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35% Say U.S. Elections Unfair

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

With the Iowa caucuses just days away, voters are more confident about U.S. elections than they were four years ago. But most still don’t believe the federal government has the consent of those it governs.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters now feel American elections are fair. Thirty-five percent (35%) say they are not fair to voters. This compares to 41% and 43% respectively early in 2016 before the last presidential election. Fifteen percent (15%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Belief that U.S. elections are fair reached a high of 57% just before Election Day 2012.

Democrats are far more likely than other voters to consider U.S. elections unfair.

The Declaration of Independence, one of America’s foundational documents, says that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed. Only 26% of all voters, however, think the federal government today has that consent. Still, that’s up two points from 2018 and among the highest findings in 10 years of regular surveying. Fifty-four percent (54%) say the government does not have the consent of the governed, down from a high of 69% in 2011. Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted January 27-28, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Most voters think President Trump’s impeachment won’t hurt him at the polls in November and don’t share House Democrats’ concern that the upcoming election may be unfair if Trump is one of the candidates.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans and unaffiliated voters by a 46% to 36% margin consider American elections fair, but just 32% of Democrats agree. GOP voters (35%) also remain more confident than Democrats (20%) and unaffiliateds (23%) that the federal government has the consent of the governed.

Men see U.S. elections as fair much more than women do. Whites have more confidence in the fairness of elections than blacks and other minority voters.

Forty-two percent (42%) of voters who view U.S. elections as fair think the federal government has the consent of the governed. Only nine percent (9%) of those who consider elections unfair share that opinion.

Sixty percent (60%) of Democrats – and 40% of all voters – do not believe Trump won fairly when he defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Voters remain highly suspicious of how much their fellow voters know when they go to the polls.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

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