Exit Polls Present Suburbs as Doubtless 2020 Battlefield


The battleground for the 2020 presidential election could have been mapped out by Tuesday’s midterms and exit polling reveals it lies smack dab in the midst of America’s suburbs. 

Almost 50 % of the voters is suburban, which this yr was evenly cut up between Republicans and Democrats — at 49 % every — in accordance with the Nationwide Election Ballot, the exit ballot of just about 19,000 respondents usually cited by the nationwide media. For the final twenty years, suburban voters have leaned barely Republican, as was the case in 2016 when Donald Trump outpolled Hillary Clinton by 4 share factors.  In distinction, city voters supported Democrats by a 33-point margin on this yr’s midterms, whereas Republicans carried rural areas by 14 factors.

“There’s an outdated adage in demographics that density equals Democrats, however the Democrats are beginning to present important power within the much less dense suburbs,” stated Karlyn Bowman, a demographics skilled on the American Enterprise Institute.  She predicted that “the suburbs will proceed to be a aggressive space of focus” in 2020.

Sarah Chamberlain, president of Principal Road Republican Partnership, famous that “Republicans received or misplaced by slightly bit — it wasn’t a blow-out within the suburbs.”

One of many largest shifts in suburban voting patterns entails married ladies. In 2016, for the primary time since exit polling started in 1980, married ladies barely supported the Democratic presidential candidate, 49 to 47 %. That shift turned extra pronounced this yr with married ladies supporting Democrats by 54 % to 44 %.  “Trump’s temperament and demeanor has exacerbated the motion of married ladies in direction of the Democrats,” stated Bowman.

In 2018 there was additionally a pronounced training hole, as white college-educated ladies supported Democrats by a whopping 20 factors, 59 % to 39 %, whereas white college-educated males supported Republicans, although by a a lot narrower margin, 51 % to 47 %.  Republicans overwhelmingly captured white non-college-educated males (+34) and ladies (+14).

“The divides continue to grow, with there being huge gaps between city and rural, and between school versus non-college educated voters,” stated Joe Lenski, govt vp of Edison Analysis, which conducts the exit polls for the nationwide media.  “Final evening, the Democrats made important features within the suburbs and it was evident everywhere in the nation. For the Democrats, suburban educated ladies had been the tipping level in lots of congressional races.”

In most elections, whichever candidate or occasion captures unbiased voters often wins, and this was the case within the 2018 midterms. Two years in the past, Trump carried unbiased voters, 46 % to 42 %, whereas the Democrats received independents on Tuesday, 54 % to 42 %. This was significantly pronounced amongst unbiased males, who flipped from supporting Trump in 2016 by 12 factors to supporting the Democrats by seven this yr.  The development of unbiased ladies supporting Democrats widened from a five-point benefit in 2016 to a 17-point lead in 2018.

“Impartial males are flipping to the Democrats as a result of unbiased ladies are turned off by the tone of the Republican Occasion and they’re speaking to their husbands, fathers and brothers,” stated Chamberlain.

In 2016 one the toughest figures for the left to digest was that white ladies supported Trump, 52 % to 43 %.  Whereas the 2018 midterms set a report for the biggest gender hole — with ladies supporting Democrats by a whopping 19 factors — as soon as once more white ladies weren’t totally aligned with the Democrats and broke evenly at 49 % for Republicans and Democrats.

“If these tendencies proceed to tick downwards, Republicans will proceed to lose elections,” stated Chamberlain.  “Trump must cease tweeting, cease title calling and concentrate on his accomplishments and insurance policies.” She added, “These suburbanites will come again to the Republican Occasion if we speak in regards to the concepts and insurance policies that matter to their lives.”

Adele Malpass is a nationwide political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She was previously chairwoman of the Manhattan Republican Occasion and cash politics reporter for CNBC.