A low number of likely voters are confident that people who vote by mail will actually have their ballot counted, a new poll has found.
The poll — conducted by The Commonwealth Fund, a health policy think tank, and SSRS — found that 38 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of Republicans are “very confident that votes cast by mail would be counted.”
The state with the lowest confidence level may also turn out to be among the most important. In North Carolina, pollsters found, only 23 percent of voters were very confident that ballots which were sent by mail would be counted.
The results come amid an unprecedented effort by both President Trump and the Republican Party to delegitimize mail-in voting. It also comes after a federal judge held last week that the Postal Service had been hijacked as “a tool in partisan politics.”
The Commonwealth Fund’s polling data suggests that GOP efforts to sow doubt may have been successful thus far.
SSRS surveyed a random sample of 7,442 adults, with interviews taking place over the phone between August 25 to September 20. Data analysis focused on the 5,213 respondents who said that they would definitely vote in this year’s election.
The results are likely to intensify concerns that President Trump’s attempts to attack the validity of vote-by-mail could ultimately deter voters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of Americans are expected to cast their votes via absentee ballots. Early and absentee voting has already begun in several states.
Pollsters focused heavily on likely voters’ view of health care, finding that 40 percent of those likely to vote listed COVID-19 as the most important health care issue for their vote for President this fall.
But the poll also found that those who expressed the most fear over voting in-person were also the most likely to be members of constituencies that typically vote Democratic.
The poll found that while 74 percent of Republicans said that they would feel “very safe” in going to a polling precinct and voting in person, only 28 percent of Democrats said the same.
Election results will likely be delayed in many key states by long counting times amid a backlog of absentee ballots, an opportunity that President Trump and has allies have indicated they will use to cast doubt on the result.
Election watchers predict that predominantly left-leaning voters casting their ballots for Biden will lead to a so-called “blue shift,” with vote totals trending away from President Trump after election night as mail-in ballots are counted.