2020 election polls: Trump’s attacks on mass mail-in ballots are working, Independent poll reveals

Exclusive: Independent poll reveals confidence in the 2020 election is low after sustained attacks from the President 

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Wednesday 21 October 2020 20:25
Trump finally says he wants a peaceful transfer of power but repeats election conspiracy theories

Two-thirds of American voters are concerned the presidential election will not be fair, suggesting Donald Trump’s sustained attacks on mass mail-in ballots are working.

“That’s the only thing I’m worried about,” the president said at a Monday afternoon rally in Prescott, Arizona, urging his supporters to become poll watchers: “You have to watch them, too.” 

Sixty-six per cent of voters described themselves as “very or quite” concerned that the election will not be free or fair, with 68 per cent saying they doubt the result will be clear come 4 November, the day after Election Day, according to a JL Partners-Independent survey.

What’s more, 65 per cent of respondents said they were worried that mail-in ballots will not be counted or will be counted incorrectly.

In a sign Mr Trump’s attacks on mass mail voting are working, 81 per cent of his supporters have concerns compared to 59 per cent of Mr Biden’s backers.

When it comes to voter fraud, 78 per cent of the president’s loyalists have such worries – compared to 51 per cent of Biden supporters.

The results come after the president has spent much of the summer and fall suggesting mailing out ballots will alter the race. He has said he expects challenges to results that would require the US Supreme Court to weigh in on the outcome.

“As far as the ballots is concerned, it's a disaster. A solicited ballot. Okay, so listen, it is okay. You're soliciting, you're asking, they send it back, you send it back. I did that,” the president said late last month about absentee ballots during his debate with former Vice President Joe Biden.

“If you have an unsolicited, they're sending millions of ballots all over the country. There’s fraud,” he said of around 10 states and the District of Columbia that mailed out ballots to all registered voters amid concerns about voting in person and the still-spreading coronavirus.

“They’re being sent all over the place. They sent two, in a Democratic area they sent out 1,000 ballots,” Mr Trump contended without providing supporting evidence during or after the debate. “Everybody got two ballots. This is going to be a fraud like you've never seen.”

Mr Biden and other top Democrats have criticized Mr Trump’s attacks, saying it shows he believes he will lose and is desperate to hold onto to power.  

“I will accept it, and he will, too. You know why?”, Mr Biden said during the same debate, referring to the election’s outcome. “Because once the winner is declared once all the ballots are counted, that’ll be the end of it. And that’s fine.”

James Johnson, a former 10 Downing Street pollster and JL Partners founders, said “There is one major cloud hanging over this election: unprecedented levels of concern about the election process itself.”

“Large majorities across party lines are concerned about whether the election will be free or fair, whether mail-in ballots will be accurately counted, and about the extent of voter fraud,” he added. "If the result looks close or in dispute on the night, a perfect storm is brewing.”

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