Trump loses support among 3 key demographics after COVID-19 diagnosis

One of the main reasons Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election is voters who disapproved of both Trump and his rival, Hillary Clinton, broke for Trump by about 18 percentage points.  

“In the abstract, it’s something of a statistical quirk,” the Washington Post’s Philip Bump recently explained. “In practice, though, it might have given Trump the White House.”

In contrast, Trump’s party lost control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections due mainly to large numbers of voters who cast ballots for Trump just two years earlier switched sides and voted for Democrats — particularly college-educated white women. 

President Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Now, in a troubling sign for Trump’s 2020 chances, all three groups — voters who disapprove of both candidates; voters who cast ballots for different parties in 2016 and 2018; and college-educated white women — are moving in Joe Biden’s direction.

By partnering with YouGov to track the views of 13 key demographic groups (suburban voters, Latino voters, white seniors) across nine important metrics (vote intention, Trump approval, direction of the country), Yahoo News has identified a significant shift away from Trump over the last week — a period in which the president delivered a poorly received debate performance and was hospitalized with COVID-19. 

Consider the following chart, which compares the results of the Sept. 25 Yahoo News/YouGov survey of 2,566 registered voters to the results of the Oct. 5 Yahoo News/YouGov survey of 3,970 U.S. registered voters:

In short order, Biden added 10 points to his lead among voters who dislike both candidates; 12 points to his lead among white-college educated women; and 16 points to his lead among 2016-2018 swing voters. 

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