“After The 2022 Midterms, Do Americans Trust Elections?”

New from the Yankelovich Center at UCSD:

Jennifer Gaudette, Seth Hill, Thad Kousser, and Mackenzie Lockhart, UC San Diego
Mindy Romero, USC Center for Inclusive Democracy

The closely contested 2020 presidential race was followed by unsubstantiated allegations of vote fraud and a wide partisan divide over trust in elections. Democrats became significantly more confident than Republicans and independents that election results accurately reflected the vote, with Republicans especially voicing concerns over widespread fraud. Since then, election officials across the country have worked to explain to the public the protections that safeguard the integrity of elections in order to restore faith in democracy. Our academic team collaborated with nonpartisan election officials in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, and Los Angeles County to design this survey gauging voter confidence after the midterm elections and to test the impact of their public information efforts. We fielded a UC San Diego Yankelovich Center Survey from November 17-27th, 2022, asking a sample of 3,038 Americans drawn to reflect the eligible voter population about their confidence in elections and their view of the midterm contests. We also tested the effects of public information messages produced by election officials in two states. As the sections below explore in greater detail, our key findings are that:

• The 2022 midterms restored overall faith in elections, but not among Republicans. After the contests concluded, trust in the United States’ election system rose sharply among both Democratic and independent American adults, but not among Republicans.

• There is a wide partisan gap in faith in the integrity of the 2022 midterm elections. Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to view the results of this November’s election as accurate, while Republicans are more than five times as likely to suspect significant fraud. The counting of mail ballots and the worry that votes are cast illegally are sources of particular concern for Republicans and some independents.

• Regardless of partisanship, respondents have more faith in the integrity of elections in their own state than in other states and are confident that their own ballot will be counted accurately. And while trust in elections is correlated with voter turnout, a significant majority of those who do report distrust in our election system still
participate in it.

• Respondents of all partisanships who watched a video that explains who election officials are or what steps they take to protect elections became more trusting in their accuracy and integrity and less likely to agree that specific types of fraud are common….

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