U.S. 2020 Predictive Election Tracker: January update

By: Emily Kuzan

Featured chart: Support for President Trump increasing

Share who prefer President Trump to win the 2020 Presidential Election

The past month has been eventful for President Trump; on December 18th, the House of Representatives voted along party lines to impeach him, followed two weeks later by backlash after killing Iran’s ‘Number Two’, General Qasem Soleimani, in a drone strike without Congressional approval. Have these significant events impacted Americans’ support for President Trump?

We randomly exposed respondents to three head-to-head matchups (against Former Vice President Biden, Senator Sanders, and Senator Warren), consolidated the results and excluded don’t know responses to find what share of respondents would prefer President Trump to win re-election in 2020. In the lead up to President Trump’s impeachment, support for him grew. While this support dropped sharply after his impeachment, it quickly began to rally the following week.

President Trump’s election in 2016 hinged on him winning several key swing states. Again, this election will likely be decided by the outcomes of these battleground states. While the above chart shows that Trump’s support is gaining nationally, in the future we will look to specific regional and state-level results to better predict the outcome of the upcoming election. In this study, RIWI’s unweighted survey data nearly match U.S. census data when comparing age, gender, and geographic distribution (as highlighted in our first monthly update).

RIWI survey respondent vs US Census data

At the national level the election is still wide open, say RIWI crowd predictors

Regardless of whom you support, which party do you think will win your state in the 2020 Presidential election?
Democratic Party Republican Party Don’t know
24% 24% 52%
Source: RIWI data, US tracking, December 1, 2019-January 12, 2020, 7,795 respondents.
Respondents are unique, anonymous, and unincentivized.
  • Both academic and previous RIWI predictions show that asking who respondents think will win is more predictive than tallying individual preferences
  • The Republican party pulls ahead among those who believe it is worth their time to vote; 37% of likely voters believe the Republican party will win in the state, 33% believe the Democratic party will, while 30% don’t know

President Trump wins in every head-to-head matchup

This month in our head-to-head matchups we continue to see a high share of don’t know responses, narrowing slightly again in Senator Warren’s case. With support for Former Vice President Biden falling this month, no Democratic candidate wins when facing off with President Trump.

Who do you personally prefer to win in the 2020 Presidential Election?

We added South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg to our matchups this month. While he may be leading the polls in Iowa (the first nominating contest in the Democratic primaries), we find that Mayor Buttigieg is struggling nationally to keep up with the three leading Democratic candidates when facing off with President Trump. We will continue to track his progress as we head into the Democratic primaries.

About 2020 In-Focus: RIWI Predictive Election Tracker

RIWI’s election tracker is different than traditional methods because it:

  • Uses RIWI-powered technology that accurately predicted the 2016 Presidential Election
  • It is continuous and real-time
  • It reflects both engaged and politically disengaged populations, in contrast to traditional polls which typically capture engaged, often paid, populations
  • It reflects views anonymously, reducing social desirability bias

Two of the “X-factors” that caused conventional polls to miss the 2016 election and that could manifest again in 2020 were 1) the underreflection of typically disengaged populations including those in the Midwest and 2) the “shy Trump voter” effect1. The RIWI patented methodology and technology platform addresses both X-factors.

From October 2019 to the November 2020 election, expect monthly updates on which party Americans think will win the Presidential Election, who Americans personally prefer to win the Presidential Election, and a new monthly insight depending on what the data reveal.

  1. Russonello, G. (2019, November 23). Four Problems With 2016 Trump Polling That Could Play Out Again in 2020. The New York Times. Retrieved from