Voters Split on Security of 2020 Election, Poll Shows

(CN) — Less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, a new poll released Tuesday shows a steep partisan divide on whether America has taken adequate steps to ensure the 2020 presidential election is safe and secure.

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College poll shows that while two-thirds of Democrats said the country isn’t prepared for election interference, around 85% of Republicans said it is. Moreover, although it hasn’t been proven that any votes in the 2016 presidential election were tampered with, nearly 40% of survey participants said they believed another country would likely interfere with the results of the 2020 election.

“Like so many issues, Americans view election security from opposite poles of the partisan divide,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told NPR on Tuesday.

The poll results indicate that only 62% of respondents said they consider U.S. elections to be fundamentally fair.

“These opinions are a troublesome sign about this keystone of our democracy,” Miringoff continued.

More than half of Americans believe that Trump has encouraged other nations to interfere in our elections, according to the poll. It’s likely this impression is linked to the president’s ongoing impeachment trial, in which one of the articles of impeachment is centered on his apparent attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seen as Trump’s likely opponent in the 2020 election.

Still, the poll that was conducted between Jan. 7 and 12 found that 94% of people who supported Trump in 2016 approve of the job he is doing as president.

On the issue of so-called fake news, an overwhelming 75% of overall respondents said they did not trust tech companies like Facebook and Twitter to prevent the spread of political disinformation. Additionally, 82% said they believed they would see misleading information on social media platforms prior to November’s election.

Such skepticism could be warranted, as Facebook announced less than two weeks ago that despite pressure from Congress, it would not take down misleading political advertisements.

According to Tuesday’s poll, nearly 60% of respondents said they have trouble distinguishing truth from false information online and over half said that it will be more difficult than it was in 2016 to tell the difference between the two.

Respondents were also asked about foreign policy. When asked about President Trump’s actions concerning the U.S.’s escalating tensions with Iran, which includes a drone strike that killed an Iranian general, survey participants were also split along party lines. While 88% of Republicans approve of his actions, 84% of Democrats disapprove. Likewise, roughly 42% of Independents approved.

The first official contest of the 2020 election cycle gets underway in 13 days with the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3. After that, New Hampshire will hold the nation’s first primary vote on Feb. 11.

The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College survey was based on interviews with 1,259 American adults via phone on both landline and mobile numbers. The estimated margin of error is plus or minus 3.5%.

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