The Public Says Good-Bye to the Trump Vote-Fraud Commission, Part II: Knowledge of the Commission

This is the second part of a four-part series concerning public attitudes toward the Trump Vote-Fraud Commission.  The first part includes an overview of the series, some information about the survey methodology itself, and a substantive section on attitudes about fraud.  Today, I take on the issue of knowledge about the commission itself.

President Trump’s fraud commission is one of those inside-baseball issues that elicits three types of reactions: (1) strong, informed reaction among the most politically knowledgeable, (2) strong, uninformed reaction among a larger group of engaged political spectators, and (3) a variety of “non-opinions” among the rest.  I used two questions to see how closely the public followed the commission’s work, to see if we could discern differences of opinion among these three groups.

First, I simply asked respondents to report which of a series of statements most closely described how closely they had followed the commission’s work.  Table 1 shows those statements, and the fraction of respondents who chose each.


Table 1.  Question:  Which of the following statements most closely describes how much you paid attention to President Trump’s election fraud commission before you took this survey? (N=2,000; 0.06% gave no response)
I really hadn’t heard about it before.


I had heard about it, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.


I had heard about it, and remember reading a little bit about it.


I had heard about it, and followed news about it with interest.



Overall, the public appeared to be split about 50/50 between those who paid at least some attention to the commission and those who didn’t.  Democrats and Republicans followed it in roughly similar proportions, 51% for Democrats and 54% for Republicans.

Of course, the nature of questions like this is that people tend to over-report being attentive to the news of the day.  To try and get a sense about how closely people really followed the commission, I also gave the respondents a test, to see if they knew of the commission’s most prominent member, Kris Kobach.

I asked them, “Based on what you might have read or heard about the voter fraud commission, which of the following prominent election officials served as one of its leaders?”  I then gave them four choices, which were shown to respondents in random order.  One choice was Kobach.  The other three were prominent election administrators from around the country, none of whom served on the commission.

Overall, 40% of respondents correctly picked Kobach.  Of those who reported that they had followed news about the commission with interest, 60% got the answer right.  Among everyone else, only 35% got it right, a result barely better than chance.

These results aren’t intended to play “gotcha” with the American public, but rather, to show that it is easy for those of us in the election administration world to over-estimate the attention being paid to things like the fraud commission.

For the rest of this post, I will call the people who reported that they had followed news about the commission with interest “aware” (21% of respondents) and those among this group who correctly picked out Kobach as the “hyper-aware” (13%).


Tomorrow’s post:  opinions about termination

Note:  The research was supported by a grant from NEO Philanthropy, which bears no responsibility for the results or analysis.