In every poll leading up to the election, the question was asked to voters about what the critical issue of the election was. Climate change, the economy and jobs were consistently in the top 5 responses, but COVID-19 was always the number 1 issue. The result of this election was supposed to hinge on which candidate could lead America out of the pandemic; however, this did not occur. Biden was expected to dominate the election, but he didn’t. So, why didn’t COVID-19 significantly impact the American election result?
It’s important to acknowledge that America has suffered immensely from the virus. More than 240,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and over 10 million, including the President himself, have contracted the virus. Even those who haven’t directly caught the virus have been affected in some way.
Biden cleverly attempted to frame the election as a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic. People seemed to be unhappy about Trump’s response to the pandemic, and it seemed likely that this strategy by Biden could flip many conservatives into voting for him. However, the tremendous political division in America ensured that COVID-19 would barely make an impact when the ballots started to be counted.
For those who voted against Donald Trump, COVID-19 didn’t make a difference in their decision. Most of these people already disapproved of Trump well before the pandemic and the virus only strengthened their belief on why Trump should be re-elected.
And, for those who had been planning to vote for Trump, believed that Trump had done an admirable job in combatting the virus. Throughout this year, Trump has consistently avoided talking about the human cost of the virus, rather, speaking about the economy and blaming China for any harm caused to America.
Exit poll results showed that Trump voters overwhelmingly said that the economy was the most important issue to them. This is what Trump has been talking about for months, along with downplaying the virus and promising vaccines soon.
COVID-19 didn’t change republicans’ perspective of Trump.
COVID-19 didn’t change democrats’ perspective of Trump.
A once in a lifetime, a deadly, destructive virus that impacted every single person in America and every single person in the world still couldn’t puncture the profound partisanship that dominates American politics.
America has never been more divided.
And, Biden has an unfathomable job to do if he wishes to bring unity to America.
COVID-19 was supposed to change the election, but in reality, it only made people more secure in their previous beliefs. And, this has just given another reason to never ever look at polls seriously again.