Political News

Only half of registered voters expect to know result within 'day or two' of Election Day

Posted October 14, 2020 6:05 p.m. EDT

— Only half of registered voters in the United States say they expect to know the results of the upcoming presidential election within a "day or two" of Election Day, a new study by the Pew Research Center says.

Supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are deeply divided on several aspects of the election and the voting process, according to the study. Trump and Biden supporters are divided on whether it will be clear who won the election even after all of the votes are counted, and they have very different views of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the safety of voting in the November election.

About three-quarters of registered voters who support Biden (76%) say they are confident that the country will know who won the election after all of the votes are counted, while 55% of Trump supporters say the same. Thirty percent of Biden supporters say they are very confident there will be a clear winner after all of the votes are counted, compared with just 13% of Trump supporters.

Most registered voters (79%) say they are very or somewhat confident that in-person voting places will be run safely, without spreading the virus. Ninety-one percent of Trump supporters and 70% of Biden supporters are at least somewhat confident that voting in person will be safe. But while half of Trump supporters (53%) are very confident that coronavirus won't be spread by in-person voting, only 17% of Biden supporters say the same.

Trump supporters are more than twice as likely as Biden supporters to say they plan to vote in person on Election Day (50% of Trump supporters, compared with 20% of Biden supporters). Far more Biden supporters say they plan to vote or have already voted with absentee or mail-in ballots (51% of Biden supporters, compared with 25% of Trump supporters.)

Trump and Biden supporters are at least somewhat confident that in-person votes will be counted correctly but have different views about absentee or mail-in ballots. Seventy-seven percent of Biden supporters are very or somewhat confident the mail-in ballots will be counted as intended, compared with 36% of Trump supporters. Trump has repeatedly made false claims about fraudulent mail-in ballots, despite elections experts saying cases of mail-in voting fraud, and electoral fraud in general, are exceedingly rare in the US.

Only a third of Trump supporters are very or somewhat confident that mail-in ballots will be delivered with enough time to be counted, while 67% of Biden supporters say they are confident that the ballots will be delivered in time.

The study also found that voters are less confident than they were in 2018 that elections in the US will be run well. Most of that change came from voters who supported Republican candidates then and Trump now. Seventy-two percent of Biden supporters say the elections around the nation will be run and administered well, while only half of Trump supporters say the same.

For this study, Pew surveyed 11,929 adults in the US, including 10,543 registered voters, between September 30 and October 5. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

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