REPORT: November 18 Member Meeting

Election Outcomes:
Implications for the States

Chris AndersonFounder & President
Beacon Research
  Matthew Shelter Co-Founder
  Beacon Research

Speakers Chris Anderson and Matthew Shelter are veteran pollsters who served on Fox News Channel’s bipartisan polling team this election cycle. The Fox survey cited in the Forum’s session of November 18 included 110,000 voters and 22,000 non-voters from all 50 states and was conducted via telephone, physical mail, probability-based online panel, and opt-in online panel.

Voting Trends

Beacon Research reviewed data on how the presidential election played out based on gender, race, ethnicity, level of education, and rural versus urban settings. President-Elect Biden’s margins were greater with women, people under 45 years of age, Black and Latino, urban and suburban, and college-educated voters. President Trump’s support was stronger among men, whites, those over 45 years of age, non-college educated, and rural voters.

Mr. Anderson reported that pollsters accurately predicted the Biden vote, but underestimated the Trump showing. They attributed this error to “Undecided” voters, most of whom voted Republican and tightened the race. They pointed out that polling does not provide detailed outcomes, but rather can predict a range of outcomes.

Fox News Voter Analysis Survey.

The Future: A Continuing Divide

Voters in both parties placed high importance on healing partisan divisions. They want the two parties to work together, but there are institutional barriers at the national level that will make this less likely rather than more likely, the pollsters pointed out. For example, while the Democrats gained the White House, they did not (to date) take control of the Senate and lost ground in the House. There are policy areas that reflect this continuing partisan divide.

Democrats list as the most important issues: the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare, racism and climate change. In contrast, Republicans focused on: economy and jobs, law enforcement, abortion, immigration and foreign policy.

Attitudes toward the pandemic differed by party, with Biden voters favoring limiting the spread of COVID-19 even if it damages the economy, and endorsing a mask mandate; compared with Trump voters’ preferences for limiting economic damage, even if it increases virus spread, and opposition to a mask mandate. Voters also split on their response to building a wall along the US-Mexico border, with 51% opposing and 49% favoring the wall.

The Future: Possibilities for Progress

On some issues the two parties — and their voters — are close enough that there may be a chance for progress, such as on criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization and infrastructure improvement.

On some issues the two parties — and their voters — are close enough that there may be a chance for progress.

Additionally, voters in both parties endorsed the “Public Option,” allowing every American to buy in to a government-run healthcare plan if they want to. Most voters favored increasing federal spending on green and renewable energy, increasing taxes on goods imported to the U.S., and reducing government regulations of business.

Discussion

Tom Finneran: How did changes in the voting process such as absentee or mail-in ballots and early voting challenge the ability to get an accurate count on Election Day? What lessons were learned?

 

Chris Anderson: Voting by mail made it easier to vote and maximized participation without causing any scaling problems. Vote-by-mail was frequently used by Democrats but not as commonly by Republicans, so early returns would be skewed. However, we learned that it does not work to wait until Election Day to count the early mail-in votes.

“We learned that it does not work to wait until Election Day to count the early mail-in votes.”—Chris Anderson

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck (SD): Did President Trump’s showing in the first debate damage his standing with early voters?

 

 

Mr. Shelter: The people who decide to vote early are the most partisan, the most Democrat-leaning. Undecided voters do not vote early. Early voters had already decided their vote and, therefore, President Trump’s performance would not affect early outcomes.

 

Mr. Anderson: The biggest swing in votes since 2016 was among suburban voters and the first debate may have lost these voters if they were undecided.

Sen. Bill Ferguson (MD): What is the significance of voters who chose Biden for President but voted Republican for the rest of the ticket?

 

 

Mr. Anderson: There was a definite segment among Republicans who did not want Trump but also wanted to maintain Republican control in Congress. This certainly happened in Maine, for example, where Biden won but the Senate seat was retained by Republican Susan Collins. The U.S. tends to be a center-right nation; the predicted “blue wave” was not realized. The country is not tipping far left.

“The US tends to be a center-right nation; the predicted ‘blue wave’ was not realized. The country is not tipping far left.”—Chris Anderson

Sen. Ron Kouchi (HI): Did President Trump’s ability to put a new Supreme Court judge on the bench influence undecided voters to vote for him?

 

Mr. Anderson: The Supreme Court appointment could have been a factor in the final stretch of the campaign, as it served to remind “soft” Republicans why it is important to have a Republican in the presidency.

Sen. Ginny Burdick (OR): Democratic enthusiasm is running high, thanks to Stacey Abrams, in the Georgia U.S .Senate runoff elections between Democrat Raphael Warnock and incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The outcome could tip the balance in the Senate. What role is President Trump playing in the run-off?

Mr. Shelter: The Democrats are certainly energized about this race, while the Republicans are skittish about how Mr. Trump’s presence would affect the outcome.

Mr. Anderson: Run-off elections are extremely unpredictable and challenging for pollsters. As the national spotlight focuses intensely on that race, millions of dollars are being spent, and voters are bombarded. Eventually, they stop answering their phones.

Mr. Finneran: What do you project for the future of federal-state relations under a Biden administration?

Mr. Anderson: President-elect Biden has a more collaborative approach to governing than Mr. Trump, and the states can expect more stability, predictability, and normalcy in decision-making, and more collaboration with the states.

“States can expect more stability, predictability, and normalcy in decision-making, and more collaboration with the states.”—Chris Anderson

Speaker Biographies

About Beacon Research

Beacon Research is a full-service political and public policy research firm based in Boston. Founding partners Chris Anderson and Matthew Shelter have more than two decades of experience conducting opinion polling throughout the country.

In this past election cycle, Beacon was the principal research firm for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign; numerous competitive congressional and state legislative races in the Northeast; successful ballot campaigns in Puerto Rico in favor of statehood; and in Massachusetts in favor of the Right to Repair in auto repairs.

CONTACT US

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2020 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

REPORT: November 18 Member Meeting

Election Outcomes:
Implications for the States

Chris AndersonFounder & President
Beacon Research
  Matthew Shelter Co-Founder
  Beacon Research

Speakers Chris Anderson and Matthew Shelter are veteran pollsters who served on Fox News Channel’s bipartisan polling team this election cycle. The Fox survey cited in the Forum’s session of November 18 included 110,000 voters and 22,000 non-voters from all 50 states and was conducted via telephone, physical mail, probability-based online panel, and opt-in online panel.

Voting Trends

Beacon Research reviewed data on how the presidential election played out based on gender, race, ethnicity, level of education, and rural versus urban settings. President-Elect Biden’s margins were greater with women, people under 45 years of age, Black and Latino, urban and suburban, and college-educated voters. President Trump’s support was stronger among men, whites, those over 45 years of age, non-college educated, and rural voters.

Mr. Anderson reported that pollsters accurately predicted the Biden vote, but underestimated the Trump showing. They attributed this error to “Undecided” voters, most of whom voted Republican and tightened the race. They pointed out that polling does not provide detailed outcomes, but rather can predict a range of outcomes.

Fox News Voter Analysis Survey.

The Future: A Continuing Divide

Voters in both parties placed high importance on healing partisan divisions. They want the two parties to work together, but there are institutional barriers at the national level that will make this less likely rather than more likely, the pollsters pointed out. For example, while the Democrats gained the White House, they did not (to date) take control of the Senate and lost ground in the House. There are policy areas that reflect this continuing partisan divide.

Democrats list as the most important issues: the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare, racism and climate change. In contrast, Republicans focused on: economy and jobs, law enforcement, abortion, immigration and foreign policy.

Attitudes toward the pandemic differed by party, with Biden voters favoring limiting the spread of COVID-19 even if it damages the economy, and endorsing a mask mandate; compared with Trump voters’ preferences for limiting economic damage, even if it increases virus spread, and opposition to a mask mandate. Voters also split on their response to building a wall along the US-Mexico border, with 51% opposing and 49% favoring the wall.

The Future: Possibilities for Progress

On some issues the two parties — and their voters — are close enough that there may be a chance for progress, such as on criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization and infrastructure improvement.

On some issues the two parties — and their voters — are close enough that there may be a chance for progress.

Additionally, voters in both parties endorsed the “Public Option,” allowing every American to buy in to a government-run healthcare plan if they want to. Most voters favored increasing federal spending on green and renewable energy, increasing taxes on goods imported to the U.S., and reducing government regulations of business.

Discussion

Tom Finneran: How did changes in the voting process such as absentee or mail-in ballots and early voting challenge the ability to get an accurate count on Election Day? What lessons were learned?

 

Chris Anderson: Voting by mail made it easier to vote and maximized participation without causing any scaling problems. Vote-by-mail was frequently used by Democrats but not as commonly by Republicans, so early returns would be skewed. However, we learned that it does not work to wait until Election Day to count the early mail-in votes.

“We learned that it does not work to wait until Election Day to count the early mail-in votes.”—Chris Anderson

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck (SD): Did President Trump’s showing in the first debate damage his standing with early voters?

 

 

Mr. Shelter: The people who decide to vote early are the most partisan, the most Democrat-leaning. Undecided voters do not vote early. Early voters had already decided their vote and, therefore, President Trump’s performance would not affect early outcomes.

 

Mr. Anderson: The biggest swing in votes since 2016 was among suburban voters and the first debate may have lost these voters if they were undecided.

Sen. Bill Ferguson (MD): What is the significance of voters who chose Biden for President but voted Republican for the rest of the ticket?

 

 

Mr. Anderson: There was a definite segment among Republicans who did not want Trump but also wanted to maintain Republican control in Congress. This certainly happened in Maine, for example, where Biden won but the Senate seat was retained by Republican Susan Collins. The U.S. tends to be a center-right nation; the predicted “blue wave” was not realized. The country is not tipping far left.

“The US tends to be a center-right nation; the predicted ‘blue wave’ was not realized. The country is not tipping far left.”—Chris Anderson

Sen. Ron Kouchi (HI): Did President Trump’s ability to put a new Supreme Court judge on the bench influence undecided voters to vote for him?

 

Mr. Anderson: The Supreme Court appointment could have been a factor in the final stretch of the campaign, as it served to remind “soft” Republicans why it is important to have a Republican in the presidency.

Sen. Ginny Burdick (OR): Democratic enthusiasm is running high, thanks to Stacey Abrams, in the Georgia U.S .Senate runoff elections between Democrat Raphael Warnock and incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The outcome could tip the balance in the Senate. What role is President Trump playing in the run-off?

Mr. Shelter: The Democrats are certainly energized about this race, while the Republicans are skittish about how Mr. Trump’s presence would affect the outcome.

Mr. Anderson: Run-off elections are extremely unpredictable and challenging for pollsters. As the national spotlight focuses intensely on that race, millions of dollars are being spent, and voters are bombarded. Eventually, they stop answering their phones.

Mr. Finneran: What do you project for the future of federal-state relations under a Biden administration?

Mr. Anderson: President-elect Biden has a more collaborative approach to governing than Mr. Trump, and the states can expect more stability, predictability, and normalcy in decision-making, and more collaboration with the states.

“States can expect more stability, predictability, and normalcy in decision-making, and more collaboration with the states.”—Chris Anderson

Speaker Biographies

About Beacon Research

Beacon Research is a full-service political and public policy research firm based in Boston. Founding partners Chris Anderson and Matthew Shelter have more than two decades of experience conducting opinion polling throughout the country.

CONTACT US

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2020 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

REPORT: November 18 Member Meeting

Election Outcomes:
Implications for the States

Chris AndersonFounder & President
Beacon Research
  Matthew Shelter Co-Founder
  Beacon Research

Download PDF of article

 

Speakers Chris Anderson and Matthew Shelter are veteran pollsters who served on Fox News Channel’s bipartisan polling team this election cycle. The Fox survey cited in the Forum’s session of November 18 included 110,000 voters and 22,000 non-voters from all 50 states and was conducted via telephone, physical mail, probability-based online panel, and opt-in online panel.

 

Voting Trends

Beacon Research reviewed data on how the presidential election played out based on gender, race, ethnicity, level of education, and rural versus urban settings. President-Elect Biden’s margins were greater with women, people under 45 years of age, Black and Latino, urban and suburban, and college-educated voters. President Trump’s support was stronger among men, whites, those over 45 years of age, non-college educated, and rural voters.

Mr. Anderson reported that pollsters accurately predicted the Biden vote, but underestimated the Trump showing. They attributed this error to “Undecided” voters, most of whom voted Republican and tightened the race. They pointed out that polling does not provide detailed outcomes, but rather can predict a range of outcomes.

Fox News Voter Analysis Survey.

The Future: A Continuing Divide

Voters in both parties placed high importance on healing partisan divisions. They want the two parties to work together, but there are institutional barriers at the national level that will make this less likely rather than more likely, the pollsters pointed out. For example, while the Democrats gained the White House, they did not (to date) take control of the Senate and lost ground in the House. There are policy areas that reflect this continuing partisan divide.

Democrats list as the most important issues: the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare, racism and climate change. In contrast, Republicans focused on: economy and jobs, law enforcement, abortion, immigration and foreign policy.

Attitudes toward the pandemic differed by party, with Biden voters favoring limiting the spread of COVID-19 even if it damages the economy, and endorsing a mask mandate; compared with Trump voters’ preferences for limiting economic damage, even if it increases virus spread, and opposition to a mask mandate. Voters also split on their response to building a wall along the US-Mexico border, with 51% opposing and 49% favoring the wall.

 

The Future: Possibilities for Progress

On some issues the two parties — and their voters — are close enough that there may be a chance for progress, such as on criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization and infrastructure improvement.

On some issues the two parties — and their voters — are close enough that there may be a chance for progress.

Additionally, voters in both parties endorsed the “Public Option,” allowing every American to buy in to a government-run healthcare plan if they want to. Most voters favored increasing federal spending on green and renewable energy, increasing taxes on goods imported to the U.S., and reducing government regulations of business.

Discussion

Tom Finneran: How did changes in the voting process such as absentee or mail-in ballots and early voting challenge the ability to get an accurate count on Election Day? What lessons were learned?

 

Chris Anderson: Voting by mail made it easier to vote and maximized participation without causing any scaling problems. Vote-by-mail was frequently used by Democrats but not as commonly by Republicans, so early returns would be skewed. However, we learned that it does not work to wait until Election Day to count the early mail-in votes.

“We learned that it does not work to wait until Election Day to count the early mail-in votes.”—Chris Anderson

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck (SD): Did President Trump’s showing in the first debate damage his standing with early voters?

 

Mr. Shelter: The people who decide to vote early are the most partisan, the most Democrat-leaning. Undecided voters do not vote early. Early voters had already decided their vote and, therefore, President Trump’s performance would not affect early outcomes.

Mr. Anderson: The biggest swing in votes since 2016 was among suburban voters and the first debate may have lost these voters if they were undecided.

Sen. Bill Ferguson (MD): What is the significance of voters who chose Biden for President but voted Republican for the rest of the ticket?

 

Mr. Anderson: There was a definite segment among Republicans who did not want Trump but also wanted to maintain Republican control in Congress. This certainly happened in Maine, for example, where Biden won but the Senate seat was retained by Republican Susan Collins. The U.S. tends to be a center-right nation; the predicted “blue wave” was not realized. The country is not tipping far left.

“The US tends to be a center-right nation; the predicted ‘blue wave’ was not realized. The country is not tipping far left.”—Chris Anderson

Sen. Ron Kouchi (HI): Did President Trump’s ability to put a new Supreme Court judge on the bench influence undecided voters to vote for him?

 

Mr. Anderson: The Supreme Court appointment could have been a factor in the final stretch of the campaign, as it served to remind “soft” Republicans why it is important to have a Republican in the presidency.

Sen. Ginny Burdick (OR): Democratic enthusiasm is running high, thanks to Stacey Abrams, in the Georgia U.S .Senate runoff elections between Democrat Raphael Warnock and incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The outcome could tip the balance in the Senate. What role is President Trump playing in the run-off?

Mr. Shelter: The Democrats are certainly energized about this race, while the Republicans are skittish about how Mr. Trump’s presence would affect the outcome.

Mr. Anderson: Run-off elections are extremely unpredictable and challenging for pollsters. As the national spotlight focuses intensely on that race, millions of dollars are being spent, and voters are bombarded. Eventually, they stop answering their phones.

Mr. Finneran: What do you project for the future of federal-state relations under a Biden administration?

Mr. Anderson: President-elect Biden has a more collaborative approach to governing than Mr. Trump, and the states can expect more stability, predictability, and normalcy in decision-making, and more collaboration with the states.

“States can expect more stability, predictability, and normalcy in decision-making, and more collaboration with the states.”—Chris Anderson

Speaker Biographies

About Beacon Research

Beacon Research is a full-service political and public policy research firm based in Boston. Founding partners Chris Anderson and Matthew Shelter have more than two decades of experience conducting opinion polling throughout the country.

CONTACT US

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2020 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.