The 2020 religion vote

Daniel A. Cox November 6, 2020

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

An illustration of the main street of a small town. There is a market, library, cafe, gym, and restaurant. People are walking on the sidewalk, are inside the buildings, and there is a car going down the street.

Daniel A. Cox, Ryan Streeter, Samuel J. Abrams, Beatrice Lee, Dana Popky
October 20, 2021

Public places and commercial spaces: How neighborhood amenities foster trust and connection in American communities

The 2021 American Community Life Survey illuminates the state of communities in America and documents some of the hidden benefits neighborhoods offer to residents.

Daniel A. Cox, Nat Malkus
September 22, 2021

Controversy and Consensus: Perspectives on Race, Religion, and COVID-19 in Public Schools

The August 2021 American Perspectives Survey reveals surprising consensus and controversy on American attitudes towards COVID-19, race, and religion in public schools.

A help wanted sign is posted at a taco stand in Solana Beach, California, U.S., July 17, 2017.

Brent Orrell, Daniel A. Cox
July 15, 2021

The great American jobs reshuffle

The June 2021 American Perspectives Survey (APS) finds that people’s work arrangements and preferences, unemployment experiences, and career aspirations are changing as workers navigate the new post-pandemic labor market.

3 friends having coffee time on a terrace

Daniel A. Cox
June 8, 2021

The state of American friendship: Change, challenges, and loss

The May 2021 American Perspectives Survey finds that Americans report having fewer close friendships than they once did, talking to their friends less often, and relying less on their friends for personal support.

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