Exit polls 2020: Voters divided over top issues in their vote for president, early CNN national exit poll shows


About one-third called the economy their most critical issue, while roughly 1 in 5 citing racial inequality and about 1 in 6 named the coronavirus pandemic as most important to their vote. Roughly 1 in 10 each cited health care policy and crime and violence as their top issue.

Even though more cited the economy than coronavirus as their most important issue in choosing a candidate, a narrow majority say that the nation’s priority now should be containing the coronavirus over rebuilding the economy.

That finding comes as most voters feel the nation’s efforts to contain the virus are going badly. With coronavirus cases rising in many states, nearly 7 in 10 voters say they view wearing a face mask as a public health responsibility more than as a personal choice.

Views on all things coronavirus divide voters based on political leanings. President Donald Trump’s supporters are far more likely to call the economy their top issue (about 6 in 10 of the President’s supporters say so) than to cite coronavirus (just 5% feel that way), while among former Vice President Joe Biden’s supporters, more cite coronavirus (around 3 in 10) than the economy (about 1 in 10).

Roughly 7 in 10 Trump backers say rebuilding the economy should be the nation’s priority over containing the spread of the virus, while among Biden supporters, nearly 8 in 10 go the other way, saying that containing the coronavirus should be the bigger priority.

About half of voters say the nation’s economy is in poor shape, though more say they are better off today than four years ago (around 4 in 10) than say they are worse off today (2 in 10). Still, a majority say they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters largely found the experience of casting their ballots to be an easy one, though there is a wide gap between the share of White voters who say it was very easy (roughly three-quarters) and the share of Black voters who feel the same way (about half). About half overall say they are very confident that votes in their states will be accurately cast and counted, about the same as four years ago.

With a tidal wave of early and absentee voters this year, very few made up their minds in the final days of the contest: Just 4% say they made up their minds in the final week of the campaign, and almost three-quarters said they made up their minds before September.

The survey suggests a high level of new voter participation. About 1 in 8 say 2020 is the first year they have ever voted, about on par with the share saying so in 2008.

CNN Exit Polls are a combination of in-person interviews with Election Day voters and telephone polls measuring the views of absentee by-mail and early voters, and were conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the National Election Pool. In-person interviews on Election Day were conducted at a random sample of 115 polling locations nationwide among 7,774 Election Day voters. The results also include 4,919 interviews with early and absentee voters conducted by phone. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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