skip to main content
The Metrics That Matter for Election 2020
Interactive

The Metrics That Matter for Election 2020

Use this interactive to explore more than 70 years of trends for key indicators related to the 2020 election, and see how current attitudes on each compare to past elections.

These indicators include presidential job approval, Americans' satisfaction with the direction of the country, Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index, mentions of economic issues as the most important problem facing the country, party identification and the amount of thought Americans are giving to the election.

These trends will be updated on a regular basis throughout the 2020 campaign.

The percentage of Americans who approve of the job the incumbent president is doing at any given time. Incumbent job approval has been a strong predictor of reelection, historically.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

The percentage of Americans who are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. U.S. satisfaction gives an indication of Americans’ desire for change in the upcoming election.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index (ECI) is the average of two components: Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their views of whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100, if all Americans believe the economy is excellent or good and getting better. The theoretical minimum is -100, achieved if all Americans say the economy is poor and getting worse. From George H.W. Bush through Barack Obama, ECI scores were closely aligned with job approval: Positive ECI was typically associated with 50% or greater presidential job approval and therefore incumbent reelection.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

An open-ended measure of what Americans believe to be the most important problem facing the U.S. The percentage of Americans citing economic issues is a good indicator of the importance of the U.S. economy as an election issue.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

The percentage of Americans identifying their party as Democratic (or who lean Democratic) minus the percentage identifying as Republican, or leaning Republican. Since 1992, Democrats have averaged a six-percentage-point advantage in party identification and leaning in presidential election years, ranging from a low of three points to a high of 12 points. The size of the Democratic advantage offers a view of potential voting patterns for presidential elections.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

The percentage of Americans who have a favorable view of the incumbent president and, separately, the opposition candidate for the presidency. Typically, the more favorably rated candidate has won presidential elections.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

INCUMBENT
OPPONENT

The percentage of Americans saying they have given "quite a lot" thought to the upcoming presidential election when asked using a Gallup question wording instituted in 1952. The amount of thought given to an election is an important indicator of voter engagement and relates to voter turnout in national elections. Higher percentages of Americans giving "quite a lot" of thought to the election have corresponded with higher levels of voter turnout.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

The percentage of Americans who say they are "more enthusiastic than usual" about voting in the election rather than "less enthusiastic." While not strongly related to voter turnout, per se, the relative enthusiasm of Republicans and Democrats has often provided an indication of which party’s candidate will win.

Choose up to four years from the drop-down menu to compare.

DEMOCRAT
REPUBLICAN

Feature Section

Three key indicators of an incumbent president’s reelection strength are presidential job approval, U.S. satisfaction with the direction of the nation and confidence in the economy (Gallup's Economic Confidence Index).

Incumbent Job Approval

The percentage of Americans who approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing.

U.S. Satisfaction

The percentage of Americans who are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.

Economic Confidence Index

Americans’ evaluation of the U.S. economy, on a scale from -100 to +100.