Do Voters Consider Candidate Age?

by Edison Research Vice President Mary Meyn

When President Trump was sworn into office at the age of 70 on January 20, 2017, he became the oldest person to begin his first term as President. Previously, that record was held by President Ronald Reagan who was 69 when he was sworn in for his first term. With Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton also approaching 70, age was part of the political conversation, but not a significant factor during the 2016 campaign.

However, as the Democrats select their nominee, age has again become an issue in presidential politics. The three leading candidates according to recent polling – Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders – are all in their seventies.  If one of those candidates becomes the nominee, both of the major party candidates running for President will be more than 70 years old.

Age has been a campaign issue in other elections, and the Exit Polls provide a historical look back on voters’ opinions on the subject. (Click the following graphic to enlarge.)

 

At the time of the 2008 election, John McCain, the Republican Presidential nominee, was 72 and Barack Obama was 47.  Sixty percent of voters said that the age of the candidates was not a factor in their vote for president, according to the Exit Poll.  The 40% of voters who said that age was a factor in their vote, whether it was the most important factor or a minor one, voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. John McCain ultimately lost the national vote by 7%.

In 1996, Bob Dole was the Republican Presidential nominee.  Had he been elected President, he would have been 73 years old at the time of his swearing in.  The 1996 Exit Poll asked voters if Bob Dole’s age would interfere with his ability to effectively serve as President, and 64% of voters said no, it would not. Bob Dole lost the election to Bill Clinton by 9% of the national vote.

Age was also an issue in the political career of Strom Thurmond, who served as a US Senator from South Carolina until he retired at age 100, making him the oldest Senator.  In his 1996 reelection campaign, Thurmond was 93 years old.  While Thurmond ultimately won reelection in a landslide (by a 31% margin), 55% of South Carolina voters did think that age would interfere with his ability to serve effectively as Senator.

While we don’t know yet how much of a factor age will be in the 2020 Presidential election, we can look to exit polls in previous elections for a historical perspective.

About Edison Research 
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space.  Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News. 

Florida Voters and Climate Change

By Evan Amereihn

As the hurricane season comes to a close, it’s a natural time to take stock of how climate impacts voters and where voters stand on climate change.  Nationally, 57% of Americans say that climate change is a major threat, up from 40% in 2013, according to Pew Research Center.  The 2018 Exit Polls allows for a closer look at voters’ opinions on climate change in Florida – a state that may have more at stake than others as it contends with hurricanes, tropical storms, and rising sea levels.

66% of Floridian voters in 2018 and 65% in 2016 said that climate change is a serious problem, according to the Edison Research Exit Polls.  While the 2018 Exit Poll was conducted less than a month after a destructive category 5 hurricane hit Florida, voter concern changed little in the state from 2016 to 2018.

Just as a majority of Florida voters said that climate change is a concern, a majority of voters also indicated that they support additional government action on the problem. The 2018 Exit Poll found that almost 70% of voters said the government should do more to protect the Florida environment, while only a quarter said it was doing enough.

While it is primarily Florida Democrats who are championing government intervention, with 93% saying the government should do more, almost three quarters of Independents (73%) and nearly half of Republicans (49%) also agree with that sentiment.

While it is unsurprising that Democrats are more concerned about climate change than Republicans, it may be surprising that concern is similar across all age groups.  More than 60% of Florida 18-29 year olds, 30-59 year olds, and voters age 60 or older say that climate change is a serious problem, and concern among voters age 30 and older has increased since 2016, from 63% to 67%.

Florida will receive a lot of attention in 2020 as both a swing state and as a state at the forefront of climate change.  While there may be increasing attention on climate change, based on what we know from the Exit Polls in 2018, it is unlikely that any one extreme weather event will move the needle significantly on public opinion.

About Edison Research:
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely-cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space.  Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.

Americans and Employer-Sponsored Health Care

by Matt Brownsword

Healthcare was a prominent topic at the most recent Democratic presidential debates. The conversation pitted the progressive, Medicare-for-all solution proposed by Senators Kamala Harris, among others, against the moderate, “build on Obamacare” plan put forth by former Vice President Joe Biden.

Senator Harris offered the idea that “it’s time that (the United States) separate employers from the kind of healthcare people get,” citing a portion of the population who “stick to a job that they do not like … simply because they need the healthcare that that employer provides.”

Just how embedded is the health insurance system into the workforce? Seventy-two percent of workers say their employer offers health care benefits, and more than 80% of those whose employers offer insurance benefits, use those benefits, according to a poll released by Edison Research and Marketplace, which spanned a variety of topics about the workplace.

That relationship between employer and health insurance can be the strongest tie some have to their job: 15% of American workers said that their healthcare benefits were the most important reason they work at their current job. Among those who say their job is “just a job” as opposed to being “part of a career,” that number jumps to almost one quarter of workers saying their health benefits are the most important reasons they work at their current job. This corroborates Harris’ example of an American “(sticking) to a job that they do not like, where they are not prospering,” because of the healthcare their employer provides.

The healthcare debate is going to rage on from the first few crowded Democratic primary debates to the national conventions, with both parties saying they have the best plan to mend the health insurance system.  According to voters, the American healthcare system is sorely in need of reform, with 70% of 2018 voters saying that the health care system needs major changes according to the 2018 NEP exit poll, conducted by Edison Research.  While there is agreement among voters – Democrats and Republicans – that the system needs to be fixed, there is a wide range of opinions about how to fix it.

 

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. Our national tracking study The Infinite Dial (in its 22nd year in the United States and now also conducted in four other countries), and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely-cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space. Edison is also the leading provider of face-to-face consumer research.  Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location.  Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.

U.S. Election Exit Poll Analysis: The Jewish Vote

Over the past several weeks the Jewish vote has been in the news in a fashion not discussed in years.  It is widely perceived that President Trump believes his policies and those of various prominent Democrats might push a greater portion of Jewish voters into the Republican column in 2020.

By the end of Election Night 2020 we will know if this has happened.  The 2020 Exit Polls, conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, will inform the world how this group, and dozens of others, will have voted on election night.  These surveys will update a vital and long-standing record of voter understanding that simply would not exist otherwise.

To help us prepare for what we may see on Election Night 2020, let’s look at the historical record of the Jewish vote from the Exit Polls.

First, Jews only make up a small portion of the electorate.  Approximately 2% of all voters in 2016 were Jewish.  Only in New York, Washington DC and New Jersey will Jews typically make up even 5% of voters – and for the last many elections these have not been contested jurisdictions.  The only states whose outcomes are typically up for grabs and have over 2% of their population Jewish are Florida (approximately 3%), Nevada (2%) and Pennsylvania (2%).

For Trump, or any Republican, to get even half the Jewish vote would represent an enormous change in the historical trends.  As the nearby graph shows, Exit Polls dating back to 1972 have never shown the Republican candidate coming even close to parity – no Republican presidential candidate has ever gotten more than 39% of the vote.   President Carter was perceived by many as being unfriendly to Israel, but he still carried the Jewish vote in 1980 in an election he lost by ten percentage points.  President George H. W. Bush’s Chief of Staff James Baker was quoted making comments perceived to be unsympathetic to American Jews, and he suffered the worst outcome among Jews in any election since Exit Polls began.  Since the 1988 election no Republican candidate has come closer than 39 points.   The 2018 midterms were extremely unfriendly to Republicans among Jewish voters as well:

 

 

 

Regardless of policy decisions or other appeals from Republicans, the connection between Jewish voters and the Democratic Party is intertwined with the essential liberalism of the Jewish electorate.  For instance, in the 2016 Presidential election while only one-quarter of all voters considered themselves ‘liberal’, fully half of Jewish voters said they considered themselves liberal.

 

 

The National Election Pool’s Exit Polls, conducted by Edison Research, are the only exit polls conducted in the United States.  No other research surveys voters immediately after they leave their polling places and provides the verified viewpoints of actual voters.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.

Reuters Collaboration with National Election Pool using Edison Research Data

Reuters announces global distribution collaboration with Edison Research and the National Election Pool, expanding Edison Research’s position as the leading source for election results.  During the 2020 primaries and general elections, Reuters will use Edison Research as its exclusive provider of vote count and exit poll data. Reuters global distribution network will bring Edison Research election data to new clients both in the U.S. and worldwide.

Global news agency announces new collaboration with the National Election Pool (NEP), a consortium comprised of ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News

-The NEP is the only organization to supply national and state exit polls in the United States with fast and accurate vote count, projections and analysis

-Election results available to billions worldwide through Reuters vast global network of clientsNEW YORK, JULY 22, 2019– Reuters announced today that its media customers will be able to access real-time 2020 U.S. presidential election results and exit polling via a first-ever global distribution collaboration with the National Election Pool (NEP) for the 2020 elections, with research conducted by Edison Research.

The National Election Pool, a consortium comprised of ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News, works with Edison Research to provide accurate and timely nationwide vote tabulation, exit polls, election projections and delegate estimates. The NEP is the only organization to supply national and state exit polls in the U.S., with the only projections and comprehensive analysis based on the opinions of actual voters as they leave their polling places.

In a global distribution collaboration with the NEP in 2020, Reuters News Agency customers will be able to purchase fast and accurate vote count for critical contests nationwide throughout the year: From the 2020 Iowa caucuses, running through the entire presidential primary season and extending to all national, statewide and 435 House races in November. The vote count will be available by state, Congressional District and county.

Reuters News Agency customers will also have access to the NEP exit polls from more than 900 locations on election day in November 2020 as well as at hundreds of locations during the primary election season. These polls have long been the survey of record on U.S. voter sentiment in elections, providing real-time analysis of voting trends and preferences broken down by such characteristics as region, age, race and gender.

Reuters has a long history of covering U.S. elections, and is dedicated to providing fast, substantive and unbiased reporting from a diverse and experienced team of journalists. The addition of the NEP’s election results and exit polling adds to Reuters robust news offering on the 2020 election, including national and global multimedia coverage of everything from immigration to social issues to the environment, all reported with accuracy, independence and freedom from bias. Reuters will offer dynamic election coverage including:

“The NEP and Edison Research are the gold standard in precise nationwide election results and Reuters is proud to be a leading distributor of the results,” said Sue Brooks, Managing Director of Product Development and Agency Strategy at Reuters. “This groundbreaking collaboration with the NEP marks a significant development in Reuters offering around the world—the breadth and depth of information that we’ll be distributing as the US votes in 2020 will be unparalleled. We are committed to meeting all the content needs of our media customers, and the addition of election and exit poll results to our offering allows us to further deliver on that promise.”

“The National Election Pool is the definitive source for accurate, timely and comprehensive election data including vote tabulation, exit polls, election projections and delegate estimates,” said Dan Merkle, Executive Director of Elections at ABC News. “We are excited to be collaborating with Reuters, allowing us to expand the reach of our data worldwide.”

Reuters
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktops, the world’s media organizations and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV. Follow news about Reuters at @ReutersPR.

For more information on Reuters News Agency, visit: agency.reuters.com.

National Election Pool
The National Election Pool is a consortium comprised of ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News, which works with Edison Research to provide accurate and timely nationwide vote tabulation, exit polls, election projections and delegate estimates. For more information about the NEP’s data click here

Media contact:

deepal.patadia @ thomsonreuters.com