Biden supporters increasingly opting to vote in-person as election day nears

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
October 02, 2020, 2:46 PM UTC

Some backers of Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden have scrapped their plans to mail-in their ballot, and instead will vote in-person before election day. 

According to ongoing data collected by the Economist / YouGov Poll, about three in five (59%) of Biden’s voting base planned to vote by mail at the beginning of August. That figure has decreased to 51% this week. 

At the same time, the percentage of Biden’s supporters planning to vote in-person before November 3 has increased from 14% to 27%, possibly as a result of increased concern their vote won’t be counted. About one in five (22%) will vote in-person on election day. 

For months, voting by mail has been a partisan issue: in the most recent Economist / YouGov Poll, Biden supporters are far more likely than Trump supporters to approve of the practice (88% vs. 32%). In a previous poll from August, Trump supporters voiced more concern than Biden backers over the ability of the United States Postal Service to do its job, and show more worry about ballots getting delivered on time and whether they’ll be counted accurately. 

President Trump has repeatedly raised the specter of a “rigged” election as a result of the influx of mail-in ballots. While only 16% of registered voters have a “great deal” of confidence the election will be held fairly, that figure is even lower among Trump voters at just 10%. 

Registered voters who plan to cast their ballot by mail are about twice as likely as those who plan to vote in-person on election day to have a “great deal” of confidence that the election will be held fairly (23% vs. 12%). Conversely, those who plan to vote in-person on November 3 are more than three times more likely than those who plan to vote by mail to have no confidence at all (13% vs. 4%). 

Meanwhile, there is little change in intended voting method among Trump supporters since August most (58%) will vote in-person on election day. Fewer than a quarter (22%) intend to vote by mail, and 20% say they will vote in-person in advance. 

Related findings: 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between September 27 – 30, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.8% for the overall sample. 

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