Published April 18, 2012
Most Americans think voter identification laws are needed to stop voter fraud, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.
Overall, 70 percent of Americans say voter ID laws are needed to stop illegal voting. That’s far more than the 26 percent who see the laws as a hindrance to legal voting.
An overwhelming 87-percent majority of Republicans say voter ID laws are necessary to ensure only eligible voters participate in elections. Some 74 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.
Democrats (44 percent) are four times as likely as Republicans (10 percent) to consider these laws an unnecessary deterrent to law-abiding citizens casting their ballot.
The poll was conducted in connection with a new documentary to air on Fox News Channel this weekend. Hosted by Eric Shawn, it's called "Fox News Reporting: Stealing Your Vote."
In their increasingly heated battle, many supporters and opponents of voter ID laws are accusing the other of acting in bad faith.
The poll finds 34 percent of voters believe supporters of voter ID laws are trying to “steal” elections by keeping eligible voters away from the polls. Yet more people -- 50 percent -- think opponents of the laws are acting in bad faith by trying to increase participation from ineligible voters. Some 17 percent think both supporters and opponents of voter ID laws are playing dirty.
The federal “Help America Vote Act” says all states must require identification from first-time voters who registered by mail and did not provide verification of their identification with their mail-in voter registration. Thirty-two states have passed voter identification laws that are broader than the federal mandates. Of these, nine states have passed the strictest legislation, which includes a requirement for voters to show a photo ID in order to vote.
A federal judge on Tuesday upheld the Arizona voter identification law that requires state voters to provide documents proving their identity before voting.
Earlier Fox polls found large majorities -- 80 percent or more -- favor requiring people to show a government-issued form of photo identification to prove U.S. citizenship before being allowed to vote.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 910 randomly-chosen registered voters nationwide and is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 9 to April 11. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.