New Pew analysis of 2020 election

There are many interesting features about the 2020 election, especially the way that various demographic groups voted that do not quite fit into a simple picture. Analyses of voting patterns in the election keep coming in. One of the most comprehensive is a new one by the Pew organization.

Every piece of evidence since the November election suggests Donald Trump made significant inroads among blocs of voters thought to be out of reach to the controversial now-former president.

And he still lost the popular vote by roughly twice the margin he did in 2016 — enough for Joe Biden to flip five states Trump won and capture the Electoral College.

A new analysis from the Pew Research Center shows why: Even as Trump was narrowing Democrats’ margins with white women and Hispanic voters, Biden was surging with other groups, like suburbanites, white men and voters who identified as independents, that propelled him to victory.

According to the Pew analysis, Trump won white voters by 12 percentage points, 55 percent to 43 percent, down from 15 points in 2016. Biden narrowed Trump’s margin among white men — from 30 points in 2016, to 17 points in 2020 — but Trump won white women by a larger spread (7 points) than he won them in 2016 (2 points).

Meanwhile, Biden held steady among Black voters, carrying them by an 84-point spread (92 percent to 8 percent), virtually identical to Hillary Clinton’s 85-point lead four years ago.

But Biden only won Hispanic voters by 21 points, 59 percent to 38 percent, down significantly from Clinton’s 38-point advantage, 66 percent to 28 percent. There was a slight gender gap — Biden won Hispanic men by 17 and Hispanic women by 24 — but Trump surged broadly among Hispanics, especially among Hispanic voters without a college degree.

You can read the Pew report here.


  1. jws1 says

    Tabby, it goes something like this: “he doesn’t mean ‘me’ because I’m one of the ‘good ones’.”

  2. consciousness razor says

    Tabby Lavalamp:
    The two candidates from the major parties could both be held responsible for much of that harm, and people in demographics which are hurt the most nonetheless continue to vote … just like everybody else does. The only other options are voting for a “third-party” candidate (an uncommon choice for every large demographic) or not voting (very common, especially for those who are hurt the most). So no matter what, they’re going to have to do something that seems at least a little mystifying, because it’s not actually a choice that they were able to tailor to their own personal interests in the first place.

    It’s also kind of confusing, if you think about it, why rich white men behave the way they do. It’s definitely not like they’re making good or reasonable political choices, while everyone else is being dumb or irresponsible or whatever. Because it’s not the case that the most “understandable” way to vote is to make the choice that you perceive to be the maximally greedy or myopic one, or something along those lines. Assuming you can even make sense of whether Bad Choice #1 and Bad Choice #2 would probably offer that, it still doesn’t follow that this is the kind of evaluation anyone should be making in the voting booth.


    Some of the largest differences between voters and nonvoters are seen on education and income. College graduates made up 39% of all voters in 2020 (about the same as in 2016) but only 17% of nonvoters. Adults with a high school education or less were 29% of all voters but half of nonvoters.

    I wish they would’ve said more about how those factors break down by race, gender, age, religion, and the other demographic identifiers they used. It’s not very illuminating to talk about racial minority groups (for example) as one big homogeneous blob who swing this way or that way, while doing much more to differentiate between whites who do or don’t have a college degree.

    I understand that whites are a much larger chunk of the population in basically every state (especially those who are poorer and/or don’t have a degree), so they have a much bigger effect on the outcome. But for these purposes, it’s not really about the election as a whole or which way it happened to go. The point is to try to make more sense of why these demographic shifts seem to be occurring in this or that group, so that’s the specific data that needs to be analyzed more closely.

  3. A Lurker from Mexico says

    @Tabby Lavalamp

    I will never understand how Trump increased his margins in some of the demographics he hurt the most.

    The main reason is that you are thinking about it in excessively broad demographic terms. Latinos are not a monolith. Cuban and Venezuelan descendants tend to have a bit of a phobia for the left wing where it doesn’t matter how much centrist or actual right-wing pandering Biden does, he’s still “left-wing” therefore “communist” therefore “evil”. So that portion of the hispanic electorate might actually not be gettable by democrats.

    Secondly is that democrats main appeal to hispanics is immigration. Since only american citizens get to vote, that is guaranteed to NOT be a personal issue for the voter. At most you are appealing to hispanic american citizens with undocumented friends and family, and that isn’t as much of a common experience as you might think it is. For the most part, hispanics who are american citizens seem to have similar concerns to any blue collar white american. As much of a bullshit artist as Trump was, Biden didn’t really offer much on that front other than the whole “I’m not Trump”.

    Plus, to the extent to which the suffering of migrants is of concern of hispanic voters, democrats have had too much of a hand in said suffering, as consciousness razor mentioned in his comment.

    Democrats seem to be banking on the growing hispanic population to maybe turn Texas blue and give them a lock on political power in the future, but the latino vote is not pleged to the democratic party, and if the party doesn’t want to acknowledge that their hold on the demographic is way more slippery than they thought they’ll be setting themselves up for a rude awakening.

  4. Matt G says

    I chalk it up to egotism and self-protection. My successes are due to MY efforts, and my failures are somebody else’s fault. If I’m on welfare, it’s because I deserve it, but those other (lazy, stupid, etc) people over there don’t deserve it. Also, if I’m not a white, straight, cis, Christian male (i.e., the people with power), they will accept me if I show my support for their views.

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