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Biden and Trump campaign signs sit near voters lining up to cast their ballots at the Alafaya Branch Library in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 30, 2020.

RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images

The presidential election of 2020, shaped by a deadly pandemic and an evolving conflict over race and policing, reproduced the divisions of 2016 but with subtle shifts in the electoral map that put the Democrats in a favourable position.

Young people opted strongly for Joe Biden, as did minority groups, although Donald Trump made inroads among Black and Latino people. Male voters, who gave Mr. Trump his victory in 2016, turned slightly more often to the Democrats this time, as did voters in the suburbs. Women also voted slightly more often for Mr. Biden than they did for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and college-educated women gave him a resounding 30-point margin over Mr. Trump.


Biden urged supporters to be patient as he inches closer to U.S. election win, Trump persists with legal threats

The long fall of Donald Trump, and the people he met on the way down: An illustrated guide


But the urban-rural divide in America persists, as does the gulf between the highly educated and those without a college degree. The richest and poorest vote Democratic, while those in between vote Republican.

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Trump and Biden supporters seem to inhabit different realities: Whether one sees the economy as booming or faltering, or COVID-19 as a real or exaggerated threat, is closely linked to political affiliation. After a campaign that remains tense even in the counting phase, uniting a quarrelsome populace will pose a challenge for Mr. Biden, should he prevail.

“We have a divided country, everybody knows it,” said Jack Citrin, a professor of political science at the University of California Berkeley. “How to overcome that? Nobody really knows.”

A divided electorate

The 2020 presidential election in the United States was a contest split along race, gender and economic lines. The breakdown below uses data from AP VoteCast, a survey by The Associated Press that was conducted in all 50 states in the lead up to election night, to showcase the split in support between Democrats and Republicans.

National survey

Total interviews: 110,485

Margin of error: 0.4%

Biden

Trump

Political leaning

Dem.

Rep.

Total

95%

Democrat/Lean Dem

47%

Republican/Lean Rep

48

8

91

52

37

Independent

5

Gender

Men

47

46

52

55

44

Women

53

70

24

Other

1

Age and gender

18-29 men

6

55

41

18-29 women

7

64

33

50

47

30-44 men

11

30-44 women

12

58

40

43

55

45-64 men

17

52

47

45-64 women

19

43

56

65+ men

13

65+ women

15

52

47

70

24

All others

1

Education and gender

43

55

Non-college grad men

26

College-grad men

20

50

48

50

49

Non-college-grad women

34

College-grad women

19

64

34

All others

1

70

24

Race and gender

White men

36

39

59

46

52

White women

39

87

12

Black men

4

Black women

6

93

6

59

39

Latino men

4

Latino women

5

66

32

58

39

All others

6

Household income (2019)

53

45

Under $50,000

38

$50,000-$99,999

36

48

50

$100,000 or more

26

51

47

Settlement type

65

33

Urban

20

Suburban

45

54

44

43

55

Small town

17

33

65

Rural

18

When did you decide how you'd vote?

53

47

I've known all along

76

I decided over the course

of the campaign

47

48

19

I decided in the last few

days/Still haven't decided

38

51

5

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 due to third party

candidates not being included.

JOHN SOPINSKI and murat yükselir /

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

data via ap votecast

A divided electorate

The 2020 presidential election in the United States was a contest split along race, gender and economic lines. The breakdown below uses data from AP VoteCast, a survey by The Associated Press that was conducted in all 50 states in the lead up to election night, to showcase the split in support between Democrats and Republicans.

National survey

Total interviews: 110,485

Margin of error: 0.4%

Biden

Trump

Political leaning

Democrat

Republican

Total

Democrat/Lean Dem

47%

95%

Republican/Lean Rep

48

8

91

Independent

5

52

37

Gender

Men

47

46

52

Women

53

55

44

Other

1

70

24

Age and gender

18-29 men

6

55

41

18-29 women

7

64

33

30-44 men

11

50

47

30-44 women

12

58

40

45-64 men

17

43

55

45-64 women

19

52

47

65+ men

13

43

56

65+ women

15

52

47

All others

1

70

24

Education and gender

Non-college grad men

26

43

55

College-grad men

20

50

48

Non-college-grad women

34

50

49

College-grad women

19

64

34

All others

1

70

24

Race and gender

White men

36

39

59

White women

39

46

52

Black men

4

87

12

Black women

6

93

Latino men

4

59

39

Latino women

5

66

32

All others

6

58

39

Household income (2019)

Under $50,000

38

53

45

$50,000-$99,999

36

48

50

$100,000 or more

26

51

47

Settlement type

Urban

20

65

33

Suburban

45

54

44

Small town

17

43

55

Rural

18

33

65

When did you decide how you'd vote?

I've known all along

76

53

47

I decided over the course

of the campaign

19

47

48

I decided in the last few

days/Still haven't decided

5

38

51

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 due to third party

candidates not being included.

JOHN SOPINSKI and murat yükselir / THE GLOBE AND MAIL,

SOURCE: data via ap votecast

A divided electorate

The 2020 presidential election in the United States was a contest split along race, gender and economic lines. The breakdown below uses data from AP VoteCast, a survey by The Associated Press that was conducted in all 50 states in the lead up to election night, to showcase the split in support between Democrats and Republicans.

National survey

Total interviews: 110,485

Margin of error: 0.4%

Joe Biden

Donald Trump

Political leaning

Democrat

Republican

Total

Democrat/Lean Dem

47%

95%

4

Republican/Lean Rep

48

8

91

Independent

5

52

37

Gender

Men

47

46

52

Women

53

55

44

Other

1

70

24

Age and gender

18-29 men

6

55

41

18-29 women

7

64

33

30-44 men

11

50

47

30-44 women

12

58

40

45-64 men

17

43

55

45-64 women

19

52

47

65+ men

13

43

56

65+ women

15

52

47

All others

1

70

24

Education and gender

Non-college grad men

26

43

55

College-grad men

20

50

48

Non-college-grad women

34

50

49

College-grad women

19

64

34

All others

1

70

24

Race and gender

White men

36

39

59

White women

39

46

52

Black men

4

87

12

Black women

6

93

6

Latino men

4

59

39

Latino women

5

66

32

All others

6

58

39

Household income (2019)

Under $50,000

38

53

45

$50,000-$99,999

36

48

50

$100,000 or more

26

51

47

Settlement type

Urban

20

65

33

Suburban

45

54

44

Small town

17

43

55

Rural

18

33

65

When did you decide how you'd vote?

I've known all along

76

53

47

I decided over the course

of the campaign

19

47

48

I decided in the last few

days/Still haven't decided

5

38

51

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 due to third party candidates not being included.

JOHN SOPINSKI and murat yükselir / THE GLOBE AND MAIL,

SOURCE: data via ap votecast

Turnout was very high at more than 66.5 per cent of eligible voters, according to preliminary results, the highest rate in decades and a jump from 60.1 percent in 2016. Many pundits assumed that a higher turnout would favour the Democrats, but Mr. Trump also turned out millions of additional voters, a sign that his appeal remained stronger than many believed. The Democrats failed to take outright control of the Senate, with both races in Georgia looking as though they are headed for a runoff, and lost seats in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Trump made inroads into some important Democratic constituencies, particularly Black and Latino voters. His victory in Florida, for example, was helped by support from Hispanic voters, primarily those of Cuban and Venezuelan ancestry. In Texas, Democrats' hopes of turning the state blue were stopped in part by a surge of Latino support for Mr. Trump.

Richard Longoria, who teaches politics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, said he saw pro-Trump vehicle parades every weekend with mainly Latinos flying the flag.

“The most startling thing to me is that Trump increased [his support] with Hispanic voters. That’s especially the case here in Texas, from 30 per cent four years ago to 40 per cent this time,” Prof. Longoria said, referring to exit-poll results. “He didn’t get a majority but it was still surprising to see the level of support he was getting from Hispanics in the Rio Grande Valley.”

People participate in a dance party at Fort Greene Park, to celebrate gains made by Joe Biden and support the continued counting of ballots in the 2020 U.S. presidential election in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on Nov. 6, 2020.

CAITLIN OCHS/Reuters

He attributes a lot of that support to economic anxiety. Across the country, Mr. Trump fared best among voters in the middle-income bracket of between US$50,000 and US$100,000 a year in annual income. (Voting and opinion data for this article are drawn primarily from The Associated Press’s AP VoteCast survey, conducted by the non-partisan research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, which provides insight into the opinions and makeup of the U.S. electorate.)

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During the pandemic, as unemployment increased, it was low-wage workers, tradespeople, small-business owners and the service sector that were hit hardest.

“They didn’t want the economy to shut down and Trump’s opposition to lockdowns played well,” Prof. Longoria said.

The question of whether the pandemic is under control elicits starkly different responses. In the key state of Pennsylvania, for example, 83 per cent of Trump supporters said it’s at least somewhat under control. By contrast, 81 per cent of Biden supporters say it’s not at all under control.

Pennsylvania

Total interviews: 4,134

Margin of error: 1.8%

Biden

Trump

Education

Total

Dem.

Rep.

High school or less

35%

41%

57%

Some college/assoc. degree

28

48

50

College graduate

22

56

41

Postgraduate study

14

59

39

Minorities and education

Non-white non-college men

5

76

23

Non-white non-college women

6

82

16

Non-white college men

2

75

21

Non-white college women

2

81

17

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

data via ap votecast

Pennsylvania

Total interviews: 4,134

Margin of error: 1.8%

Joe

Trump

Education

Total

Dem.

Rep.

High school or less

35%

41%

57%

Some college/assoc. degree

28

48

50

College graduate

22

56

41

Postgraduate study

14

59

39

Minorities and education

Non-white non-college men

5

76

23

Non-white non-college women

6

82

16

Non-white college men

2

75

21

Non-white college women

2

81

17

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: data via ap votecast

Pennsylvania

Total interviews: 4,134

Margin of error: 1.8%

Joe Biden

Donald Trump

Education

Total

Democrat

Republican

High school or less

35%

41%

57%

Some college/assoc. degree

28

48

50

College graduate

22

56

41

Postgraduate study

14

59

39

Minorities and education

Non-white non-college men

5

76

23

Non-white non-college women

6

82

16

Non-white college men

2

75

21

Non-white college women

2

81

17

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: data via ap votecast

Similarly, 90 per cent of Trump supporters say they’re not concerned about the effects of climate change, compared with 68 per cent of Democrats who are either somewhat or very concerned. On the economy, 82 per cent of Trump supporters say it’s excellent or good, while 74 per cent of Biden supporters say it’s not so good or poor.

“People are living in different information universes. We might be next-door neighbours, but we’re going to different websites and our sources of information are starkly divergent. And so we have completely different views,” Prof. Longoria said.

In 1996, a greater proportion of voters with a college degree identified as Republicans. Today, the opposite is true. The Democrats are increasingly the party of the highly educated. Nationally, one of Mr. Trump’s strongest demographic segments was men without a college degree, where he got 55 per cent of the vote. Men with a college degree gave Mr. Biden a slight edge, and women with a degree were overwhelmingly pro-Biden, at 64 per cent.

Income often hews closely to education levels, which only partly explains Mr. Biden’s somewhat paradoxical advantage at both the top and bottom of the income spectrum. Nationally, those with household incomes under US$50,000 went for Mr. Biden by a margin of 53 to 45. While those with incomes of more than US$100,000 also went to Mr. Biden, by 51 to 47. But that margin likely owes much to higher-income Democratic districts in the northeast and California.

Mr. Trump fared well among the wealthiest in the most competitive states. In Arizona, for example, he led in the higher-income brackets, while in Georgia, he won the wealthiest segment by 53 to 46.

Arizona

Total interviews: 3,771

Margin of error: 2%

Biden

Trump

Household income (2019)

Dem.

Rep.

Total

Under $25,000

13%

51%

47%

$25,000-$49,999

25

53

45

$50,000-$74,999

21

55

44

$75,000-$99,999

17

47

51

24

45

52

$100,000 or more

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

data via ap votecast

Arizona

Total interviews: 3,771

Margin of error: 2%

Biden

Trump

Household income (2019)

Dem.

Rep.

Total

Under $25,000

13%

51%

47%

$25,000-$49,999

25

53

45

55

44

$50,000-$74,999

21

47

51

$75,000-$99,999

17

24

45

52

$100,000 or more

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: data via ap votecast

Arizona

Total interviews: 3,771

Margin of error: 2%

Joe Biden

Donald Trump

Household income (2019)

Democrat

Republican

Total

Under $25,000

13%

51%

47%

$25,000-$49,999

25

53

45

$50,000-$74,999

21

55

44

$75,000-$99,999

17

47

51

24

45

52

$100,000 or more

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: data via ap votecast

Race and racism have been dominant themes this election year. Spring and summer were marked by weeks of protests after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. It’s still not clear whether African-American voter turnout was higher in 2020 than in 2016, but it’s likely their votes may have turned the tide for the Democrats.

Across the country, 87 per cent of Black men and 93 per cent of Black women said they voted for Mr. Biden. In states such as Georgia, which mourned the late congressman and civil-rights leader John Lewis this year, much of the credit for an improbable Biden lead has gone to Stacey Abrams. Ms. Abrams was defeated in a race for state governor in 2018, but is credited, along with others, with registering as many as 800,000 new voters in the state.

Georgia

Total interviews: 3,291

Margin of error: 2.2%

Biden

Trump

Gender and race

Dem.

Rep.

Total

White men

32%

29%

70%

29

White women

31

69

87

Black men

11

Black women

18

95

No data

2

Latino men

Latino women

2

No data

4

50

48

All others

Gender, race and age

White 18-44 men

12%

33%

65%

36

White 18-44 women

11

61

26

White 45+ men

21

72

26

White 45+ women

21

73

74

7

23

Non-white 18-44 men

Non-white 18-44 women

10

87

80

8

19

Non-white 45+ men

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

data via ap votecast

Georgia

Total interviews: 3,291

Margin of error: 2.2%

Biden

Trump

Gender and race

Dem.

Rep.

Total

White men

32%

29%

70%

White women

31

29

69

Black men

11

87

Black women

18

95

2

Latino men

Data not available

Latino women

2

Data not available

4

50

48

All others

Gender, race and age

White 18-44 men

12%

33%

65%

White 18-44 women

11

36

61

White 45+ men

21

26

72

White 45+ women

21

26

73

7

74

23

Non-white 18-44 men

Non-white 18-44 women

10

87

8

80

19

Non-white 45+ men

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: data via ap votecast

Georgia

Total interviews: 3,291

Margin of error: 2.2%

Joe Biden

Donald Trump

Gender and race

Democrat

Republican

Total

White men

32%

29%

70%

White women

31

29

69

Black men

11

87

11

Black women

18

95

4

2

Data not available

Latino men

Latino women

2

Data not available

4

50

48

All others

Gender, race and age

White 18-44 men

12%

33%

65%

White 18-44 women

11

36

61

White 45+ men

21

26

72

White 45+ women

21

26

73

7

74

23

Non-white 18-44 men

Non-white 18-44 women

10

87

10

8

80

19

Non-white 45+ men

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: data via ap votecast

White voters make up a majority of the U.S. electorate, although their share of the population is shrinking over time. As of 2019, non-Hispanic white Americans made up 69 per cent of registered voters, down from 85 per cent in 1996, while Black and Hispanic voters each make up about 11 per cent of registered voters, according to the Pew Research Center.

In this election, white men backed Mr. Trump at 59 per cent, white women at 52 per cent, which gave him a shot at victory. And although the gains were not huge, Mr. Trump fared better than in 2016 among Black and Latino men in particular, where he got 12-per-cent and 39-per-cent support, respectively. He also received 39-per-cent support among “all others,” a category that includes Asian-Americans.

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But in the suburbs, where many elections are decided, Mr. Trump did not fare as well as in 2016. Some suburban white voters may have been turned off by some of his rhetoric around race, including his refusal to denounce white nationalists. Mr. Biden won urban voters by 32 points and suburban voters by 10 points, 54 to 44. In small town and rural America, meanwhile, which combined make up roughly 35 per cent of the electorate, Mr. Trump won 55-43 and 65-33, respectively.

In this Sept. 14, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump arrives for a Latinos for Trump Coalition roundtable at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press

As in many Western countries, the U.S. population is aging. During this election cycle, the median age of voters crossed 50 for the first time. A little more than half the electorate, 52 per cent, are aged 50 and older, a demographic more likely to lean Republican than Democratic.

And the divide in voting by age is stark: Anyone born before Jimmy Carter was elected was more likely to vote for Mr. Trump. The youngest voters, those between 18 and 29, chose Mr. Biden, by a margin of 61 per cent to 36 per cent. The next youngest segment, those aged 30 to 44, were 54 to 43 in Mr. Biden’s favour. But the older categories, most notably the baby boomers, their elders and some of Generation X, were 51 to 48 in Mr. Trump’s favour.

Prof. Citrin said the pandemic was a decisive factor in giving Mr. Biden his lead at this stage. Most importantly, it changed the way people voted, vastly increasing the number of absentee and mail-in ballots that were cast. That process encouraged a rush of organizing and get-out-the-vote efforts among Democrats that was rewarded in narrow state races.

Interestingly, those who say they made up their minds late in the campaign swung toward Mr. Trump, who won about 51 per cent of those votes. He also had a significant edge in election-day ballots cast in person.

“COVID elected Joe Biden, not exclusively because of concerns about the virus, although that helped. But organizing around absentee balloting helped the Democrats,” Prof. Citrin said.

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“There was a shift in the last period of time, who knows why, toward Trump. But if you voted before, none of that affects you.”

Joe Biden is closing in on becoming the next U.S. president. Washington correspondent Adrian Morrow discusses if a Biden presidency can bridge the divide in American politics when the two sides can’t agree on a set of shared facts on key issues like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Globe and Mail

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