Issues & Insights

I&I/TIPP Poll: Are State Voting Reforms Racist? Americans Again Are Deeply Divided

Black and white people voting, 1962. Photo: Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report, Library of Congress collection. Public Domain.

Among some groups, one of the main criticisms of recent state election reform efforts has been that they are racially motivated, intended to keep minorities from voting. New polling data from I&I/TIPP show Americans once again sharply split on the issue.

The I&I/TIPP Poll asked the following question: “To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement: State election reforms like voter ID laws are racist.”

The results are decidedly mixed. While a plurality of 45% agree with that statement, 39% do not. And just 22% say they “strongly agree” with that statement, while 26% say they strongly disagree.

The I&I/TIPP data come from the monthly I&I/TIPP poll conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. The most recent poll was conducted online from July 28 to July 30. The survey includes responses from 1,322 adults, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 points. It is part of a new collaboration between Issues & Insights and TIPP to gauge public opinion on key current issues of interest to all Americans.

In this poll, interesting splits emerge within different demographic groups. Perhaps not surprisingly, 58% of blacks and Hispanics say they agree such state-based reform efforts, including voter ID, are racist, while just 26% disagree.

But among white Americans, just 39% agree, while 46% disagree. Minority respondents seem to have much stronger feelings about the issue.

A few findings from the data seem unexpected or, perhaps, even counterintuitive.

One is that men are far more likely to see racist intent in voting reform efforts than are women. And it isn’t close. The breakdown: A majority of all men — 51% — agreed. But just 39% of women did, 12 percentage points lower.

The differences grow even bigger when considering unmarried vs. married women. Single women agree at 43%, but disagree by a smaller 35%; for married women, it’s 34% agree to 46%, reversing the single-female results.

Another surprising finding: The share that agree is largely a high-income phenomenon. For instance, among those earning less than $30,000 a year, the split is even: 41% agree, and 41% disagree. Go up to $30,000-$50,000 in income, and the split’s very similar: 41% agree, 43% disagree. At $50,000-$75,000 in income, the share that agrees edges up to 43%, but so does the share that disagrees, rising to 45%.

But go over $75,000 in annual income, and the split is quite pronounced: 59% agree vs. 33% disagree.

Similarly, an age split is evident. Only one age group shows a majority agreeing that state election reform efforts, including requiring IDs to vote, are racist: Those aged 25 to 44, among whom 59% agree, while only 26% disagree. No other age group has more than 43% who agree.

One further comparison is worthy of note. Among the “agrees,” Democrats are the overwhelming political affiliation. Indeed, Democrats agree by 66% and disagree by only 21% to the reforms being racist. Not surprisingly, Republican flip those numbers, with only 22% agreeing and 67% disagreeing.

But what about independents, the group that routinely emerges as the swing vote in nearly all recent elections? Among indie voters, 36% agree, but 41% disagree.

So what is the significance of all this? While Americans may be sharply split on how they regard recent state election reform efforts, recent polls also show that they are deeply worried about the integrity of our election system.

A new Rasumussen poll, for instance, found an overwhelming 90% calling it “important” to end cheating, but don’t think it affected the outcome of the 2020 election. And voter ID is likely to be one reform that finds a lot of support: 74% in the Rasmussen tally called requiring an ID to vote a “reasonable measure.”

Meanwhile, separate polling by the Center for Excellence in Polling, part of the Foundation for Government Accountability, found 58% want the federal government to stay out of state voter registration efforts.

“Research from the Center for Excellence in Polling clearly shows that removing state control from the regulation of election processes such as voter registration is unpopular among a bipartisan coalition of voters,” said Nick Stehle, FGA spokesman, speaking to the Washington Examiner.

In short, the state-level status quo of the past two election cycles won’t be immune to change.

I&I/TIPP will create more data from polls in coming weeks on topics of vital interest to all Americans. TIPP, as noted before, has the distinction of being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights, with four decades of journalism experience. He earlier served as the editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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Terry Jones

Terry Jones was part of Investor's Business Daily from its inception in 1983, working in a variety of posts, including reporter, economics correspondent, National Issues editor and economics editor. Most recently, from 1996 to 2019, he served as associate editor of the newspaper and deputy editor and editor of IBD's Issues & Insights. His many media appearances include spots on the Larry Kudlow, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck shows. He also served as Free Markets columnist for Townhall Magazine, and as a weekly guest on PJTV’s The Front Page. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, and is an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute

1 comment

  • I think the question in this survey may be confusing to some. One could say that California “reformed” its election laws to allow voting without ID’s. And reforms is a catch all term. Are they reforming, changing laws to allow ID’s or reforming voter laws to require ID’s. IMO, this is why Issues/Insights poll varies dramatically from Rasmussen poll.

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