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Study: Kamala Harris is a Wild Card in the Highly Emotional U.S. Presidential Race

According to study, conducted by NayaDaya, YouGov, and Statista, Kamala Harris stands out from the candidates in the U.S. presidential race. Her election evokes most positive, engaging emotions: Pride, admiration, and interest.

While the (re)election of Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence arouses mostly relief, disgust, fear, and disappointment, Kamala Harris’ election has a different impact on U.S. voter emotions and behavior. The negative, disengaging emotions of disgust and fear are strong among the Republicans, but among the Democrats, Harris evokes the much needed positively engaging emotions that are hard to create for Biden.


The most chosen emotions for Harris’ election among the Democrats are pride and admiration. Pride indicates success, high self-esteem, and positive social worth. Admiration, on the other hand, implies appreciation for Harris and her extraordinary qualities. As for Biden, the most chosen emotion is relief that has a relatively low engaging influence.


"In general, U.S. citizens seem to vote to avoid the undesirable result, but as for Harris, the supporters of the Democrats are truly inspired by her actual election. From the emotional point of view, she’s the star of the Democrats,” says Timo Salomäki, Head of Global Growth of NayaDaya Inc.


Harris creates most emotional value of all four candidates


According to the Emotional Value Index (EVI) indicator that predicts positive, engaged, and prosocial behavior, Harris creates more emotional value to the presidential campaign than any other candidate. While Pence is like Trump’s shadow, Harris is adding distinctive emotional value for the team Biden.


Males’ and females’ emotional reactions for Harris’ election differ from each other. As for all male voters, the top three most chosen emotions for her election are

  • Disgust (16 %)

  • Pride (9 %)

  • Disappointment (8 %)

  • (No emotion 8 %)

As for all female voters, the top three most chosen emotions for Harris’ election are

  • Pride (10 %)

  • Admiration (10 %)

  • Interest (9 %)

  • (No emotion 11 %)

It’s noteworthy that among the female voters, disgust is the fourth most chosen emotion (9 %) for Harris’ election.

Compared to Pence, Harris has a clear lead according to the scientific behavioral matrix. Among all U.S. citizens, Harris has more loyal voters (Harris 42 % vs. Pence 27 %). She is especially strong among the young voters between 18-34 (loyal to Harris 40 % vs. loyal to Pence 19 %), the black voters (loyal to Harris 54 % vs. loyal to Pence 11 %), and people with annual income under $40k (loyal to Harris 40 % vs. loyal to Pence 21 %).


“Harris is a kind of wild card in the highly emotional U.S. presidential game. She is able to ignite highly engaging emotions that may be crucial for the election result. It’s interesting to see how the team Biden will play that card, and how the team Trump is trying to tackle it, during the last weeks of the campaign,” 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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