Election 2020: Which Candidate Do Federal Employees Prefer?

An informal survey of readers over the past 10 days provides insight into which candidates for president are the most popular.

Which candidates do federal employees and retirees prefer to see as the nominees and which candidates will receive their votes in the upcoming presidential election?

Obviously, events occur quickly and these events can change voter perceptions. No doubt, there will be even more changes than usual with the current panic involving COVID-19 and the stock market.

Comments from Readers

FedSmith asked readers a series of questions in a recent survey to gauge their current preferences. Here are the results.

Hundreds of comments were submitted by readers in the original article and they are still available for review. Readers are also welcome to submit comments at the end of this article. Politics can often be an incendiary subject, so as a friendly reminder, commenters are asked to respectfully share their opinions instead of hurling insults to engage in a productive debate. FedSmith reserves the right to remove comments containing profanity or that are unusually insulting or offensive to others.

Most Respondents are “Independent” Voters

2,168 people took the survey. Here is how these readers described their political affiliation:


About 96% of those responding are current or retired federal employees. A small percentage of respondents identified themselves as military or retired military, union employees or people without any affiliation with the federal government.

Trump Top Choice of Survey Respondents

Here are the overall results of the survey.

Joe Biden (D)37.54%
Donald Trump (R)52.75%
Bernie Sanders (D)7.86%
Other 1.85%

Donald Trump obviously comes out on top in this survey with almost 53% of the vote. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders did not fare well with almost 8% of the respondents favoring him as the future nominee for Democrats. Former Vice-President Joe Biden was the preference for almost 38% of the respondents. Biden and Sanders together received about 45.4% or about 8% less than those expressing a preference for President Trump.

The “other” category was a smattering of choices reflecting some preference for candidates who worked to become the Democrats’ nominee. There are also several who expressed a preference for former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. There were also a number of “no preference” as the choice as well as a few for “Mickey Mouse” or similar cartoon characters.

Impact of Unions on Voting Opinions

About 83% of respondents indicated they are not members of a federal employee union and about 17% are members of a union.

One survey question asked, “Do the political opinions of federal employee unions influence your vote in Congressional or Presidential elections?” Most indicated they are not influenced by unions.

They make me more inclined to vote for the candidates they endorse4.95%
They make me less inclined to vote for the candidates they endorse8.83%
They do not influence my opinion86.22%

And, as noted above, events move quickly. Joe Biden’s campaign went from being declared over and done with by many in the media as Bernie Sander’s momentum was building. After the South Carolina primary, momentum switched and Democrats around the country seemed to simultaneously move from Sanders to Biden. Now, Sanders may be ending his campaign or at least cutting it back in light of the most recent primaries which have expanded Biden’s delegate count.

So, we know change will occur. We will keep in touch with the preferences of readers as we move closer to the election and, hopefully, away from the fear and panic surrounding the coronavirus.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47