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Faith in Elections in Relatively Short Supply in U.S.
World

Faith in Elections in Relatively Short Supply in U.S.

Faith in Elections in Relatively Short Supply in U.S.

Story Highlights

  • 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%).

Confidence in the Honesty of Elections in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Countries, in 2019
In this country, do you have confidence in each of the following, or not? How about honesty of elections?
Yes No
% %
Finland 89 9
Norway 89 9
Sweden 87 11
Luxembourg 82 14
New Zealand 81 17
Switzerland 81 12
Netherlands 77 22
Ireland 76 20
Germany 74 21
Austria 72 26
Poland 71 17
Canada 66 33
Slovenia 66 33
Australia 62 35
United Kingdom 61 33
Greece 59 33
France 57 41
Japan 57 35
Spain 56 38
Slovakia 54 35
Italy 53 44
Portugal 53 44
Estonia 52 31
South Korea 49 48
Belgium 46 48
Hungary 45 42
United States of America 40 59
Lithuania 40 44
Turkey 39 52
Latvia 37 46
Chile 31 65
Mexico 30 68
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.

Line graph. Americans confidence in the honesty of U.S. elections, from 2006 to 2019.

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. Confidence in the Honesty of Elections in 2019, by Key Subgroups
In this country, do you have confidence in each of the following, or not? How about honesty of elections?
Yes No
% %
All Americans 40 59
Gender
Male 46 54
Female 35 65
Age
15-29 42 58
30-49 31 68
50+ 45 54
U.S. Leadership Approval
Approve 63 36
Disapprove 26 74
Urban or Rural
Urban 39 61
Rural 43 57
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.

Bottom Line

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.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/285608/faith-elections-relatively-short-supply.aspx
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