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Confidence in Election Integrity Hides Deep Partisan Divide

Confidence in Election Integrity Hides Deep Partisan Divide

Story Highlights

  • 63% of Americans are very or somewhat confident in election accuracy
  • Confidence similar to low points in 2008 and 2020
  • Gap in confidence between Democrats, Republicans has never been wider

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Most Americans are very (34%) or somewhat confident (29%) that votes in the upcoming midterm elections will be accurately cast and counted. The combined 63% is little improved from the record low of 59% recorded in both 2008 and 2020.


More than half of Americans have consistently expressed confidence in the accuracy of elections throughout Gallup's trend since 2004, but confidence was highest leading up to the 2004 presidential and 2006 midterm elections. In those years, more than seven in 10 Americans expressed confidence in the casting and counting of ballots. Gallup did not ask the question in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 election years.

The latest measure, from an Oct. 3-20 Gallup poll, is statistically similar to the previous figure collected in 2020, but it masks a wider partisan divide than Gallup has ever recorded on this question.

Although similar percentages of Americans are generally confident in election integrity now as were in 2020, there has been a near doubling in the percentage who are very confident, from 19% in 2020 to 34% this year. The 34% "very confident" percentage nearly matches the high of 35% in 2016, while 2020's percentage essentially ties with 2004's 18% as the lowest level of high confidence.

The increase in high confidence has been offset by a decline in the percentage who are somewhat confident, from 40% in 2020 to 29% today. This year, 21% say they are not too confident and 15% are not confident at all, similar to the 2020 levels.

Democrats More Than Twice as Confident as Republicans in Election Accuracy

In most election years since 2004, Gallup has found that Americans who self-identify with the political party of the incumbent president have expressed greater confidence in election accuracy -- with two exceptions, 2008 and 2020.

In October 2008, during the global economic crisis, Republicans' and Democrats' confidence in the accuracy of that year's presidential election each fell to 57% -- the only election in which both parties shared the same level of confidence in the election's accuracy.

In 2020, amid then-President Donald Trump's public questioning of the validity of mail voting in the upcoming election, Republicans' confidence in voting integrity dropped to a new low of 44%, while Democrats' confidence remained high, slightly higher (76%) than in the previous election year.

The current 45 percentage points that separate Republicans' (40%) and Democrats' (85%) confidence represents the largest gap Gallup has recorded on this measure since 2004. The prior high was 32 points in 2020.


Bottom Line

Confidence in the accuracy of elections is a key element of a successful democracy, and most Americans have shared a sense of trust in the process over Gallup's nearly two decades of measurement.

But beneath the national average, a partisan gulf has widened. Republicans are more skeptical than confident about the process leading up to this year's midterm elections, as they were in the last presidential election -- with that skepticism being a motivating factor for those who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January 2021. Confidence in elections has not improved among this party group since, although Republican gains in the upcoming midterms could help restore it.

Meanwhile, Democrats are matching historical levels of confidence among their party group ahead of an election they are likely to see losses in.

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