How much do Americans actually like the candidate they’re voting for?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
October 17, 2020, 1:00 PM UTC

New Economist / YouGov data shows Joe Biden supporters like their candidate more as a person than supporters of President Donald Trump do, by 80% to 66%. 

Trump supporters are notably more ambivalent toward their candidate than Biden backers, with 21% saying they neither like nor dislike the president, while another 11% actively dislike him. 

They are also less scornful of Biden than the Democrat’s supporters are of Trump.  

The vast majority (89%) of Biden’s supporters unsurprisingly dislike the president, while 8% neither like nor dislike him and a marginal number (3%) like him. By contrast a relatively low 65% of Trump supporters say they dislike the former vice president. A quarter (27%) neither like nor dislike him, and 3% actively like him. 

Among Biden’s own supporters, only 16% are ambivalent toward their candidate and just 4% dislike him. 

Trump has long been disliked by the American public, likely a result of his brash and divisive style of politics. Among registered voters this week, Trump has a net likeability rating of -24. Biden’s net favorability is much better, at +9. Trump, however, is more likely to be seen as a strong leader than his opponent. 

Meanwhile, Economist/ YouGov data shows Trump’s vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence is significantly more likable than Trump is among those poised to re-elect the president. While two-thirds of Trump’s voters actually like Trump, 82% like Pence, while 13% are undecided.  

Pence is also more liked by Trump voters than Kamala Harris is among Biden voters. While 77% of Biden supporters like his running mate, another 15% are on the fence, and 4% don’t like her. 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between October 11 - 13, 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 4% for the overall sample.

Image: Getty