Poll: Most Voters Confident Vote Will Be Counted

That's less of an endorsement of the popular vote than existed just before the 2000 election, when 63 percent supported it in that year's ABC News pre-election tracking poll, and 32 percent preferred the electoral college.

There is now a deep partisan division on this question that did not exist before the 2000 election. Today 69 percent of Democrats say the winner of the popular vote should be the next president; only 35 percent of Republicans agree. Before the 2000 election, by contrast, most Republicans and Democrats alike preferred the popular vote.

Preference or Popular Vote
Now Nov. 2000
All54% 63
Rep35 66
Ind58 67
Dem69 57

The change in assessments is very likely outcome-based. A good reason for Democrats to prefer the popular vote is that their guy won it in 2000; a good reason for Republicans to prefer the electoral college is because that's where they won. If those tables by chance were to turn this time around, partisan preferences well might follow.

Critics of a direct popular vote say it would induce candidates to focus only on the most populous states, and fly over the less populous ones. This survey finds that a popular vote system is preferred by 57-38 percent in the 10 most populous states, and also preferred, but by a narrower 51-44 percent, in the 25 least populous states.

Ballot Watch

As noted, there's also a sharp partisan division on the question of whether votes will be counted properly, again likely related to the 2000 experience. Seventy-five percent of Republicans are very confident their own vote will be counted accurately; this drops to 50 percent of Democrats.

Similarly, 87 percent of Republicans are very or somewhat confident in the overall vote count nationally; among Democrats this falls to 57 percent.


This poll was conducted October 24-27 among a random national sample of 2,422 adults, including 2,145 registered voters and 1,747 likely voters. The results have a 2.5-point error margin for the likely voter sample. ABC News and The Washington Post are sharing data collection for this tracking poll, then independently applying their own models to arrive at likely voter estimates. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

See previous analyses in our Poll Vault.

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