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Is the U.S. Presidential Race About the Race?

Study, conducted by NayaDaya, YouGov, and Statista, reveals that emotions are running high in the U.S. presidential race. The ethnic background of voters has a strong impact on emotions and behavior toward the candidates.

Study shows that U.S. voters of all races feel more positively for Joe Biden’s election than for Donald Trump’s re-election. Biden’s lead is the greatest among the African-Americans: They feel almost four times more often positive emotions toward Biden’s election than Trump’s re-election (Biden 65 % vs. Trump 17 %).


Among the white respondents, candidates are close: Biden has a slight lead (positive for Biden 46 % vs. positive for Trump 43 %). As for the Hispanic and Latino Americans, Biden’ lead is clear (positive for Biden 57 % vs. positive for Trump 34 %).


The top three most chosen emotions for the re-election of Trump among the black voters are

  • Disappoinment (19 %)

  • Disgust (14 %)

  • Fear (10 %)

  • (No emotion 15 %)

The top three emotions for the election of Biden among the black voters are

  • Relief (27 %)

  • Disappointment (11 %)

  • Joy (10 %)

  • (No emotion 10 %)

“While issues regarding race and violence have become an open wound in the U.S. presidential elections, it’s noteworthy that among the African-Americans, the emotional polarization is particularly negative for Trump and positive for Biden. Our scientific behavior matrix underlines this by predicting that 58 percent of the black voters are loyal to Biden and only 13 percent to Trump. The big question is, however, how much of the emotional engagement levels will turn into voting behavior",” says Timo Salomäki, Head of Global Growth of NayaDaya Inc.


African-Americans are proud of Harris


As for the VP candidates, Kamala Harris has a strong lead over Mike Pence among the black population (positive for Harris 61 % vs. positive for Pence 15 %).


The Hispanic and Latino Americans also favour Harris over Pence (positive for Harris 55 % vs. positive for Pence 30 %). Even among the white voters, although the competition is tight, Pence loses to Harris (positive for Harris 44 % vs. positive for Pence 42 %).


The top three most chosen emotions for the re-election of Pence among the black voters are

  • Disappoinment (20 %)

  • Disgust (18 %)

  • Sadness (7 %)

  • (No emotion 18 %)

The top three emotions for the election of Harris among the black voters are

  • Pride (18 %)

  • Relief (9 %)

  • Joy (8 %)

  • (No emotion 9 %)

“Emotional experiences among the African-American voters are like night and day for Pence’s and Harris’ elections. Harris arouses feelings of pride, joy, admiration, and interest that have a strong impact on positive, engaged behavior while emotions toward Pence’s re-election are highly negative and less engaging. Moreover, there are opposite emotions as well – for example, seven percent of the black voters feel contempt toward the election of the first female U.S. vice president in the history,” says Timo Järvinen, CEO of NayaDaya Inc.


Study facts:

  • Data was collected as an online survey through the YouGov panel in the U.S. September 2-4, 2020

  • The quota sampling was implemented on the basis of age, gender, and geographic location to represent the overall U.S. adult population

  • Other variables were race, education, income, marital status, social networks, and political party preference

  • N=1265, margin of error ±2.5 percentage points

Read the press release about the general study insights


Download the free report with some key findings


Get the premium report and data


The premium content (56 pages) includes
 the free report plus

  • Positive or negative valence for each candidate

  • Emotional Value Index for each candidate

  • Behavior matrices with emotions and percentages 
for each candidate (loyals, passives, leavers and adversaries)

  • Emotion profiles and meanings for each candidate

  • Behavior matrices and emotion profiles for sub-groups and each candidate (political party 
preference, gender, age, race, education,
 income, Twitter users)

  • Behavioral analytics and data with details and diagrams (Microsoft Excel format)

  • Emotion data with all variables: Gender, age, geographic region, race, education, marital status, parent or guardian of any children, annual income,
 social networks memberships, political 
party preference (Microsoft Excel format)

Further Information

Timo Järvinen, CEO, NayaDaya Inc., timo@nayadaya.com, +358 40 505 7745

Timo Salomäki, Head of Global Growth, NayaDaya Inc., timos@nayadaya.com, +358 40 709 2399


NayaDaya Inc. uncovers the emotional and behavioral influence of brands and phenomena. Through data, insight, empathy, and impact we empower responsible brands, organizations, and leaders to thrive and shape the world. News, data, and further information at www.nayadaya.com.

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