The report, based on an October survey of more than 3,000 people, found that 16 percent said they’d consider moving out of the U.S. based on the election results. Given that the U.S. is currently home to more than 255 million voting-aged people, the findings suggest that millions of Americans have at least entertained the notion of decamping to a foreign country.
While that finding alone is notable, perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that when Redfin conducted a similar survey in 2016 only 9 percent of respondents said they’d consider abandoning the U.S. based on that year’s presidential election.
Election Day this year falls on Nov. 3, though tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots via early voting options. Early voting is expected to hit record numbers this year, driven in part by the coronavirus pandemic and in part by the radically different visions put forward by incumbent President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden.
In the case of Redfin’s findings, the company specifically discovered that 3 percent of respondents would “absolutely” leave the U.S. if their preferred candidate loses in November. That’s up from 0 percent four years ago.
Redfin’s report additionally revealed that 20 percent of voters who support Biden said they would leave the U.S. if he loses. Among Trump supporters, 15 percent said they’d depart if the president loses reelection.
Moreover, the survey also found that 24 percent of voters would consider moving to another state if the U.S. Supreme Court increased states’ rights on issues such as healthcare and birth control.
The report’s findings come after some have speculated that COVID-driven migration — for example from pricey Democratic states such as California to cheaper-but-contested states such as Arizona — could ultimately change the election’s outcome. Landlords in multiple states have also threatened to raise rents if Biden wins.
Still, it’s at least unlikely that there will ultimately be a mass exodus from the U.S. after Nov. 3, or that real estate could take a hit thanks to fleeing Americans. In the report, Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather argued that while the desire to leave due to political dissatisfaction is relatable, people “likely won’t follow through given the financial and legal barriers.”
Instead, Fairweather framed the numbers as a sign of the country’s political atmosphere.
“The uptick in the share of people who say they would consider leaving the country since the 2016 election is one sign that the nation has become more politically divided,” she said in the report.