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American Consumers “Worried” as Election Approaches

October 15, 2020

5 min read

How are Americans feeling as the presidential election approaches? Attest is a great tool for taking a quick temperature check with consumers. 

So we carried out a nationwide survey*, with the aim of uncovering Americans’ thoughts, feelings and emotions as November 3 draws nearer. 

The overriding theme to emerge from the research is one of worry and concern – let’s delve a bit deeper into the results… 

*nationally representative sample of 2,000 working-age Americans. 

Americans’ biggest fears

We asked people how they’re feeling about the election, and just under 32% said they feel “worried”. That makes worry the emotion people are most likely to be feeling right now (check out the interactive results below).  

So what are they worried about? The potential for civil unrest is a concern for 44% of respondents. It’s a fear recently voiced by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who warns there is a particularly high risk between election night and when the winner is declared.

Like Zuckerberg, 37% of Americans worry that the election results will take a long time to be finalised. However, others are concerned platforms like Facebook could influence the outcome; 39% think social media might be used to sway voters.

On the other hand, 42% are worried that postal votes could be rigged or tampered with – President Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine confidence in mail-in voting and it looks like this fear is taking hold. More than half (55%) of people planning to vote Republican are concerned about it. 

Trump has urged his supporters to vote in person – this is despite rising numbers of coronavirus cases across the country. A third of Americans are worried about the risk of coronavirus transmission at polling locations. But when we break the results down, we see this concern is much higher among Democratic voters; 44% are worried about COVID-19 versus 20% of Republican voters. 

Democrats are feeling the strain 

Supporters of the two main parties are experiencing very different emotions right now. Those who say they will vote Democratic are most likely to say they are worried (37%) and stressed (29%), while those who say they will vote Republican are most likely to be feeling excited (31%) and optimistic (28%). 

When asked why they feel that way, answers from Democrats included: “Because Trump is stirring up and empowering racist and antisemitic groups” and “Trump said he would not accept the result if he lost.” 

On the other side, Republicans said: “I will be voting for the man that has worked hard for me to continue to enjoy the freedom that we, the American people, have” and “I’m excited to have Trump pull us out of the crisis.”

A nation divided

National polls show Joe Biden in the lead and our data does too, but the margin is not huge and a group of as-yet-undecided voters could swing it either way. 

Out of the respondents to our survey, 38% say they intend to vote Democratic, while 34% will vote Republican. A further 8% haven’t made up their mind yet. These undecided voters over-index for feeling confused.

When asked why they feel that way, responses included: “I’m very unsure which people in the government are actually working ‘for the people’. They all seem in some ways to be just greedy” and “I feel like people are more voting for VP because of the presidential candidates’ ages.”

Many voters seem unconvinced by either candidate, but whose campaign has been more persuasive so far? 21% of respondents voting for Biden didn’t vote Democratic last time, while 21% voting for Trump didn’t vote Republican last time. This means they’re level pegging in terms of winning over new supporters. However, we do see that people who didn’t vote in the last presidential election are more likely to support Biden this time (12% versus 9%).

The non-voters

While political observers predict a major surge in overall participation, our data shows that 8.5% of people will still abstain from voting. The main reason for this is that they don’t support any of the parties or candidates (26%). 

A further 20% aren’t voting because they don’t believe the politicians will keep their promises, and 16% don’t think their vote will make a difference. 

Meanwhile, others are not voting because they can’t; 17.5% are not eligible and 16% are eligible but not registered. Not having a valid ID is one barrier to registration and this often applies to people in lower income households. 57% of those who said they were eligible to vote but not registered have an annual income of less than $15k. 

Then there are the logistical barriers to voting, such as not being able to take time off work or not having transportation to go to the polling station; 4% of respondents say they aren’t voting because it’s inconvenient or logistically difficult. 


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