NEW YORK, N.Y. – November 4, 2016 – With the U.S. presidential election just around the corner, the political rhetoric is at fever pitch levels on both sides of the aisle.
But what do consumers think about their involvement in the U.S. political system? To find out, Harris Poll partnered with Nielsen to survey consumers regarding the voting process itself—from their likelihood of voting to the trust they have in both the current machines and potential emerging technology as well—and found that region, political philosophy, and race/ethnicity all come into play.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,463 U.S. adults aged 18+, along with representative oversamples of 485 Hispanic Americans (interviewed in English and Spanish) and 180 Asian Americans (interviewed in English), and including 2,164 “likely voters” (U.S. adults who say they will probably or definitely vote, regardless of their voter registration status at the time of the survey), surveyed online between July 14 and 27, 2016.
Stepping out: the voter intent of this year’s ballot casters
The study found that 86% of all Americans say they will definitely or probably vote in this year’s election (“likely voters”), including 94% of those who are already registered to vote and 24% of those who were not registered to vote at the time of the survey.
Among likely voters (those who say they will probably or definitely vote, regardless of their voter registration status at the time of the survey), 87% of men and 84% of women said they will definitely or probably vote in this year’s election, though men are more likely than women to say they will definitely vote (79% vs. 71%, respectively). Perhaps not surprisingly, adults ages 65 and older are more likely to say they will vote than younger adults.
But how do voters’ views and political leanings sway their intent to hit the polls?
The study found that 90% of Americans who described their political leanings as “liberal” said they will probably or definitely vote, while 87% of “conservative” leaning adults and 83% of “moderate” adults said they plan to vote.
Among the different race/ethnic groups, 77% of white adults said they definitely plan on voting in next month’s election—compared to 73% of black adults, 69% of Hispanic adults, and 63% of Asian adults.
Additionally, nearly half (46%) of all Americans said they would be more likely to vote if it was easier to get to their voting center and about the same proportion (45%) said they wish they could vote closer to home.
Cast away: the ways consumers prefer to vote
The survey didn’t just look at whether Americans were planning to punch their respective tickets. It also looked at how they would prefer to have their voice heard, looking at attitudes toward traditional ways to vote as well as how technological advances in regard to voting might play in the future.
In fact, 57% of likely voters agreed that they would feel comfortable voting online, and 60% said they would be more likely to vote if they could do so from home.
When asked about their “preferred” method of voting, 42% of likely voters noted they lean toward in-person electronic voting, 24% said they prefer in-person paper ballots, 16% said they would like remote online voting from either work or home, and 17% said they would rather mail-in a paper ballot.
The survey looked deeper at the potential online voting might have with voters, taking a close look at political leanings, age, race, and the distance from the voting centers.
For instance, comfort with voting online follows a definite demographic trend, with 66% of likely voters aged 18-34 agreeing that they would be comfortable voting online. However, this percentage ebbs away as age increases—only 40% of likely voters 65 and older said they feel comfortable voting online.
With rapid technological advancements, knowing how voters feel about not only who they vote for, but how they feel comfortable voting, is crucial toward making every voter—and vote—count.
This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between July 14 and 27, 2016 among 2,463 adults aged 18+, along with representative oversamples of 485 Hispanic Americans (interviewed in English and Spanish) and 180 Asian Americans (interviewed in English). The total sample included 2,164 “likely voters” (U.S. adults who say they will probably or definitely vote, regardless of their voter registration status at the time of the survey). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.
Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
The Harris Poll® #61, November 4, 2016
By Kathy Steinberg, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll