how Trump and Biden supporters think about their identities

We surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,267 Americans from May 29-June 10, 2020. Biden led by 50.5%-37%. That result is now far out of date. However, respondents answered more than 350 questions either in this survey or in surveys that they had taken previously. As a result, we are able to look at many more attributes of the electorate than in a typical political poll: matters like which chronic diseases Biden and Trump supporters have, whether they donate money to colleges, how they define their identity, and whether they have pets. (In case you’re wondering, Trump voters are 8 points more likely to have pets.) Given the remarkable stability of the race, I am confident these patterns still apply.

This new article on the Equity Research website provides a lot of detail. Here I’ll just share the portion about identity. All the statistics reported here are for likely voters: those who rated their own chances of voting in November 2020 as seven or higher on a 10-point scale.

Only 10% of whites said that race was important to their own identity (or “salient”). Among that group, Trump led by 61.5%-31%, whereas Trump’s lead among other whites was just 5 points (47%-42%–less than a majority).

More than half of African Americans (57%) said that their race was salient, and those African Americans supported Biden over Trump by 96%-3%. The margin was somewhat closer (80%-10%) among African Americans who did not report that race was salient

About one third (31%) of Latinos said that race was salient, and they favored Biden by 67%-23%. Among the majority of Latinos who said that race was not salient, Biden’s margin was somewhat narrower (60%-19%).

Biden led narrowly (48%-42%) among women who see gender as salient, but by a wide margin (52%-30%) among those who do not. Women who see gender as salient were also more likely to identify as conservative compared to women who do not see gender as important to their own identity (26% versus 18%). It appears that women who see gender as salient are more often expressing traditionalist views of gender rather than feminist views. Biden also performed better among men if they did not see gender as important to their identities.

Twenty-eight percent of voters reported that religion was important to their identity. Trump led 58%-31% among those voters, whereas Biden led by a similar margin, 58%-29.5%, among voters who did not see religion as salient.

As shown in Fig. 1, Biden led among all categories of people who felt that class was not important to their own identities, and especially among those in the lowest and highest income categories who felt that way. Trump led by substantial majorities among people who felt that class was important to their identities and were in either the low- or high-income brackets. In other words, Trump led among working-class people who identified with their class and among wealthy people who identified with their class.

More on the Equity Research website.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.