Poll Finds Many Don't Believe Elections Are Fair And Open

Jul 17, 2018

Voters are a few months away from the midterm elections.

But do they feel confident that their votes will count?

Only half of American voters believe that elections are fair and open. That’s the conclusion of a new poll from the University of Virginia Center for Politics and Ipsos.

Geoff Skelley at the Center for Politics says Republicans are more likely to believe that elections are fair and open than Democrats. “Now I wonder if we had asked this question when Barack Obama was president if we might have found the reverse in terms of partisan breakdown or at least to some extent with Democrats expressing more confidence that the American election system is fair and open compared to Republicans.”

One thing voters in both parties agree on is campaign advertising-- that the source of funding for ads should be disclosed and that interest groups should follow the same rules as candidates.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says the political system is entering a danger zone if voters don’t believe elections are credible. “Better disclosure of donors, including money going indirectly to candidates, less gerrymandering, more protection against Russian involvement in our election mechanics — all of these things would help people feel better about their elections.”

The poll also found that Republicans and Democrats are divided about the role of the Supreme Court to tighten campaign finance laws. Democrats would like to see the court take swift action while most Republicans do not.

Click here for the complete poll results

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.