Exit polls 2020: Preliminary results show presidential candidates split along gender lines in suburbs

MEREDITH DELISO and HALEY YAMADA
·14 min read

Exit poll results offer a look at demographic information about voters and their views on key issues in the 2020 election.

ABC News has provided key insights on national and state exit poll results below. Preliminary exit poll numbers are subject to change.

MORE: What you need to know about Election Day exit polls

12:40 a.m.: Biden more favorable among voters

Former Vice President Joe Biden was more favorable among voters than President Donald Trump, according to national exit poll results.

A little more than half -- 52% -- said Biden was favorable versus 45% for Trump, the results show.

Slightly more voters (50%-48%) said Trump would better handle the economy, while more voters said Biden would better handle the coronavirus (51%-43%).

Among some of the demographic breakdowns, Biden led independents and moderates, gaining more ground among those voters compared to 2016. The share of suburban voters also flipped, with Biden having a 3-point margin to Trump's 4-point margin four years ago against Hillary Clinton.

Trump led among white voters (56%-42%) just as he did in 2016, but with a smaller margin this year, according to the exit poll results. Trump also maintained a significant stronghold among Evangelical white Christian voters, at 76% to Biden's 23%, with the margin slightly shrinking from 2016. The president also led among military voters (52%-44%), though with a smaller margin than he did in 2016 (59%-35%).

Biden led by a 33-point margin among first-time voters, and a 26-point margin among voters ages 18 to 29, while Trump had a slight edge on seniors (50%-48%) in the exit poll results.

11:45 p.m.: Presidential candidates split along gender lines in suburbs

Biden and Trump recorded different gains nationally among suburban men and women, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Nationally, Biden went 55%-44% among female suburban voters, while Trump led by a smaller margin -- 52%-46% -- among suburban male voters, in preliminary results.

11:25 p.m.: Independents, seniors going for Biden in NH

Two demographics that were split among Trump and Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire in 2016 -- independents and seniors -- are breaking toward Biden in the state, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Independents, who account for a broad 44% of voters in New Hampshire, are going 62%-33% for Biden, compared to an even 45%-45% Trump-Clinton split in 2016, according to preliminary exit poll results. There's a vast gender gap, with independent women voting for Biden by a 41-point margin versus a 16-point margin among independent men.

Adults age 65 and older -- who account for 22% of New Hampshire voters -- are breaking 53%-45% for Biden following an even 49%-49% split between Trump and Clinton four years ago, based on preliminary exit poll results.

10:55 p.m.: Pa. college-educated white males shift to Biden

In the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania, college-educated white male voters and independent voters have shifted their support to Biden after supporting Trump in 2016, according to preliminary exit polls.

Trump had won college-educated white men 56%-39% in 2016. Tonight, that group is split 49%-48%, Biden-Trump, preliminary polls say. Similarly, Trump had won independent voters 48%-41% in 2016, but now independents in Pennsylvania are going 53%-42%, Biden-Trump, according to preliminary exit poll data.

Trump continues to retain strong support among non-college educated white men, 71%-28%, according to preliminary data.

10:50 p.m.: Biden leading among Iowa independents, suburbanites

Trump appears to be losing ground among two potentially key demographics in Iowa -- independents and suburban voters -- according to preliminary exit poll results.

In 2016, Trump had a 13-point margin among independents in the battleground state. In a major reversal, independents -- who account for 38% of voters in preliminary exit poll results -- are 54%-41% Biden-Trump in preliminary results.

Four years ago, suburbanites in Iowa favored Trump by 9 points. In preliminary results, it’s a close 51%-47% Biden-Trump among suburbanites, who are 29% of voters in these preliminary results. That includes a vast gender gap -- 61%-38% Biden-Trump among suburban women, versus 59%-39% Trump-Biden among suburban men, according to preliminary results.

10:40 p.m.: Hard-hit Nevada voters supporting Biden

In Nevada, voters who’ve experienced severe financial hardship as a result of the pandemic support Biden by a large margin, 67%-28%, preliminary exit poll results show.

Unemployment is likely a key factor this election in the tourism-reliant state, which was hit especially hard by pandemic shutdowns. Unemployment in Nevada went from 3.6% in February to 12.6% in September.

Nevada voters split nearly evenly on whether it’s currently more important to rebuild the economy (48%) or contain the coronavirus (47%), according to preliminary exit poll results. Nationally, there is an 11-point preference for containing the virus in preliminary results.

10:30 p.m.: Minn. voters say police incidents indicate broader problems

In Minnesota, where the death of George Floyd sparked a nationwide call for racial justice this spring, two-thirds of voters called recent incidents in which police killed or injured Black people a sign of broader problems, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in Minnesota by fewer than 45,000 votes four years ago, with a 7-point loss among white voters, including a 9-point win among college-educated whites, who made up just over 4 in 10 voters in the state.

Today, 38% of voters in Minnesota are college-educated whites, 6 points more than nationally.

10:20 p.m.: Biden has wide margin of moderate voters in Colo.

Moderates are backing Biden by 38 points in Colorado, according to preliminary exit poll results. At 66%-28%, the preliminary percentages widely surpass Hillary Clinton’s 17-point edge.

Trump's margin among non-college white male voters -- 17% of the electorate in these preliminary results -- has narrowed in Colorado, preliminary exit poll results show. The president leads by 26 points, compared to a 37-point advantage in 2016, in the preliminary data.

As COVID-19 cases rise in the state, a majority of Colorado voters -- 59% -- say the United States' efforts to contain the pandemic are going somewhat or very badly in preliminary results. More voters say Biden would do a better job of handling the pandemic than Trump by a 56%-37% margin, according to these results.

10:05 p.m.: Most Wis. voters think COVID-19 response is going badly

As the coronavirus surges in Wisconsin, a state with one of the highest per-capita case counts in the U.S., a majority of voters in the state -- 56% -- think the country's effort to contain the pandemic is going badly, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Fifty-six percent of Wisconsinites also say it’s more important now to control the virus than to reopen the economy, and voters think Biden would do a better job handling the pandemic by a 56-41 margin, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Racial issues are also top of mind in the state, which saw racial justice protests turn deadly earlier this year in Kenosha. More than half of Wisconsinites -- 55% -- say recent incidents in which police have killed or injured Black people are a sign of broader problems, compared to 41% who describe them as isolated events, in these preliminary results.

In the presidential race, Wisconsin independents are breaking for Biden 58%-37% in preliminary exit poll results. In 2016, Trump won independents by 10 points (50%-40%).

Trump's margin among suburban voters has also narrowed, with Wisconsin suburbanites dividing 50%-48% Trump-Biden in preliminary results. In 2016, suburban voters -- a third of voters in the state -- went for Trump by 16 points.

9:50 p.m.: Independent voters shift to Biden in Texas

Independent voters are splitting 53%-43% Biden-Trump in Texas in preliminary exit poll results, compared to 2016 when Trump had a 14-point lead among those voters in the potential battleground state. The shift is more pronounced among independent men, which Biden leads by 7 points in preliminary results compared to Trump's 28-point lead four years ago.

Trump leads in college-educated white voters 55%-44% in these preliminary exit poll results, though by a much smaller margin than he did in 2016, when it was 31 points.

MORE: The Electoral College: How presidents are elected

More first-time voters in Texas are casting their ballot for Biden, according to the preliminary results, at 57% to Trump's 41%.

Trump's stronghold among suburban Texans remains little changed. Suburban voters divide 57%-42% Trump-Biden in preliminary results, little changed from Trump's 58%-37% lead four years ago in the state.

9:40 p.m.: Number of Mich. suburban voters is up from 2016

Four years after Trump narrowly won midwestern battleground state Michigan thanks to support from suburbanites and voters in union households, preliminary exit polls show that the number of suburbanites casting votes in the state has grown from 50% to 55% since 2016.

The outcome in Michigan may hinge on whether Biden can improve his support among union household voters, according to preliminary results.

Four years ago, Trump secured the White House after he won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin -- winning Michigan by only 10,704 votes, the narrowest margin of any state.

9:25 p.m.: Ariz. voters have favorable opinion of Biden over Trump

Half of voters in the battleground state of Arizona have a favorable opinion of Biden, according to preliminary exit poll results, compared to 41% for Hillary Clinton in 2016. For Trump, that number is 45% in preliminary results -- up from 41% four years ago.

Arizona's college-educated white voters, who traditionally have voted Republican in presidential elections since 2000, are breaking for Biden 55%-44%, while Trump leads among white voters without college degrees, in preliminary results.

As expected, independent voters will likely be key in deciding the state. At 41%, they outnumber Republicans by 8 points and Democrats by 14 points in preliminary exit poll results. In 1996, that number was 18%.

9 p.m.: College-educated white voters break for Biden in NC

In the swing state of North Carolina, Biden picked up more independent, moderate and college-educated white voters than Hillary Clinton did in 2016, preliminary exit poll results show.

College-educated white voters divided 50%-48% Biden-Trump, according to preliminary results, which is a reversal from Trump's 19-point win among this demographic in 2016.

Independent voters split 49%-43% Biden-Trump in these preliminary results, compared to Trump's 53%-37% win in this group four years ago.

Moderates broke for Clinton by 20 points in 2016 (57%-37%). Today, it's 65%-29% Biden-Trump based on these preliminary results.

MORE: Election Day 2020 live updates and results

Trump, who won North Carolina by 4 percentage points in 2016, relies on the state's large conservative, rural and white evangelical populations.

Slightly more voters have a favorable opinion of Trump (46%) than they did in 2016 (41%), according to preliminary numbers. That number is slightly higher for Biden (49%) in the preliminary results.

8:45 p.m.: Trump's approval rating in Pa. slightly higher than nationally

In the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, preliminary exit poll results show that nearly half of voters -- 48% -- approve of how Trump is handling the country, while 52% disapprove. Trump’s approval rating in the state is slightly higher than his 47%-52% approval rating nationally.

Key factors among Pennsylvania voters include the pandemic, the economy, and race.

Even while spared the worst of the current surge of COVID-19 cases, 52% of Pennsylvania voters say the U.S. response to the pandemic is going badly, including 34% who say it’s going very badly. In these preliminary exit poll results, 53% of voters prioritize containing the virus now even if it hurts the economy. Similar to national results, voters are evenly divided, 49%-49%, on which candidate would do a better job handling the economy.

With protests in Philadelphia the past week after the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., race is another important issue in Pennsylvania, with three-fourths -- 75%-- of Pennsylvania voters say racism is an important problem.

8:35 p.m.: Ohio favors Trump on economy

In the battleground state of Ohio, more voters say they prefer Trump over Biden to handle the economy, 56% to 42%, preliminary exit poll results show.

Additionally, 54% say the economy is in good shape, according to preliminary results. This number dropped sharply from 2018, when it was 74%, but is an improvement over 2016, when it was 34%.

More voters also say they're better off today than they were four years ago (44%), compared to those who say they're worse off (19%), according to preliminary data.

8:20 p.m.: Florida more favorable of Trump than national, Pa. voters

In Florida, a key battleground state for President Trump, 54% of the state's voters say they approve of how he is handling his job in preliminary exit poll results.

That's seven points higher than his approval nationally (47%), and 6 points higher than in another closely watched battleground -- Pennsylvania (48%) -- according to preliminary results.

8:10 p.m.: Majority favors BLM, thinks racism is important problem

Most voters -- 71% -- call racism in the United States the most important or "one of many important problems," according to preliminary exit poll results.

Voters in the preliminary results also expressed more favorable than unfavorable views of the Black Lives Matter movement, 58% to 36%.

8 p.m.: Voters less dissatisfied with government than in 2016

A majority of voters -- 58% -- in preliminary exit poll results say they are dissatisfied or angry with the way the federal government works. This number has slightly decreased since 2016, when it was 68% in the national exit poll.

Today, more Democrats (78%) are dissatisfied or angry with the government than Republicans (31%), according to preliminary data. In 2016, Republicans were more apt to be dissatisfied or angry, with 84%, compared to 49% of Democrats.

7:35 p.m.: Most favor containing virus over rebuilding economy

The pandemic is a recurring question in national exit polls, and preliminary results show that voters prioritize managing it -- but don't think the response is going well so far.

A majority -- 52% -- responded that it was more important to contain the coronavirus, while 42% said that rebuilding the economy was more important, even if that hurts efforts to control the virus, according to preliminary exit poll results. Biden has advocated for the former, while Trump has urged states to reopen.

Overall views on the United States' pandemic response are nearly split, with 51% saying it's been going badly and 48% saying it's been going well, according to preliminary results. Around 35% responded that they thought the United States' efforts to control the pandemic were going "very badly," while 18% said it was going "very well," preliminary data shows.

Voters also spoke to mask-wearing, which has become politicized during the country's response to the pandemic. Nearly one-third of respondents -- 68% -- in preliminary results said they consider wearing a mask more of a public health responsibility, compared with 30% who see it as more of a personal choice.

7 p.m.: More votes cast early versus on Election Day this year

As was anticipated based on this pandemic election, more people have voted early -- including via mail-in ballots and in-person voting -- than voted on Election Day itself, preliminary exit poll data shows.

This year saw early voting options expand in numerous states due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a record number of early votes have been cast.

In preliminary exit poll results, nearly two-thirds of voters -- 64% -- are estimated to have voted early, with a slightly higher percentage voting by mail (34%) over early in-person voting (30%). A minority -- 36% -- voted on Election Day itself, preliminary data shows.

The preliminary data reverses how people voted in 2016, when a majority -- 59% -- voted on Election Day and 42% voted early in-person or via absentee ballot, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

6:15 p.m.: Economy the most important issue

Among five issues listed as most important, preliminary exit poll results found that 34% of voters said their top issue was the economy, in a year marked by a severe recession and record levels of unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After that, 21% said the most important issue was racial inequality, with 2020 seeing waves of protest nationwide following the death of George Floyd.

Another 18% put their top issue as the coronavirus pandemic itself. Crime/safety and health care policy rounded out the five issues, with 11% each.

Exit polls 2020: Preliminary results show presidential candidates split along gender lines in suburbs originally appeared on abcnews.go.com