Amid plenty of partisan rancor over election integrity and voter suppression, a new national poll indicates that most Americans support requiring voter identification to cast a ballot and easier access to early voting.
And a survey by Monmouth University released on Monday also indicates that the public is more divided on expanding voting by mail.
Eight out of 10 of those questioned in the poll support requiring voter ID, including 91% of Republicans, 87% of independents and 62% of Democrats.
Just over seven in 10 – 71% – say in-person early voting ahead of Election Day should be made easier. That includes 89% of Democrats, 68% of independents and 56% of Republicans.
But when it comes to voting by mail, the bipartisan support evaporates.
Overall, half of those questioned support making it easier to vote by mail, with 39% urging that it be made harder. And there’s a partisan divide – with 84% of Democrats but only 40% of independents and 26% of Republicans supportive.
The survey also indicates that just over two-thirds of Americans – 69% – support establishing national guidelines to allow vote-by-mail and in-person early voting in federal elections across the country, with a quarter opposed. Support includes 92% of Democrats, 63% of independents and 51% of Republicans.
"The poll contains some seemingly conflicting information on voter access. The bottom line seems to be that most Democrats and Republicans want to take the potential for election results to be questioned off the table. The problem, though, is they aren’t likely to agree on how to get there," Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray noted.
There was a surge in absentee balloting and voting by mail last year, due to serious health concerns over in-person voting at crowded polling stations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many states altered voting rules to make it easier to vote by absentee ballot and mail. But then-President Trump continuously railed against the expansion of voting by mail, claiming it would lead to widespread fraud. After his loss last November to now-President Biden, Trump repeatedly made unfounded claims that the election was rigged and stolen.
Fourteen states where Republicans control the state government have passed into law measures tightening voting access rules. They argue the moves are to bolster voter integrity but Democrats charge the laws are voter suppression tools. Congressional Democrats are trying to pass a sweeping election and campaign finance reform bill that would push back on the state laws passed in GOP controlled states, but it doesn’t appear Senate Democrats have the support to pass the measure during an expected floor vote later this week.
Half of those questioned in the poll say voter disenfranchisement is a major problem, compared to 37% who say the same thing about voter fraud.
"Disenfranchising eligible voters is nominally a bigger concern than voter fraud, but the sizable number of Americans who cling to the view that fraud determined the 2020 election poses an intractable challenge for reaching any public consensus on voting access," Murray said.
The Monmouth poll was conducted June 9-14, with 810 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.