While the past few weeks may have felt like a year, the 2020 Presidential Election has come and gone. We surveyed 1,169 Americans Nov 9-11 aged 18+ to understand how closely they were following the election and why they chose their preferred candidate. 

Over two-thirds (68%) indicate they have kept tabs on this contentious election for several months, with Boomers most apt to indicate as such (75%). Another 17% have been following it for the past few months. Now that the election has concluded, nearly half indicate they will follow coverage of the Presidential transition between now and inauguration “nearly as closely as I followed the election” (46%, peaking among those who voted for Biden), with another 32% of the mindset that they’ll “follow it somewhat, but not as closely as I followed the election.” 

When considering key sources of information about the election, TV news tops the list (77%), followed by online news articles (69%). Social media also emerges as a key secondary source (see below visual for detail by platform). Over a third of Gen Z & Millennials also peg text messages & calls with family and friends as a way of staying abreast of the latest election happenings.

When the 53% of our voting respondents who chose Joe Biden were asked to expand why he earned their vote, one respondent in Michigan elaborates: “I think he will handle the pandemic and racial inequalities better.” Additional comments from Biden voters:

“I really felt like Trump was making the pandemic worse by mocking the use of masks and social distancing. This arrogance and incompetence, coupled with Trump’s dismissal of environmental concerns, was the final straw for me.” (North Carolina)

“I’m against everything Donald Trump stands for and the country he has divided. I’m pro women’s and LGBTQ+ rights as well as pro choice. I also believe Biden will help with coronavirus in the United States and global warming in the world.” (Florida)

“He has leadership skills our current president does not, or ever will have. To have our country unite together again as Americans, instead of being so divided against each other. Human decency!” (Washington)

“To preserve the democracy and all the policies of a just nation. Fighting inequality, climate change, inadequate health care and pandemic.” (Nevada)

“Donald Trump is demonstrably bad for this country and his policies and attitudes hurt people. Joe Biden, while imperfect, will cause less harm to people and has a history of doing good things like supporting the violence against women act.” (Connecticut)

Representative comments from the 42% who voted for Trump include:

“Until the pandemic started our economy was in better shape than I have seen it. I live in a small rural area that had lost a lot of manufacturing jobs. This was the first time I saw Hiring signs everywhere.” (North Carolina)

“He has done a good job and kept his promises. He has been instrumental in making progress towards peace in the Middle East and has protected America in trade deals.” (Florida)

“I voted for him because although he really needs to mature and get off Twitter, I believe the business side of him was helping our economy before COVID hit and I believe it would again once things calm down.” (Illinois)

“I don’t trust Biden or his VP.” (Utah)

In addition to Americans electing a new President, history was achieved with Kamala Harris being named the next VP. Stay tuned for a follow-up post where we delve into reactions to Harris as the new VP and the prevailing mindsets post-election.

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