America Speaks: Which domestic issue will dominate the 2020 election?

September 10, 2020, 6:22 PM UTC

The 2020 Presidential election will be dominated by domestic issues. 

More than three quarters (77%) of Americans think domestic issues will be more important than foreign policy in the upcoming election, according to the results of a recent YouGov survey.

But which particular domestic issues are most important to Americans?

We asked our Chat users to go deeper on the subject and tell us their thoughts. You can share your views on what will dominate the 2020 election here.

Covid-19. If we don't get it under control, all else will be as nothing”

When we asked Chat users to tell us which particular domestic issue will be the most important in the upcoming election, the overwhelming answer was COVID-19. Over half of the 4,591 comments revolved around the coronavirus outbreak and its effect on the nation (55%). “Confronting the Coronavirus pandemic” wrote one user in response to our question. “A national response to COVID-19” wrote another. 

“Opening up the economy, stupid!” 

The other domestic issue at the forefront of Chat users’ minds was the economy. More than one in five (22%) mentioned their concerns about the economic recovery, the recession and rising unemployment as the main reason why domestic issues will be more important than foreign policy this fall. One user wrote “although I am retired, I think economic issues and returning to work will be most important”. Another argued that “bringing jobs back to America to stabilize our economy” was the most pressing domestic point-in-question right now. 

Many users saw the question of COVID-19 and the economy as closely linked. “The economy will be front and center and will include the pandemic” wrote one user. Another reasoned that “there are two issues that are deeply intertwined: the government’s response to the pandemic, and the economic tragedy facing a large number of Americans.”

Ending centuries of systematic racism”

Rounding out the top three most mentioned domestic issues was the subject of race relations. “Anything that ties into racism: the injustice system, economic opportunity, education, healthcare” was a sentiment reiterated by many users. 

In their answers users paid particular attention towards the protests against police brutality taking place across America right now, albeit with varying opinions on who was responsible for the violence occuring at them. “Whoever vows to end the rioting and anarchy by whatever force necessary gets my vote” wrote one user. Another listed “..systemic racism, the president not understanding the constitution and subverting it, abuse of rule of law, turning police on peaceful protestors” as the most important domestic issue during this election. 

Other domestic issues frequently raised by Chat users included voter suppression, healthcare and social security.   

“There are too many to pick just one issue”

A number of domestic issues were rarely mentioned by Chat users, offering some insight into which topics are not at the forefront of voters' attention right now. For example, neither taxes, gun control nor the environment were each cited more than 40 times in the 4,591 responses. Comments advocating for bipartisanship (such as “republicans and democrats working together for the good of our country”) were also light.

YouGov Chat also asks participants to consider the other side of the debate. Users that think domestic issues will dominate the 2020 election said the most pressing area foreign policy this fall will be “relations with China” (39%). A further 22 percent picked “relations with Russia”. This data is not yet weighted. 

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Everyday, members of YouGov Chat are asked to share their opinion on a topic in the news. We allow anyone to take part in these chats, and do not display or weight results in real-time. Instead, to make the experience informative but still interactive, the Chat displays weighted data from YouGov Direct to show them how the rest of the country voted. This enables us to pose the question to all, while retaining data accuracy and validity when communicating results.

YouGov Chat seeks to add to the ‘what?’ (the quantitative poll result) by finding the ‘why?” (qualitative open ends) in a member’s own words. Learn more about YouGov Chat here.  

Image: Getty