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- More than one-third of self-identified Democratic primary respondents said in a new INSIDER poll they feared international hacking could sway the 2020 election to Republicans, reflecting continued anxiety over foreign interference in next year’s presidential race.
- Over the past week, the subject of election interference has seized public attention.
- It’s safe to say that election interference remains a top concern among Democratic primary voters, especially after the 2016 presidential election when the Russian government intervened to aid Trump.
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More than one-third of self-identified Democratic primary respondents said in a new INSIDER poll they feared international hacking could sway the 2020 election to Republicans, reflecting continued anxiety over foreign interference in next year’s presidential race.
The option that garnered the greatest share of responses was a failure of the Democratic electorate to turn out at 40%. But it was followed by “international hackers exerting influence on the electoral process” at 34%.
Over the past week, the subject of election interference has seized public attention. The poll was conducted days before the highly-anticipated congressional testimony of Robert Mueller, who warned of ongoing Russian efforts to sabotage American democracy.
“They’re doing it as we sit here,” the former special counsel said.
A day later, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report concluding that Russia had targeted state election systems in all 50 states. The effort was far more sweeping than had been publicly acknowledged by the US government – with the committee describing in the report “an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure.”
The report was made public on the same day that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked bills aimed at stopping hackers from penetrating state election systems. And President Donald Trump has long downplayed the threat and even disregarded the findings of US intelligence agencies, with his own intelligence chief Dan Coats resigning after the White House reportedly swept his concerns about Russia under the rug.
It’s a chain of events that crystallizes ongoing fear about the integrity of the American electoral process against Russian intervention.
Over 1,100 respondents were asked by INSIDER about their thoughts on why their party’s candidate could lose the election.
Of those, 492 self-identified as Democrats and were asked: “If the Democratic nominee were to lose in the general election against President Donald Trump, why do you think that would be?” Then they were given a list of 15 options with the ability to choose multiple answers. Foreign hacking was trailed only by low voter turnout as Democratic voters’ greatest 2020 fear.
Trump hasn’t done much to deter future Russian attacks, having gone as far as calling it “a hoax.”
A large majority of Americans are concerned about some form of foreign hacking, according to an AP-NORC poll released last month.
But few candidates on the 2020 campaign trail have addressed election security in extensive detail, despite repeated warnings from national security leaders that Russian interference is ongoing. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren have laid out plans to bolster US cybersecurity against foreign hackers.
With political gridlock in Washington over how to address ongoing foreign interference, it’s likely the public’s fears won’t be assuaged anytime soon.
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. Total 1184 respondents collected from July 19-20, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.01 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.