The 2020 religion vote

November 6, 2020 Daniel A. Cox

Religious voters lined up behind their preferred candidates in familiar ways in the 2020 presidential election, but there were some notable shifts as well. First, according AP’s Vote Cast, 81 percent of white evangelical Protestants voted for Donald Trump, the same as 2016 when Trump received 81 percent of their vote.

Jewish voters who have consistently supported Democratic candidates by large margins did so again this year. Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) Jewish voters cast a ballot for Joe Biden this year, while 31 percent voted for Trump. Despite Biden’s strong showing, he did not improve on Clinton’s performance in 2016 when 71 percent of Jewish voters supported her.

The Catholic vote, as it is in nearly every election, was almost evenly split. Trump received 50 percent and Biden received 49 percent of the Catholic vote. However, Trump won white Catholics handily beating Biden by a 14-point margin (57 percent to 42 percent, respectively). Despite Trump’s strong showing among white Catholics, Biden’s support among white Catholics was an improved from Clinton’s four years earlier when only 37 percent of white Catholics voted for the Democratic candidate.

Biden had a strong showing among unaffiliated voters, who made up nearly one-quarter of the electorate in 2020. Seventy-two percent of religiously unaffiliated voters supported Biden, while about one in four (26 percent) voted for Trump. Biden’s margin among religiously unaffiliated voters was significantly higher than Clinton’s in 2016. That year two-thirds (67 percent) of unaffiliated voters supported Clinton. In fact, Biden’s support among unaffiliated voters was higher than any previous Democratic candidate since Bill Clinton — with the exception of Obama’s 2008 election when we won the unaffiliated voters 75 percent vs. 23 percent.

Survey Reports

Daniel A. Cox, Karlyn Bowman, Jacqueline Clemence
November 18, 2020

Hopes and challenges for community and civic life: Perspectives from the nation and Indiana

The coronavirus outbreak has created tensions between urban Americans hit harder by the virus and small towns and rural communities. Despite these disparities, recently released surveys find that before coronavirus, Americans express many of the same ideas and priorities regarding their communities, revealing we may not be as divided as one might think.

Daniel A. Cox, John Halpin
October 13, 2020

Conspiracy theories, misinformation, COVID-19, and the 2020 election

The September 2020 American Perspectives Survey tested various existing conspiracy theories about politics and misconceptions about public health to ascertain overall support for these ideas and examine whether demographic or partisan backgrounds are associated with greater propensity to accept or reject certain theories.

Daniel A. Cox, Ryan Streeter, Samuel J. Abrams, Jacqueline Clemence
September 30, 2020

Socially distant: How our divided social networks explain our politics

The American National Social Network Survey is designed to help us understand how the nature of personal networks and relationships conditions personal behavior and influences decisions.

Daniel A. Cox
July 15, 2020

STEM perspectives: Attitudes, opportunities, and barriers in America’s STEM workforce

In a survey of STEM graduates, our scholars explore opinions of the STEM field, career satisfaction, and why some STEM degree holders have exited the field.