Insider poll: People without a college degree are much more likely than others to say they don't intend to vote this year

  • A new set of polls from Insider in conjunction with SurveyMonkey found Americans without a college degree to be far more likely to say they don't intend to vote in the 2020 election than other groups.
  • Among those without a high school diploma or equivalent, 40% said they have no plans to vote this year.
  • Those responses make the group 28% more likely than the average respondent to not vote.
  • Almost 20% of those with a high school diploma or equivalent said they won't vote, with a steep dropoff in non-voter responses from there among other demographics.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A new round of Insider polls found voters without college degrees to be significantly more likely than the average respondent to say they don't intend to vote in the 2020 election.

This data is based on an aggregation of eight polls with a total of 8,975 respondents conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience from August through early October. Respondents were asked if they were registered to vote and then subsequently if they intended to vote in the 2020 election, as well as a number of other demographic questions. Overall, 12% of respondents indicated they probably or definitely would not vote in the 2020 election. 


Americans without a high school diploma were 28 percentage points more likely than overall respondents to say they were not planning to vote.

Those with a high school degree or equivalent were 7 percentage points more likely than the average respondent to say they're not voting.

Among voters with less than a high school diploma, 40% said they have no plans to vote — by far the highest among any other subsection.

Nearly 20% of high school degree respondents said they won't vote, and then there was another dropoff from there.

  • 11% of respondents with some college but no degree said they didn't intend to vote
  • 10% of those with an associate's degree said they had no plans to vote
  • 8% with graduate degrees said they had no intention of voting
  • 7% with bachelor's degrees said they were not voting in 2020

These responses line up with previous surveys on the correlation between education level and voting.

In a non-partisan Knight Foundation study of the 43% of eligible voters who did not turn out in 2016, non-voters were found to be much less likely to be informed about the political process and to actively seek out news.

"A significant gap between voters and non-voters exists in terms of educational attainment," the study's authors wrote. "Non-voters are significantly less likely to have graduated from college than their active voter counterparts, although highly educated non-voters also exist."

Beyond not keeping up as much with the news, the Knight Foundation study found non-voters also struggled with navigating through the voting process.  

With white voters without a college degree making up a substantial portion of President Donald Trump's base, it could seem as if the propensity for low turnout here would adversely affect President Trump.

However, the Knight Foundation study found non-voters to be more evenly split on ideology than the actual electorate, and if the 43% that didn't vote in 2016 had actually voted, it would have led to relatively even gains for both candidates.

Insider's polling also found white respondents to be 3 percentage points less likely than the average respondent to mark themselves down as a non-voter, with just 9% of white respondents overall saying they have no plans to vote.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weight its sample based on race or income. 

More on non-voters:

Who the hell are non-voters? We polled them and found the 6 kinds of people who don't vote

Insider poll: More than 20% of Asian Americans say they do not plan on voting in the 2020 election

Unemployed Americans are more likely to not vote, a new Insider poll finds

America's 1.3 million Jehovah's Witnesses will be sitting out the election

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