During the time of writing, the vote count continues in america presidential election, and certainly will ideally achieve this until every vote is counted despite president donald trumps unconscionable attempt to prevent it. whilst it looks like joe biden will wrest the presidency from trump, the results will still keep democrats let down. the triumph will likely to be less emphatic than polls had recommended (although commanding lead-in national polling is borne on much better than numerous state polls in swing states). and above all, even in the event he loses, trump has grown his vote share compared to 2016. it was perhaps not the daunting rejection of trumpism their opponents had wished voters would deliver.

That makes it much more interesting to examine whom voted and exactly how, and attempt to glean some understanding about what is driving voter behaviour. while awaiting the ballots, then, why don't we take a look at the exit polls.

Now, exit polls should always be addressed with care much more and this 12 months. within most readily useful of times, exit polls are hard to obtain right and certainly will be superseded by even more comprehensive but less instant surveys; this years record early and mail-in voting helps it be also harder to have a representative sample of voters. from this, it might be argued that alterations in polling answers from 2016 to 2020 are less altered by problems that affect exit polling all of the time. nevertheless, all data given below have a very good wellness caution.

That said, just what image can we tentatively paint from 2020 exit poll information once we contrast it with all the (right now better) information we now have on voters behaviour in 2016?

Some observers have experienced within the exit polls a sign that polarisation is becoming less severe. the finding this interpretation is dependant on is that within demographic voter teams, the portion point margin between your republican and democratic vote share has actually shrunk. as my ft colleagues chart under makes obvious, the assistance share per of the two major events features relocated nearer to 50-50 in many voter teams defined by sex or ethnic or academic history.

Chart showing that exit polls advise trump destroyed help among white males, but attained floor among hispanic and black voters

There are many more techniques to slice the voter data that demonstrate margins shrinking. into the exit polls reported because of the ny instances, the urban-rural split seemingly have diminished somewhat from 2016 to 2020. hillary clintons 24-point advantage in places with over 50,000 folks dropped slightly to 23 for biden; trumps lead-in rural areas collapsed from 28 to nine things. trump in addition has lost nearly his entire lead among male voters.

All of this shows that voting teams have become less lopsided. but that's totally different from voters becoming less polarised.

First, due to the fact rebalancing within voting teams just isn't universal. for example, youthful voters are becoming even more predominantly democratic than in 2020, according to cnns evaluation of the identical exit polls. (but trumps benefit one of the earliest voters has nearly vanished, possibly because his management for the pandemic.) in terms of incomes, the democratic lead among the lowest-paid has strengthened, while trumps thin advantage among the list of highest-paid in 2016 has grown to an 11-point lead.

We could additionally go through the real voting outcomes by says in which practically all votes have-been counted. that presents a shift towards democrats in a lot of says trump won in 2016 but that move appears on average heavier in the us clinton won final time. so this has reached best a one-sided rebalancing.

2nd, voter teams could, in principle, be more balanced at nationwide level but more polarised at neighborhood degree. as an example, when you look at the three battleground says of florida, georgia and new york, exit polls show the republicans outlying benefit increased in contrast to 2016.

Finally, but is the bigger point that rebalancing by itself doesn't mean a less polarised electorate. as my colleague ed luce explains in the swamp notes change with rana foroohar (do register with get swamp notes inside inbox): we might be surprised that exactly what could beroughly 48 % of the united states voted for trump most likely that features happened, especiallyon covid. but they, in turn, would beshocked that 52 % of the united states voted forwhat they see as an ageing prisoner of far-left causes. if this election has actually taught us any such thing (up to now) it is that us americans inhabit separate universes.

All of that is taking place, then, usually those individual universes today separate every voting group more closely down the middle, while in the last some groups plumped much more collectively for just one or the various other. this, as an example, seems to be understanding behind trumps inroads into the latino vote, as my colleague john paul rathbone describes. governmental tribalism is now a dimension of polarisation with its own right rather than merely intensifying old cleavages but it is not clear to me that this is one thing to commemorate.

A recently available study because of the lses andrs rodrguez-pose, neil lee and cornelius lipp features a discovering that pays to in contemplating this. they establish that in 2016, the definitive voter mobilisation for trump came from locations that blended long-lasting financial drop with strong personal money ie high social cohesiveness. referring to political scientist robert putnams important thesis that americans have grown to be less tight-knit consequently they are progressively bowling alone, the writers compose: locations in the usa that stayed cohesive but witnessed an enduring decrease are no much longer bowling alone, they are golfing with trump.

What does social money assist you to do? it can help you nurture a sense of typical identity and, specifically, one that's associated with economic adversity when it comes to team you participate in, if you don't obtainable separately. for the reason that light, it should not be so astonishing that trump has been able to combine their support even yet in the face area of overall economy. certainly, an economically harmful environment might help him broaden the identity with which his voters apparently determine. the class for the democrats, at the same time, is that electoral competitions driven by identification politics work very well for individuals who can interest the biggest identity-based groups. they may do better by leaving identification politics at the rear of while focusing wholeheartedly on policymaking.