Trump Supporters Skeptical of Vote Counting, Except for Where They Live

Economist/YouGov poll finds disparity in location of concerns

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Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:51pm

It’s a commonly referenced idiosyncrasy of American politics: Voters can’t stand Congress, even though they’re A-OK with their own representative.

This election cycle, voters taking a cue from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump seem to be applying the same principle to their attitudes on electoral integrity.

A new Economist/YouGov poll out this week found that while a majority of Americans are confident that votes will be counted fairly in their community, fewer believe the same for vote counting across the country.

The difference is most noticeable among Trump’s supporters. Of them, 42 percent said they have “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence in the accuracy of votes counted in their community. Only 16 percent said the same for votes across the country.

It’s a well documented fact that voters are more likely to trust local polling places than those farther away, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford professor who studies public opinion of voter fraud in the United States. What’s notable this election are the Republican nominee’s consistent accusations of “rigged” elections, and his emphasis on how people in “other” communities will try to cheat him out of the presidency.

“It’s no surprise that many Republicans think the election is going to be rigged when the person they’re going to vote for says it’s going to be rigged,” Persily said. “Depending on which elites the public trust, they will then incorporate those signals into their attitudes about the process of democracy or the government.”

Trump has insisted to supporters on multiple occasions that they should be concerned about how these other areas will conspire against him. He’s encouraged followers to watch polling locations away from their own communities, which has only added to concerns of voter intimidation and suppression of minority groups.

In the poll, supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton appear less concerned about how votes will be counted, both at home and nationally. Sixty-seven percent said they have “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence in votes counted across the country, while 74 percent said the same for their local elections.

The Economist/YouGov poll reached 1,388 registered voters online between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. The poll has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points for Clinton supporters and 5.2 points for Trump supporters.

CQ Roll Call is owned by The Economist Group.