2020 election exit polls show economy, climate change, coronavirus among voters' top issues

Exit polls include numbers from early voters and absentee voters.

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 04 November 2020 02:19 GMT
Biden V Trump: US election opinion polls

Early exit polling is providing some insight into the issues that drove voters to the polls on Tuesday.

According to an Edison Research survey and data from a CNN exit poll, the economy, the coronavirus and climate change were the issues most influencing voters' presidential preference.

About a third of voters ranked the economy as the most important issue to them, according to the preliminary results from national and state exit polls.

About two in 10 said coronavirus or racial equality issues were their top concern.

About three in 10 supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said the coronavirus was a greater concern for them than the economy. Only 5 per cent of Donald Trump voters shared that sentiment, with 7 in 10 saying that rebuilding the economy should be the nation's top priority.

Those voters said it should take precedence even over the containment of the virus.

However – at least according to CNN's results – seven in 10 voters said that they felt wearing a mask was a public health responsibility more than a personal choice, which suggests some bipartisan agreement on a coronavirus-related issue.

A majority of respondents said they were experiencing some financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus, though 4 in 10 claimed they were better off today than they were four years ago.

About half of the respondents said they thought the economy was struggling.

Another unexpected issue that appears to have drawn bipartisan concern is climate change; two-thirds of voters in the CNN exit survey said they viewed climate change as a serious problem.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that a candidate's views on the issues was the most important factor in determining their vote. Fewer than a quarter of respondents said that a candidate's personal qualities were their primary driver for voting.

CNN's survey suggests there is a high level of new voter participation this year. Approximately one in eight people say this is the first year that they've ever voted.

Both CNN and Edison Research's exit polls included data from early voters, both those who voted in person and those who cast mail-in ballots.

The results are drawn from a combination of those interviews and interviews with voters just after leaving the ballot box.

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