The reports of massive early voting – as the totals reported creep up towards 100 million who have already voted – give an edge to the Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, as we head into Election Day.
In the latest (and final) Economist/YouGov poll before the election, Biden continues to hold a ten-point lead nationally over President Donald Trump among likely voters, and he has dominated among those who have cast a ballot already. The President’s voters are more likely to say they will be voting in person on Tuesday.
Questions remain: Are there enough Election Day voters to override this early vote preference? Will the early votes all be counted, and how many will be rejected because of voter errors – or late arrival?
Those who voted by mail do run the risk of having ballots rejected. However, virtually none of those who voted by mail described the process as difficult, and 93% said it was either easy or convenient.
Vote by mail is the dominant way of voting in the West (which has the largest number of states with all-mail voting). Early in-person voting is more prominent in the South than either vote by mail or election day voting. Nine in ten early in-person voters nationally waited less than an hour to vote – but one in ten had to wait more than an hour, with longer waits in the South more likely than in other regions.
One in 20 voters who have yet to cast a ballot say they don’t know where their polling place is, suggesting that some day-of-election voters may not make it to vote tomorrow.
Will anything keep those who have yet to vote from the polling places tomorrow? Some are concerned about COVID-19 and the threat of violence at polling places. Both are more of a concern to Biden voters than to the President’s supporters, however.
The level of concern is about the same in all regions of the country.
Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between October 31 - November 2, 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 3.0% for the overall sample.