Who won each group
Groups that candidates won by six or more percentage points
President-elect Joe Biden assembled a large enough coalition of voters in key states to unseat President Donald Trump and become the 46th president of the United States. His successful bid relied on winning margins among young and non-White voters, college graduates, independents and those concerned with racial inequality and containing the coronavirus pandemic.
Voters were concerned about the economy, the pandemic and racial inequality, according to results from national and state exit polls conducted by Edison Research. In an election marked by anxiety and litigation over voting access, a strong majority in two battleground states said they are confident their votes will be counted fairly.
About a third of voters said the economy was the most important issue in their vote for president, the results indicated. Roughly 2 in 10 said the coronavirus or racial inequality were their top issues, and smaller shares named crime or health-care policy.
Of President Trump’s voters, about 6 in 10 said the economy was their most important issue. Roughly a third of former vice president Joe Biden’s voters said racial inequality was their most important issue; slightly fewer named the coronavirus pandemic.
Voters nationally are divided about the state of the economy: Roughly half rated it negatively, with about 2 in 10 who said it is “poor.” About half of voters rated the economy positively, with just over 1 in 10 calling it “excellent.” In 2016, exit polling found 62 percent of voters rated the economy negatively, with 21 percent rating it “poor” — the lowest rating available to survey takers.
More key exit polls
The results that The Washington Post is publishing explore demographic trends identified in national and state exit polls. These surveys randomly sample voters as they exited voting places on or before Election Day and through a telephone survey of more than 25,000 early voters to help account for the huge increase of votes cast early. Poll results have been adjusted to match vote tallies.
Amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases, exit polling found U.S. voters closely divided on whether U.S. efforts to contain the virus are going “well” or “badly.” At the same time, roughly twice as many voters said efforts to combat the pandemic have gone “very badly” than say they have gone “very well.”
Biden ahead among voters who said it was more important to contain coronavirus
Share of support among voters who said it is more important to contain the pandemic now, even if it hurts the economy
Voters were roughly divided over whether it is more important to contain the coronavirus or rebuild the economy, the exit poll results indicated. About half of voters said it is more important to contain the pandemic now, even if it hurts the economy, while 4 in 10 said that the rebuilding the economy is more important.
Biden leads Hispanic voters nationally, but Trump closed the gap in Florida
Share of support among Hispanic voters
Though Biden won the Latino vote 2 to 1 nationally in exit polls, the surveys suggested that Trump improved his standing among Latino voters in at least two key swing states since 2016. In both Florida and Georgia, the president increased his vote margin since his matchup with Hillary Clinton four years ago. In Florida, home to many Republican-leaning Cuban voters, Trump appeared to have pulled roughly even with Biden among Latinos as a larger group. In 2016, Clinton won Florida Latinos by 27 percentage points. Though Trump trailed Biden among Latinos in other states, including Texas and Virginia, polling indicates that in most of the battleground states, he lost no ground from 2016 and may have even made modest gains.
Trump continues to lead among White voters who attended some college or less
Share of support among White voters who attended some college or less
White voters without college degrees accounted for about one-third of the electorate nationally, the surveys indicated. Trump won about 6 in 10 of those voters nationally, a slight decline from his dominance with that group in 2016. The gap between the president and Biden was even wider in Georgia, Texas, Ohio and North Carolina, a state where those Whites without college degrees accounted for nearly four in 10 voters, the surveys found.
Women backed Biden more than Trump; men split vote evenly
Share of support among female voters
The male vote split roughly equally between Biden and Trump, according to the national survey, down from an 11-point lead that Trump had among the group in 2016. Among women, Biden led by double digits, similar to Clinton’s lead in 2016. In a national average of October polls, women favored Biden by 23 points.
Most voters decided before September, exit polls showed
Share of support among voters who decided before the last week
More than 7 in 10 voters said they decided which candidate to support for president before September, according to exit polling. There appear to be fewer late deciders than in 2016, when 13 percent of voters decided in the final week, a group that swung in Trump’s direction in key states. This year, with many ballots cast early, about 1 in 20 voters say they decided who to support in the past week.
Almost three-quarters of voters nationally said their candidate’s positions on the issues were more important to their vote, as opposed to their candidate’s personal qualities. Biden supporters said by about a 2-to-1 margin that issues were more important than personal qualities, and by about a 5-to-1 margin, Trump supporters said the same.
Exit polling in Pennsylvania found that most of the Keystone State’s voters had confidence that votes in their state will be counted accurately. About 8 in 10 said they were at least somewhat confident in this, while roughly a third said they were very confident in this.
In North Carolina, about 1 in 10 voters identified racism as the most important problem facing the United States, according to exit polls, a share that rose to about 1 in 4 among Black voters in the state. The topic played very differently among those North Carolinians voting for Biden than among those voting for Trump. When asked about the most important issue in their vote, about 4 in 10 among those backing Biden said racial inequality topped the list. For Trump voters, that issue barely registered, dwarfed by their focus on the economy.
About 1 in 10 voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania considered racism to be the most important problem facing the country, according to exit polling. But clear majorities — three-quarters or more in all three states — considered it to be an important problem. Biden voters in these states overwhelmingly said racism is an important problem; more than 9 in 10 Biden voters in Exit poll results by demographic group
Candidates who won a demographic group by six or more percentage points are highlighted.