Will the 2024 election be fair, or marred by systematic cheating? Based on how Americans feel about recent elections and the coming presidential contest, most are confident the election will be fair. But there’s a huge political gap on the issue between Democrats on one side, and Republicans and independents on the other, the latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows.
First, the good news: 65% of the 1,223 registered voters queried in the national online I&I/TIPP Poll, which was taken from Aug. 30-Sept. 1, called themselves either “very confident” (42%) or “somewhat confident” (23%) that the 2024 election “will be conducted fairly and accurately.”
The bad news: 28% of Americans expressed being either “not very confident” (17%) or “not at all confident” (11%). So more than a quarter of the electorate harbors doubts about the legitimacy of the coming presidential election. The poll has a 2.9 percentage-point margin of error.
Further muddying the picture, the major parties and political affiliations appear far apart when it comes to questions of election fairness.
Among Democrats, 89% believe the 2024 elections will be fair and above board. That compares to just 42% of Republicans and 58% of independents. Conversely, a mere 7% of Democrats thought the elections would have fairness issues, compared to 51% of Republicans and 32% of independents.
By party, the responses have a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points for Democrats, +/-4.4 percentage points for Republicans, and +/-5.9 percentage points for independents.
We asked the same general question about the previous two elections, in 2020 and 2022, as well. The answers stayed mainly within the margins of error: For the 2020 election, the responses came back 61% “confident” vs. 34% “not confident,” while for 2022 it came out 65% to 26%.
Pooling all the data together for one “meta-poll” gives a similar picture. Including 2020, 2022, and the coming 2024 election, the “all-three combined” number is 56% confident, 20% not confident, after subtracting out the “not sure” responses.
And, significantly, neither Republicans (27%) nor independents (49%) show a majority saying they are “confident” that the last three election outings have been fair and accurate. Only Democrats (85%) show an overwhelming confidence in our recent elections.
So, at best, it’s an open question as to whether Americans feel that recent elections have been conducted in accordance with our own laws. And that is troubling.
While voters seem sanguine on the coming elections, Democrats themselves are increasingly worried.
Their standard-bearer, President Biden, has shown a growing number of mental and behavioral issues that can no longer be ignored or excused. They include, recently, reciting the same anecdote twice, as if he never said it the first time, bizarrely crossing himself as he spoke with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, and snubbing Brazilian leader Luis Inacio Lula da Silva by wandering off-stage and not shaking hands following a joint appearance at a U.N. event.
Add in rampant inflation and growing concern over failing schools, soaring crime rates in major cities, and a growing cultural and racial divide in America, and Democrats have reason to worry. Recent polls show why.
Just this week, a shock Washington Post/ABC News Poll gives former President Donald Trump a 9-point lead over Biden, head to head. And a recent Rasmussen Reports survey found that, if the election has a strong third party candidate, 38% of voters would pick him or her over Biden or Trump. That includes half of both black and independent voters.
In yet another survey, a CBS News/YouGov poll, nearly 70% of independents said they were unhappy with Biden’s performance as president, with his favorability rating 38 points underwater.
This means big trouble for Biden, as Democrats now freely admit.
“You got to be concerned about those poll numbers, you just do,” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester told The Hill recently. “There’s plenty of time to get them back up. Whether he can or not, I just don’t know but you got to be concerned.”
Biden and Trump remain head-to-head in most generic voting polls. Republicans worry that Democrats will be tempted to, for lack of a better word, cheat to win the 2024 election, fearing a Trump redux presidency.
There is evidence of serious voting irregularities at the local level during both the 2020 and 2022 election cycles. Much of it had to do with expanded mail-in voting and loosened rules on in-person voting during the COVID lockdowns.
Republicans and independents have expressed concerns that another COVID “emergency” lockdown could again make our election system vulnerable to manipulation.
Worse, government officials and online social media recently have shown a less than admirable willingness to intervene in election outcomes.
A clear example of this was the “letter” signed by 51 former top intelligence and foreign policy experts in government calling the information contained on Hunter Biden’s laptop “Russian misinformation” that was intended to help Trump win the last election. That letter proved to be false and, ironically, itself likely constituted major election interference.
A further concern comes from the role played by social media giants, which have used algorithms and censored conservatives to tilt the debate toward favored Democratic initiatives and candidates.
A recent data analysis by the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology (AIBRT) concluded that Google “steered” as many as 6 million votes to Biden in 2020, mainly through manipulating search terms and “curating” search engine results “to show sources that Google ideologically agrees with.”
The 2022 film “2000 Mules” by conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza argued that the 2020 election was marred by massive cheating, largely through ballot-box stuffing by so-called mules in “key swing states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”
Mainstream media and social media have gone out of their way to “debunk” D’Souza’s documentary (a Google search of “2000 mules debunked” returns over 71,000 hits), with Democrats noting that even Trump’s Attorney General, William Barr, said the 2020 election was by-and-large clean.
Still, the idea still resonates with voters.
“2000 Mules” investigates “evidence of widespread cheating in the 2020 presidential election, is hitting home with voters who have seen the film,” noted Rasmussen Reports, citing its own 2022 poll that showed 77% of those who saw the film said it “strengthened their conviction that there was systematic and widespread election fraud in the 2020 election.” Just 19% said their conviction was weakened.
Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation’s extensive election-fraud database cites 1,438 “proven instances of voter fraud” with over 1,240 convictions in recent elections, an indication of the seriousness of the problem nationwide.
Then, of course, there are what appear to many to be the coordinated legal actions against former President Trump, accompanied by recent Blue State attempts to remove Trump from 2024 election ballots.
Trump’s four pending criminal indictments, mainly for the Jan. 6 demonstrations in Washington, D.C., could lead to decades in prison — the ultimate election sanction. Will 2024 be a clean election? It remains to be seen. But right now, Americans are skeptical.
I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique, and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.
Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.