Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ final US national voting intention poll before Tuesday’s Presidential Election was conducted among 10,098 US adults and finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 12%, an increase of 2% since last week. Altogether, our final results (with changes from October 25-26 in parentheses) are as follows:

Joseph R. Biden (Democrat) 53% (+2)

Donald J. Trump (Republican) 41% (–)

Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) 1% (–)

Howie Hawkins (Green) 1% (–)

Other (Another Third Party/Write-In) 1% (–)

Don’t Know 3% (-2)

Likelihood to vote increased by 5 points, with 77% this week saying they have already voted or are certain to vote. With just days to go until Election Day, 43% say they have already voted, compared to 33% last week. The percentage of those voting for Joe Biden who say they have already voted increased by 11% from 44% to 55%. Among respondents saying they were voting for Donald Trump, this percentage increased by 8 points from 29% to 37%.

While Joe Biden voters are significantly more likely to have cast their ballot at this stage, only 24% of those voting for the Democratic nominee intend to vote in person on election day (a slight increase of 1 point since last week), compared to 50% who say they will vote by mail  By contrast, 44% of likely Donald Trump voters will vote in person, on election day (a slight decrease of 1 point since last week), and only 27% say they are voting by mail. A similar proportion (25-26%) of each candidate’s voters say they will vote in person, prior to election day. Clicking on the first chart in this write up, above, will allow you to see how the voting intention results will look by means of voting.

Postal Voting

Among those voting by mail, 83% say they have sent their completed and signed ballot to their county’s Board of Elections, increasing from 70% last week. Notably, 4% have requested their ballot but have not yet received it in the mail, while 3% have not yet requested their ballot. A further 10% have received their ballot but are yet to complete it or send it to their county’s Board of Elections.

The overwhelming majority (87%) of those who intend to vote for Joe Biden via mail-in ballot have sent off their completed and signed ballot, compared to 81% of likely Donald Trump voter.

Among those who have received their ballot, but have yet complete it or send it to their county’s Board of Elections, 31% say they will drop off their absentee ballot at a designated ballot drop box, 26% say they will drop off their absentee ballot in person at the voting station, and 27% say they will mail their absentee ballot via the postal service. 8% of those who have received an absentee ballot will vote in person, and 8% will not vote at all.

Only 57% of those who have already sent their completed and signed ballot to their county’s Board of Elections have received confirmation that their ballot has been received (an increase of 7% since last week). A further 20% have not received confirmation but expect to eventually, while 23% do not anticipate receiving any confirmation that their ballot has been received. Joe Biden voters (61%) who have voted by mail are significantly more likely to have received confirmation their ballot has been received, compared to Donald Trump voters (47%).

Contested Result

Due to the logistical complexity of mail-in ballots and the discrepancy in how likely Donald Trump voters and likely Joe Biden voters intend to vote, it is very possible that the election result will not be known for some time after Election Day on November 3rd. Indeed, a clear plurality (42%) of Americans expect that the result of the Presidential Election will not be known for more than a day after the election (November 5 onwards). Meanwhile, less than a quarter (23%) think the result will be known sometime during election night (November 3-4), and around a fifth (19%) believe the result will be known sometime during the day of November 4. 16% don’t know.

Joe Biden voters are particularly skeptical that the Election result will be known rapidly: almost half (47%) think the outcome will not be known until November 5 or later, compared to 41% of Donald Trump voters.

A majority of likely Joe Biden voters (56%) and likely Donald Trump voters (51%) believe that their favored candidate should wait to see how the situation develops, even if it does appear that they are losing or that they have lost the election. The proportion of respondents who think Joe Biden or Donald Trump should concede the election in these circumstances (12-13%) continues to decline, which may underline that Americans increasingly believe that the announcement of Election results will be a protracted process. Donald Trump voters (23%) remain slightly more likely to favor the incumbent President calling for a recount than voters for Joe Biden (17%).

Amid widespread concern that a clear Election result may take some time to emerge, a clear majority (56%) of the US public have trust in the integrity of the electoral process in the United States. Moreover, an equal proportion of those voting for Donald Trump (59%) and Joe Biden (58%) trust the country’s electoral process.

The Supreme Court may be asked to arbitrate in the event of a contested election. In this context, 44% of Americans would trust the Supreme Court to come to a fair decision, whereas 35% would not. A majority (53%) of Joe Biden voters would not trust the Court, while less than a third (29%) would. By contrast, two thirds (67%) of Donald Trump voters would trust the Court, and only 14% would not.

Enthusiasm for Voting

In the final week of a lengthy Presidential campaign, 60% of likely Donald Trump voters are very enthusiastic about voting for him (the same result as last week), while 52% of likely Joe Biden voters are very enthusiastic about casting their ballot for the former Vice President (an increase of 2 points since last week).

Enthusiasm for participating in the electoral process has increased as Election Day approaches. Overall, 59% of the US public are now very enthusiastic about casting a ballot during the 2020 cycle, including 62% of likely Joe Biden voters and 62% of likely Donald Trump voters. A fifth (20%) of the electorate are moderately enthusiastic, a proportion that is consistent across voters from both major parties. Only 8% are not at all enthusiastic about voting in this election.

Those voting for the Democratic nominee would feel particularly uncomfortable voting in-person given the ongoing coronavirus situation. Over a third (34%) of all likely Joe Biden voters would feel uncomfortable casting their ballot in person, compared to just 14% of all likely Donald Trump voters. Interestingly, 10% of those who would feel uncomfortable voting in person intend to cast their ballot on election day, and it remains to be seen whether this sub-set will indeed turn up.

Social Desirability Bias

One area that gives pollsters reason for pause is that a plurality (46%) continue to think that most of their neighbors and the people living in their area are voting for Donald Trump, while 44% think that their neighbors are voting for Joe Biden. In part, this difference could be explained by the fact that Joe Biden leads particularly among those who disagree with a statement suggesting they know their neighbors and trust them (see first chart, above). As such, Biden’s voters may be attributing opposing political views to neighbors they neither know well nor trust.

Nevertheless, a clear plurality (42%) say they think that it is harder for someone to say in public that they support Donald Trump than it was four years ago. Only 16% think it is easier, while 27% say it is the same. Clear pluralities of those who intend to support Donald Trump (40%) and Joe Biden (46%) think it is harder.

Moreover, a clear plurality (39%) also think that it is easier to say in public that they oppose Donald Trump, while 27% think it is  the same, and only around a fifth (19%) say it is harder. Again, pluralities of likely Donald Trump supporters (38%) and likely Joe Biden voters (43%) say they believe it is easier for someone to express opposition to Donald Trump than in 2016.

Finally, a majority (54%) of Americans disagree that they would feel comfortable lying about how they intend to vote if asked by someone they just met. However, likely Donald Trump voters (29%) appear somewhat more likely to feel comfortable lying about how they are voting than likely Joe Biden voters (21%).

Respondents’ Predictions

There has been limited change in who Americans believe will win the Presidential Election: 38% of Americans believe Joe Biden is more likely to win, while 32% think Donald Trump is more likely to win. Despite the proximity to Election Day, 15% of the US public do not know who will win, and 15% say the main candidates are equally likely to win.

With Election Day almost upon us, Joe Biden holds a significant lead nationally, and it ultimately seems very likely that the Democratic nominee will win the national popular vote. A majority of those who will vote for the Democratic Nominee have voted already, while 39% of Donald Trump voters have also cast their ballot. Enthusiasm for participating in the Election remains level among voters of both major candidates, and the likelihood to vote continues to increase. Notably, Americans across the political divide are generally skeptical that a clear result will emerge quickly following the closure of polling stations, yet are split along partisan lines in their trust in the Supreme Court in the event of a contested election.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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