State Policy Network
Polling Spotlight: Americans losing confidence in fairness of national elections

Recent State Policy Network polling conducted by Heart + Mind Strategies suggests that Americans are feeling less confident about the fairness of our national elections since November. With less than half (45%) of Americans saying they have complete or a great deal of confidence in the fairness of elections (22% say they have some confidence and 33% say they have a little or no confidence), there is an urgent need to rebuild trust in our electoral processes and procedures. 

Perhaps it’s not surprising, but after four years of “resisting” the outcomes of the 2016 elections, Democrats now seem to feel more confident in the outcomes of the electoral process. Meanwhile Republicans’ confidence in the institution has waned.

Polling in September indicated that 41% of Republicans were a little or not at all confident in the integrity of the then upcoming elections—compared to 45% of Democrats.

As of December 16-17, 56% (+15) of Republicans say they have a little or no confidence compared to just 13% (-32) of Democrats. Confidence in the election tracked similarly with respondents who indicated that they voted for their party’s presidential candidate.  

How much confidence do you have in the fairness of our national elections?

Complete Confidence (Total = 25%)

Republicans14%
Democrats38%
Independents17%
Voted for Trump11%
Voted for Biden40%


A Great Deal of Confidence (Total = 20%)

Republicans10%
Democrats30%
Independents18%
Voted for Trump11%
Voted for Biden29%


Some Confidence (Total = 22%)

Republicans19%
Democrats18%
Independents30%
Voted for Trump18%
Voted for Biden19%


Just a Little Confidence (Total = 14%)

Republicans20%
Democrats9%
Independents14%
Voted for Trump21%
Voted for Biden8%


No Confidence (Total = 19%)

Republicans36%
Democrats4%
Independents20%
Voted for Trump39%
Voted for Biden4%

Only half of Americans agree with the statement, “America has free and fair elections.”

Again, Democrats seem to be bolstered by the outcome of the 2020 elections with 72% (74% of Biden voters) agreeing with the statement. Meanwhile a majority of Republicans 48% disagree (52% of Trump voters) with a third strongly disagreeing.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: America has free and fair elections.

Strongly Agree (Total = 31%)

Republicans18%
Democrats48%
Independents21%
Voted for Trump14%
Voted for Biden50%


Somewhat Agree (Total = 20%)

Republicans16%
Democrats24%
Independents21%
Voted for Trump17%
Voted for Biden24%


Neither Agree nor Disagree (Total = 21%)

Republicans19%
Democrats14%
Independents26%
Voted for Trump17%
Voted for Biden13%


Somewhat Disagree (Total = 13%)

Republicans18%
Democrats9%
Independents12%
Voted for Trump19%
Voted for Biden8%


Strongly Disagree (Total = 16%)

Republicans30%
Democrats6%
Independents21%
Voted for Trump33%
Voted for Biden5%

About this polling

State Policy Network is working with Heart + Mind Strategies to track the American public’s opinions through this time of upheaval and change. This data was collected by Heart+Mind Strategies through an online survey conducted December 16-17, 2020 (n=1,000).

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Organization: State Policy Network