AP VoteCast: Pandemic is top issue for 2020 voters

AP VoteCast found that the pandemic and the fragile economy weighed heavily on voters in Tuesday’s presidential election, a contest that for many amounted to a referendum on President Donald Trump's leadership in a time of turmoil. (Nov. 3)

Video Transcript

- AP VoteCast is the largest survey of its kind. And at this hour, the election we have our first pass of the data. And what we find is two issues are really predominating in the minds of voters, and that is the pandemic and the state of the economy. Certainly other issues such as law enforcement, climate change, health care, and race relations are important to voters. But when asked if any of these were the most important problem facing the country, none secured more than 10% support. On the other hand, 7 in 10 voters say that either the pandemic or the state of the economy is the most important problem facing the country today.

Asked if the coronavirus is completely, mostly, somewhat, or not at all under control, over half of voters said that the coronavirus is not at all under control. And compared to polls that occurred just one month ago, this is up by about 15 percentage points.

Voters think that the economy is in pretty bad shape. When we asked about two thirds characterized the economy as, quote, "not at all" or "in poor shape." Now, if there is a silver lining here about two thirds of voters say that their families are, quote, unquote, "holding steady," though this does leave about one fifth of voters saying that their families are falling behind.

Well, we asked voters to choose whether it was more important to limit the spread of the coronavirus or to limit the damage to the economy, and here, about 6 in 10 say that we should limit the spread of the coronavirus, about 4 in 10 damage to the economy. We, furthermore, asked them to state which of these issues was the most important factor in their decision to vote and who to vote for. And we found that about 50% more voters say it was the government's handling of the coronavirus compared to damage to the economy.