PollerCoaster 2020: Election News

Crooked Media/Change Research Poll of National Likely Voters: October 23-24, 2020

Key Insights

  • Biden leads 51-43. 57% say they’ve already voted. 5% of those who haven’t voted — 2% of the entire electorate — are undecided. 
  • Voters are incredibly tuned in to news about the election. More than 9 in 10 voters are following news about the election closely, including 69% very closely. Several individual stories are familiar to more than 80% of voters.
  • The coverage people are seeing about Biden are mostly positive; the stories about Trump are overwhelmingly negative. Even among Trump voters, they’re seeing as much negative coverage of Trump as positive.

State of the Race

Biden leads 51-43. 2% plan to support third-party candidates, 2% are undecided, and the remainder voted early, but either didn’t cast a vote for President or don’t recall how they voted. 

Here’s how Biden’s lead breaks down by 2016 vote:

  • He leads 92-3 among those who voted for Clinton
  • Trump leads 92-5 among those who voted for him in 2016
  • Biden leads 44-31 among those who voted third party in 2016
  • Biden leads 57-32 among those who did not vote in 2016

Among key groups:

  • There’s a 19-point gender gap: Biden leads by 17 among women, while Trump is up 2 among men.
  • Biden leads among all age groups except 50-64-year-olds, who are virtually tied, with Trump at 49, Biden 48.
  • Trump is up 95-3 among Republicans who list Fox News as a top source, and 81-12 among Republicans who don’t.
  • Biden leads 61-34 with urban voters, 56-38 among those in the suburbs, and trails 37-59 among rural voters. Compared with self-reported 2016 votes, Biden has gained 6 points compared to Hillary Clinton’s margin with urban voters, 3 points among those in the suburbs, and 6 points among rural voters.

Biden’s & Harris’s favorability is even; Trump & Pence’s are negative. Biden is at 48% favorable, 48% unfavorable; Harris is essentially the same, at 47-48. Trump is 12 points underwater (43% favorable, 55% unfavorable), while Pence is at 42-52.

Trump’s approval is underwater overall and on COVID, and is even on the economy. 45% approve of Trump’s overall performance, as well as his handling of the pandemic. 50% approve of the job he’s done on the economy.

By a 50-43 margin, voters want Democrats to control the Senate. 4% of each party’s voters want the other party to have control. 9% of independents who lean toward neither party want whichever party does not win the presidential election to control the Senate. 

74% of presidential voters have always known who they’d vote for; 14% decided between March and August. Among voters who always knew, Biden’s lead is only 52-46. If people’s answers about when they decided are accurate, his lead significantly increased in the spring: among the 8% who decided between March and May, Biden leads 69-20. An additional 6% decided over the summer (Biden leads among them, 59-39). 2% say they decided after the conventions, another 2% after the first debate, 3% in the first three weeks of October, and 2% since Thursday’s debate. 4% say they haven’t fully made up their mind.

What Voters Are Hearing

On a multiple-choice question, people say they’re hearing most about SCOTUS, the debate, early voting turnout, and the COVID spike. The top two issues — SCOTUS and the debate — were selected roughly equally by Biden and Trump voters. The biggest partisan gap was on Trump’s Chinese bank account, which only 19% of Trump voters but 75% of Biden voters had heard at least a decent amount about. On the other hand, Trump voters were disproportionately more likely to have heard at least a decent amount about Hunter Biden’s dealings: 85% of Trump voters and 54% of Biden voters had heard at least a decent amount.

Though there was some variation on which stories broke through among which demographics, the one story that disproportionately reached a specific audience was AOC/Ilhan Omar’s Twitch stream. 44% of voters under 35 had heard at least a decent amount about it; no other age group was above 14%. And 20% of all Latinx voters heard a lot about it.

Though Chris Pratt’s views aren’t the entertainment story of the century, it’s notable that not even 20% of voters have heard about any of the stories about anything other than American politics, while over 80% are paying close attention to the election and the pandemic.

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Change Research conducted a poll of 1,125 likely voters nationally from October 23-24, 2020. The margin of error, as traditionally calculated, is ±3%. Change Research reaches voters via targeted online ads that point people to an online survey instrument and via text to web from a voter file sample. Our Dynamic Online Sampling establishes and continuously rebalances advertising targets across region, age, gender, race, and partisanship to dynamically deliver large samples that accurately reflect the demographics of a population. Post stratification was done on age, gender, race, education, region and urbanicity, and 2016 presidential vote.