WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 18, 2016) – As the 2016 campaign enters its final weeks, very few voters who support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton expect their spouse or partner to cross the aisle and vote for the other candidate, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.
Overall, 78% of registered voters who support Trump for president say their spouse or partner also intends to vote for Trump, while just 3% say their partner is planning to vote for Clinton.
The numbers are almost identical among Clinton supporters: 77% say their partner also backs Clinton, compared with just 3% who say their partner is supporting Trump.
Comparable shares of both candidates’ supporters – 15% of those who favor Trump and 14% who back Clinton – say they do not know the voting preferences of their spouse or partner.
The new survey was conducted online September 27 to October 10 on the nationally representative American Trends Panel of 3,616 registered voters, including 2,405 voters who are either married or living with a partner. It was largely completed before the release of a videotape from 2005 showing Trump making lewd comments about women.
The survey finds that a large majority of voters (78%) say they talk about politics with their spouse or partner at least somewhat often, with 44% saying the topic comes up very often. Half of Trump supporters and 45% of Clinton supporters say politics comes up very often in conversation with their significant other.
Voters who support Libertarian Gary Johnson for president are far less likely than Trump or Clinton voters to talk politics with their spouse or partner, and are less likely to know how their spouse is voting next month. Just 18% of Johnson supporters say they talk about politics very often with their spouse or partner. While 32% of Johnson supporters say their partner is voting for either Trump (15%) or Clinton (17%), four-in-ten say he or she prefers another candidate, while 28% say they do not know how their partner is voting.
Given the broad agreement in voting preferences among those in relationships, it is not surprising that relatively few voters report arguing with their spouse or partner about the election.
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Among all registered voters, 85% say they have not argued about the election with their spouse or partner, while just 15% have. But arguments are more common among the 11% of voters who say their spouse or partner will vote for a different candidate. About four-in-ten of these voters (41%) say they’ve had an argument about the election, compared with 13% of those whose partner plans to support the same candidate and 10% of those who do not know their partner’s plan.
The survey also finds that nearly nine-in-ten men who back Clinton (89%) say their spouse or partner also supports Clinton. By contrast, only about two-thirds (68%) of women who support Clinton say their partner is also planning to vote for her. In part this is because women who support Clinton are more likely than men who support her to say they do not know who their partner will support (18% vs. 9%).
Among Trump supporters, the pattern is reversed, if somewhat less pronounced. A greater share of women than men (83% vs. 74%) say their partner or spouse also supports Trump.