I argued over and over before the election that high turnout was not the key to beating Trump in the 2020 election. The key instead was doing better among persuadable voters who were not the usual suspects. Turns out I was right, as the new Pew validated voter data (and much previous data) confirm.
Nate Cohn covers the new Pew data:
“Married men and veteran households were probably not the demographic groups that Democrats assumed would carry the party to victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
But Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s apparent strength among traditionally moderate or even conservative constituencies, and especially men, is emerging as one of the hallmarks of his victory, according to new data from Pew Research.
Mr. Trump won married men by just a 54 to 44 percent margin — a net 20 point decline from his 62 to 32 percent victory in 2016. He won veteran households by a similar 55 to 43 percent margin, down a net 14 points from his 61 to 35 percent victory.
In both cases, the size of Mr. Biden’s gains among these relatively conservative groups rivals Mr. Trump’s far more publicized surge among Latino voters. Each group represents a larger share of the electorate than Latinos, as well….
Higher turnout did not reshape the electorate to the favor of Democrats, either. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many Democrats blamed Mrs. Clinton’s defeat on low turnout and support from young and nonwhite voters. Many progressives even believed that mobilizing Democratic constituencies alone could oust the president, based in part on the assumption that Mr. Trump had all but maxed-out his support among white, rural voters without a degree.
At the same time, Democrats supposed that higher turnout would draw more young and nonwhite voters to the polls, bolstering the party.
Overall, 73 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters voted in the 2020 election compared with 68 percent of Mr. Biden’s supporters. In comparison, Mr. Trump’s supporters were only 2 percentage points more likely to vote than Mrs. Clinton’s in 2016, according to the Pew data….
In the end, there was a far deeper well of support and enthusiasm for Mr. Trump than many progressives had imagined. An additional 13 million people voted for Mr. Trump in 2020 than in 2016. Voter records in states with party registration — like Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona — suggest that registered Republicans continued to turn out at a higher rate than registered Democrats, and in some cases even expanded their turnout advantage over the 2016 cycle….
Perhaps another Democrat would have mobilized voters more decisively. But the strong turnout for Mr. Trump implies that it would have been very challenging for any Democrat to win simply by outmuscling the other side.
Instead, Mr. Biden prevailed by making significant inroads among moderate or conservative constituencies.
Mr. Biden’s strength among these groups was not obvious on election night. His gains were largest in suburban areas, which are so heterogenous that it’s often hard to say exactly what kinds of voters might explain his inroads….[A]ccording to Pew Research, Mr. Biden made larger gains among married men than any other demographic group analyzed in the survey. He won 44 percent of married men, up from 32 percent for Mrs. Clinton in 2016. It’s an even larger surge for Mr. Biden than Pew showed Mr. Trump making among Latino voters, even though they do not stand out on the electoral map.
In a similar analysis, Catalist also showed that Mr. Biden made his largest inroads among married white men, though they showed smaller gains for Mr. Biden than Pew Research.
Mr. Biden also made significant, double-digit gains among white, non-Hispanic Catholics, a persuadable but somewhat conservative voting bloc. He won 16 percent of moderate to liberal Republicans, up from 9 percent for Mrs. Clinton in 2016. And Mr. Biden gained among men, even while making no ground or, according to Pew, losing ground, among women. As a result, the gender gap was cut in half over the last four years, to 13 points from 26 points in 2016.”
You want more Democratic votes? Persuade people to vote for you.