Covid deaths could change election results: Do more Republican voters die than Democrats?
The projected deaths for Covid-19 in the USA are horrific -- 100,000 to 240,000. Let's hope it's not nearly that bad, but those numbers are enough that they actually could alter the election. Not simply because Covid-19 will be the top issue in the election, but because voters will die.
While right now most deaths are in "blue states" like New York, California and the like, it won't affect their votes. As always, it revolves around the swing states: FL, PA, MI, NC, WI, AZ. Especially Florida and Pennyslvania. By definition these states have evenly balanced numbers of Trump supporters and Biden supporters.
Covid-19 overwhelmingly kills those over 65. It kills a few younger people but far fewer. Older people vote much more than younger people. Seniors favoured Trump 52% to 45% in 2016, Twentysomethings favoured Clinton 55% to 36%.
Covid-19 also kills 50% more men than women. Men favoured Trump 52 to 41 in 2016, women favoured Clinton 54 to 41.
There is speculation Covid will strike lower income people more for a variety of reasons. This is as yet unproven, but they favoured Clinton 53 to 41, while those over $50K in income slightly favoured Trump, 48 to 47. Lower income people are less able to self-isolate and give up work and have less health care access.
At present, Covid-19 is more present in cities. It is unknown if this will persist as it spreads. In theory it should not, but since it began in cities, and slows down after lockdown, it might stay mostly in cities. Urban voters favour Democrats over GOP by 59% to 35%. Rural voters favour GOP by 62% to 34%. Suburban voters are even. This is the real divide between the parties.
What will matter, then, is whether Covid-19 hurts city and country differently in Florida and Pennsylvania, in particular. Florida waited until April 1 for lockdown. PA waited until March 16, with further measures March 19.
And of course, there is the effect of the crisis as a political issue. For now, Trump's approval numbers are up. Head to head polls of Biden vs. Trump in swing states do not show strong movement in either way during the crisis. I am maintaining a list of all the swing state polls -- the only polls that matter -- in this spreadsheet