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16% of US Residents Would Consider Leaving the Country if their Candidate Loses

A recent survey asked how seriously US residents would consider moving to a different state or a different country, if political changes not to their liking take place

Published on October 27, 2020

Moving Truck outside the White House A truck moving Bill Clinton into the White House in 1993. Will some leave the country in the aftermath of the 2020 election? Photo: Clinton Library

A recent survey conducted by real estate firm Redfin has asked Americans if they would consider moving overseas based on the result of next week's 2020 US election. 16 percent of respondents based in the US said they would consider a move abroad if their preferred candidate lost the presidential election, which compares to 9% who said they'd consider moving based on the outcome of the 2016 election.

Of the 16% who said they would consider leaving after the 2020 election, 9% said "I will consider leaving", 4% said "I will seriously consider leaving", while 3% said "I will absolutely leave the country". Interestingly, in 2016, 30% of respondents said they might joke about leaving the US, but wouldn't actually make the move, while ahead of the 2020 election, only 25% said they might joke about it.

Daryl Fairweather, Chief Economist at Redfin, explained that "The desire to leave the country due to political dissatisfaction is relatable for people on both sides of the aisle, but most people who say they would consider it likely won't follow through given the financial and legal barriers. Still, 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."

The survey also looked at whether Americans would factor the political views of specific areas before moving, with 42% saying "they would be hesitant to move to an area where most residents have political views that differ from their own", up from 32% in June 2020 and 38% in June 2019.

The study also looked at how Supreme Court decisions may affect where Americans choose to live. 24% of respondents said they would want to move to a different state if the "Supreme Court increases states' rights with respect to health care, reproductive laws, gun laws, etc." Redfin explains that "An increase in states' rights could make choosing where to live more significant because the laws from state to state would differ more than they do now. For instance, if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, state rather than federal law would determine the legality of abortion."

Responding to this part of the study, Fairweather commented that "Homebuyers may 'vote with their feet' and relocate out of a state if their laws change in a way that is misaligned with their values ... Businesses may also move for the same reason, or to follow the talent, which would impact local economies. When Georgia passed a highly restrictive abortion bill in 2019, many companies threatened to relocate. Although a federal judge blocked that bill, a more conservative judiciary may have allowed it to become law, which likely would have caused some residents to leave while attracting others."

For the full details of the study, and methodology, go to www.redfin.com/news/move-different-country-election.

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