Red or Blue – The impact of COVID-19 induced migration on the US election results

Year after year, voter sentiment witnesses a shift in the months prior to elections majorly based on these 3 factors:-

  • Turn of national events from May 2020
  • Campaign strategies
  • Change of home locations which will impact the gerrymandering strategies

This year the most interesting factor can be the last one given that there has been an immense spike due to COVID-19 induced displacement owing to either change or loss of jobs or transition  to work from home setups.

If the US election had taken place in Pre-COVID 2020, the Democrats and Republicans would have received a certain share of votes, indicative of the voters sentiment around May. 

However, given the turn of events, there is no question that there has been a shift in voter sentiment. The question is how much of that shift can be attributed to change in home location.

To understand the shift in detail, we have observed the change of home locations from pro-democratic & pro-republican states to swing states in the period of May to September. Combining this with an added layer of demographic data has helped us in accurately predicting the change in preferences if any. 

Based on this information, we have estimated a leaning preference of various swing states. 

Leaning % = Vote counts for the party which has a higher count / (Democrat votes + Republican votes)

Solely based on homelocation shift, so far it seems like swing states are going to side with democrats.

We also went on to observe the migration on a granular level.

Below are the Top 3 states saw the maximum change of home locations

Republican state to any of the Swing states:


Democratic state to any of the Swing states: 

Based on our calculations, the swing state that received the highest influx from a republican state is Iowa while Wisconsin received the highest influx from a democratic state.

We also looked at the granular breakup of various age-groups based on migration.

Below are the Top 3 states that saw the maximum change of home locations based on specific age groups from any state to any of the swing states.

Delaware was a common preference when it came to both the age brackets of 25 to 34 and 35 to 44. On the other hand, the percentage of home location shift was highest for the 44+ age groups. 

As mentioned in our earlier analysis, if just home location shift is to be considered as an isolated contributing factor to US election results, then democrats are leading.

Disclaimer: The data used to measure the impact on COVID-19 based migration on US elections is not conclusive as the election results will depend on multiple factors. If you choose to reuse our analysis, please contextualize it and attribute the content to Near. Near’s data platform is privacy-by-design and the data is gathered from real-world signals in an anonymized and aggregated form.