Additional topline findings follow, with complete results at PRRI.org. All results should be attributed to PRRI/The Atlantic. Please be in touch with questions or to interview PRRI or The Atlantic about this poll.
Divides on the country’s direction, major civic problems: Demonstrating the stark divide between the two major parties, 91 percent of Democrats think America is on the “wrong track,” compared to 70 percent of Republicans who say the country is going in the “right direction.”
As The Atlantic’s Emma Green reports, “Respondents identified a few areas as big concerns: Two-thirds said wealthy individuals and corporations have too much influence in the U.S. election system, and another two-thirds said that too few people vote. Strong majorities agreed that the media is biased against certain political candidates, and that uninformed voters are a major problem within the American electoral system.
“But respondents’ opinions were sharply split along partisan lines. Only 42 percent of self-identified Republicans see the outsized influence of money in politics as a big issue, compared to 82 percent of Democrats who say the same. Both Republicans and Democrats are concerned about low voter turnout, but 78 percent of Democrats said this is a major problem, versus 58 percent of Republicans. And while 81 percent of Republicans see media bias toward certain political candidates as a major problem, only 41 percent of Democrats say the same thing.”
Deep structural barriers to the ballot for black and Latino voters: The survey results, as The Atlantic's Vann Newkirk reports, “indicate that voter suppression is commonplace, and that voting is routinely harder for people of color than for their white counterparts.”
Nine percent of black respondents and nine percent of Hispanic respondents indicated that, in the last election, they (or someone in their household) were told that they lacked the proper identification to vote. Just three percent of whites said the same. Ten percent of black respondents and 11 percent of Hispanic respondents report that they were incorrectly told that they weren’t listed on voter rolls, as opposed to 5 percent of white respondents.
The poll also shows that fewer than half (38 percent) of respondents view the issue of eligible voters being denied the right to vote as a major problem in America’s elections. However, there are marked racial divides on this issue, with 62 percent of black Americans and 60 percent of Hispanic Americans citing this as a major problem, compared to only 27 percent of whites.
Americans don’t know what disqualifies voters: More than one in four (26 percent) Americans say that they do not know whether being an American citizen—perhaps the most basic question of voter eligibility—is a requirement to be eligible to vote in their state. The following percentages were uncertain whether these factors disqualify voting:
- Not having a permanent address (60 percent)
Being late to pay your taxes (52 percent)
Having outstanding parking tickets or unpaid utility bills (47 percent)
Being convicted of a felony (43 percent)
Not being able to speak English fluently (36 percent)