- 59% of Americans say they are not confident in the honesty of U.S. elections
- Confidence measurably worse only in Chile and Mexico
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Although their faith has been shaken for some time, Americans are heading into their next presidential election with relatively little confidence in the honesty of the process. Four in 10 Americans (40%) interviewed in 2019 said they are confident in the honesty of elections in the country, while the majority (59%) said they are not.
Americans' current level of confidence in their elections is far from the lowest it has been at times in the past decade, but it is notably one of the worst ratings across the world's wealthiest democracies. Ratings were statistically lower last year only in Chile (31%) and Mexico (30%).
|United States of America||40||59|
|Gallup World Poll 2019|
The latest data for the U.S. come from the Gallup World Poll of Americans conducted in April and May 2019. At that time, eight U.S. intelligence agencies had confirmed allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election and identified attempts to engage in similar activities during the 2018 midterms. Additionally, cybersecurity experts had raised some substantial questions concerning the potential digital security vulnerabilities of computerized voting systems.
However, Americans' doubts about their elections are not new. Majorities of Americans have consistently lacked confidence in the honesty of elections every year since 2012. Americans' lack of confidence peaked at 69% in 2016, in the midst of the presidential campaign that year.
Gallup World Poll surveying in 2016 was conducted in the midst of allegations that the process to select the Democratic Party presidential nomination had been interfered with to the detriment of then-candidate Bernie Sanders. The survey also took place after then-candidate Donald Trump alleged that the Iowa Caucus had been "stolen" from him, but prior to his claims the overall presidential election was dishonest.
Who Is Least Confident?
Gallup's World Poll does not ask about political affiliation, but Americans' lack of confidence is most pronounced among those who disapprove of the country's leadership, with 74% of this group reporting no confidence in the honesty of elections. Trust is also low among Americans aged 30 to 49, with 68% lacking confidence. Rounding out the three groups with the lowest levels of confidence in the honesty of elections are U.S. women, among whom 65% say they lack confidence.
|U.S. Leadership Approval|
|Urban or Rural|
|Gallup World Poll, Apr 23-May 23 2019|
While rural Americans are often described by political analysts as forgotten or disaffected, there is little difference in confidence in the honesty of elections between this group and those that live in urban areas.
Whether related to issues of foreign interference, security vulnerability, interference in the nomination process by the political elites, or just general frustration with an election outcome, the majority of Americans do not have confidence in their elections. The recent Iowa Caucuses are an example of the types of events that can shake Americans' faith in the election process and the legitimacy of the winners of elections. Institutions and fair processes are important in holding society together, and particularly so in this era of intense partisanship in the U.S.
For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.
Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.