote preference over time among many the the same individuals. This analysis joins a growing body of research seeking to accomplish a an ext accurate assessment of the 2020 election, each based on somewhat various sources that data.2 different methods and data resources have distinct strengths and weaknesses, meaning that certain estimates are likely to vary among the studies and no single source can be taken into consideration definitive.

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Voting fads in the 2020 election

The 2020 election featured continuous in the voting trends of major demographic and also political teams in the population, however there were a couple of important shifts. The gender space in the 2020 choice was narrower than it had remained in 2016 together Democrats do gains among men and also Republicans made gains amongst women. In the 2016 election, Donald trump won men by 11 portion points (52% to 41%) when Hillary Clinton won ladies by 15 clues (54% to 39%). In the 2018 election, Democrats considerably narrowed the space with males (50% of men voted for autonomous candidates, 48% for Republican candidates) while keeping an 18-point lead among women. In the 2020 election, guys again divided virtually evenly (50% Trump, 48% Biden), while Biden’s benefit narrowed to 11 points amongst women (55% to 44%).