- Tourism Market Research
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Only a minority of US citizens hold a passport and can, as a result, travel outside of their country. How do you think passport holders would vote in the next US general election? Do those who travel abroad have a predisposition that leans in one direction?
LJ Research wanted to find out how voting behaviour between those who own a passport differed compared to the wider US population. To do so, we surveyed over 600 American outbound travellers (and thus passport holders) about their voting behaviour in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.
With just a handful of weeks left before the primary elections for both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidate begin, all eyes are on the front-runners. The Democratic party have a much narrower playing field than the Republicans; however, since the beginning of the race, two candidates have stood out the most frequent both in the media and in the polls: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
US travellers were asked: If the election for President of the USA were today, and the only 2 names on the ballot were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who would you vote for?
As is clear in the pie chart above those who indicated they would vote for Hillary Clinton had a distinct majority over those who said they would vote for Donald Trump. It is worth noting that 9% indicated that if it were down to these two candidates, they would not vote. Taking into account only those who would vote, the split becomes 63%-37% in favour of the former Secretary of State.
Trying to isolate and identify if the candidate or the party supersedes the vote, we asked respondents if they would vote enthusiastically, with some reservations, or with strong reservations for their candidate.
The chart above illustrates that, among passport holders, there is seemingly more confidence in Hillary Clinton as a candidate for the Democrats than in Donald Trump for the Republicans. 43% of Clinton vs. 27% of Trump-voters indicated they would vote enthusiastically; likewise, 21% of respondents indicated they would vote for Trump with strong reservations compared to only 11% of Clinton voters.
Those who indicated they would vote with reservations were asked whose name they would rather see on the ballot. Excluding 17% of respondents who were not sure shows that the most frequently cited candidates were for the Democrats: Bernie Sanders (47%) and for the Republicans: Ben Carson (26%), Marco Rubio (21%) and Ted Cruz ( 13%).
Taking a deeper look at the socio-demographic differences shows (much like the national US poll figures point out) that those who indicated they would vote for Hillary Clinton had a much higher likelihood to be female compared to those who said they would vote for Donald Trump, 66% vs. 47% respectively.
Lastly, US travellers from the East and West South Central of the United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas) had a much higher predisposition to vote for Trump. In fact, among passport holders from these specific regions – aggregated as one – Donald Trump came out on top with 57% of the votes – similar to the national US polls.
Regions that saw above average voting for Hillary Clinton came in the Midwest: East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) and in the West: Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington) where 72% of the respondents indicated they would vote for the former Secretary of State.
Comparing our 63%-37% figures in favour of Clinton to the latest national US presidential poll from January 8th pitting Trump against Clinton shows a very different story. Discounting those who would not vote, the poll predicts that it would be a neck and neck race, with 49% of the population voting for Trump and 51% voting for Clinton. This equates to a 12 percentage point difference to what US passport holders have indicated.
To gain a better understanding of what underlying factors might result in such a significant difference, we asked visitors to share their thoughts on why there was such a large variance. Below are some of the sentiments that were raised (initials after the comment depict which candidate the particular respondent said they would vote for).
“I think people who travel have a better understanding of us living in ‘one world’ and have a better understanding of different cultures.” HC
“She is leading among Americans who are higher wage earners – people who can afford to travel.” DT
“American travellers are usually better educated and more affluent than the US Americans as a whole. Polls show that Trump supporters are more often non college educated and blue-collar workers.” HC
“Perhaps more American travellers are more liberal on the whole and take vacations, whereas conservatives tend to either not go abroad for vacations or take shorter vacations that preclude overseas travel. This may be due to some conservatives being more apt to spend their disposable income saving for the future paying off debt, etc…” DT
“When one travels, they experience more cultures and often become more accepting of others different than ourselves. Donald Trump is largely abrasive towards others different than himself.” HC
“People who travel are less fearful or leery of new things – those who support Clinton’s opposition seem to be more fearful and closed to new ideas.” HC