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Pulse On The Polls: More than 4 in 5 Americans Planning to Vote Next Week

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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. Complete results of this study can be found here.

Stepping out: the voter intent of this year's ballot casters
The study found that 86 percent of all Americans say they will definitely or probably vote in this year's election ("likely voters"), including 94 percent of those who are already registered to vote and 24 percent 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 percent of men and 84 percent 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 percent vs. 71 percent, 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 percent of Americans who described their political leanings as "liberal" said they will probably or definitely vote, while 87 percent of "conservative" leaning adults and 83 percent of "moderate" adults said they plan to vote.

Among the different race/ethnic groups, 77 percent of white adults said they definitely plan on voting in next month's election—compared with 73 percent of black adults, 69 percent of Hispanic adults, and 63 percent of Asian adults.

Additionally, nearly half (46 percent) 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 percent) 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 percent of likely voters agreed that they would feel comfortable voting online, and 60 percent said they would be more likely to vote if they could do so from home.

When asked about their "preferred" method of voting, 42 percent of likely voters noted they lean toward in-person electronic voting, 24 percent said they prefer in-person paper ballots, 16 percent said they would like remote online voting from either work or home, and 17 percent 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 percent of likely voters aged 18-34 agreeing that they would be comfortable voting online. However, this percentage ebbs away as age increases—only 40 percent 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.