Exit polls in the 2020 U.S. presidential election

Exit polling

Polling the polls

A look at who voted and whom they voted for in the 2020 U.S. presidential election

The outcome of the close U.S. presidential election hung in the balance well after polls closed on Election Day, as key states continued to tally their votes hours later.

The 2020 election is one of the most unusual in the country’s history, set against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in an unprecedented number of ballots being cast early and by mail.

Who voted for whom?

While votes are still being counted and the election result remains up in the air, preliminary polling data offer a look into how voters shifted in this election.

Based on preliminary data from the Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Nov. 3, Biden made significant gains with male voters and voters older than 55, groups that in 2016 supported Trump more than they did Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate.

Black and Hispanic voters shifted toward Trump compared to the previous election, although both groups still supported Biden more than they did Trump. White voters, while still supporting Trump more overall, shifted toward Biden.

The charts above show the difference in percentage points between support for the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. The differences highlight the shift in support within each demographic group.

Remember, because demographic groups vary in size – for example, there are more white voters than Black voters in the United States – a percentage point difference in white voters’ support represents a larger shift in terms of votes than the same point difference in Black voters’ support.

Faith in the electoral process

U.S. election officials are dealing with a series of challenges this year that are shaking some Americans’ confidence in the electoral process.

The president has repeatedly questioned the integrity of U.S. elections, arguing that the process is “rigged” against him and asserting without evidence that the surge in mail-in voting this year will increase the likelihood of voter fraud.

A majority of voters said they were concerned about election fraud, while about as many thought the election might be “rigged” as didn’t.

How will Americans react?

Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if the vote count indicates he has lost.

Worried about possible violence after the election, some Americans were forming community watch groups and working on conflict de-escalation. Others were purchasing guns, according to two dozen voters, online groups and data surveyed by Reuters.

However, a majority of voters polled by Reuters/Ipsos said they would accept the results and support the president regardless of which candidate wins.




Reuters/IPSOS preliminary polling data; polling conducted on Nov 3, 2020, with a sample size of 43,717 and a credibility interval of 1 pct. pt.

Editing by

Jon McClure and Sonya Hepinstall