August 19, 2016

Trump supporters far less confident than Clinton backers that votes will be counted accurately

In a campaign marked by skepticism toward the political process, only about half of all registered voters (49%) are “very confident” that their vote will be accurately counted in the upcoming election. This view is particularly striking among supporters of Donald Trump and stands in contrast to the 2004 and 2008 elections, when substantial majorities of voters who backed George W. Bush and John McCain expressed confidence in the count of their votes.

Pew Research Center’s new national political survey finds that just 38% of registered voters who support Trump are very confident their vote will be accurately counted. Another 31% say they are somewhat confident, while 30% have little or no confidence their vote will be counted accurately.

Among Clinton supporters, 67% have a high degree of confidence that their vote will be counted accurately and 25% are somewhat confident. Just 7% have little or no confidence.

The gap between the two camps is about as large among those who express confidence in an accurate vote count nationally. Nearly half of Clinton supporters (49%) and just 11% of Trump supporters are highly confident that votes across the country will be counted accurately.

About half of Trump supporters (48%) are very or somewhat confident in an accurate vote count nationally, while 51% say they are not too or not at all confident. By contrast, a 79% majority of Clinton supporters are confident in the accuracy of the nationwide count, compared with just 20% who are not.

Overall, voters are less confident that their vote will be accurately counted in the upcoming election than they were in 2008 and 2004. In both 2008 (57%) and 2004 (62%), a majority of voters were “very” confident, compared with just under half who feel this way today (49%).

There are contrasting trends in confidence among supporters of the major political party’s candidates in these election cycles. For supporters of the Republican candidate, confidence has declined over time. Trump backers’ confidence in vote counting is low: Just 38% are very confident their vote will be counted accurately. In 2004, among George W. Bush’s supporters, nearly twice this share said the same (75%). Similarly, 65% of John McCain’s supporters felt very confident in 2008.

By contrast, among Democratic candidate supporters, the share saying they are very confident their own vote will be counted accurately is significantly higher than in 2008 or 2004. Two-thirds of Clinton supporters are very confident their vote will be accurately counted today, compared with about half of Barack Obama’s supporters in 2008 (52%) and John Kerry’s supporters in 2004 (48%).


Topics: Political Party Affiliation, Voter Participation, Trust in Government, Elections and Campaigns, 2016 Election

  1. Photo of Hannah Fingerhut

    is a research analyst focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous12 months ago

    I confident my vote will not be counted at the same value as vote in New York. I know my vote is discounted by the inflated value of the votes in the Electoral College in states that are stuffed with the presence of illegal aliens in the population that give less registered voters more Electoral votes than and equal number of register voters in my state of Oklahoma. I suppose all those in jail and the ex cons make up for some of those illegals.

    I am unsure the honesty of the election process because I can no longer get the precinct by precinct vote counts for the Presidential elections for 2008 and 2012. There are statistical methods that give an estimate of tampering by looking at the frequency of the second digit in the vote count for values over a certain size. The last set I was able to get showed suspect data in several places.

    I would like to be able to compare several sequential elections. Then consult with a better statistician than I am if I find anything suspicious. I found some odd looking things in the 2000 elections I could find data for. Now I have much better tools and know how to use them much better as well. It would be nice is the data hadn’t fallen off the earth.

    I wrote embedded computer programs for a living for 10 years and I don’t trust computer voting that doesn’t read paper ballots marked in pen or pencil that serve as originals that can be counted by hand. I don’t believe Internet or early voting can be made safe. I have worked in county offices and it is too easy to cheat in some of them. If its on a computer there is someone smart enough to steal it. They may only need to ask for it and someone will give them the login and password.