The Public Says Good-Bye to the Trump Vote-Fraud Commission, Part III: Opinions about Termination

This is the third of a four-part series looking at public attitudes related to President Trump’s fraud commission.  Part I introduced the series and explored whether voters had become more concerned about vote fraud since late 2016.  Part II explored who was knowledgeable about the commission.  In today’s post, I look at support for the commission’s termination.

Among the respondents who said they had heard of the commission (which as 79% of respondents), 44% agreed with the commission’s termination at least somewhat, 31% disagreed, and 25% had no opinion.  (See Table 1.)  Among the aware, 53% agreed with the termination.  This rises to 63% among the hyper-aware.

Table 1.  Question:  Do you agree or disagree with President Trump’s decision to terminate the election fraud commission?
All respondents (N = 1,568) Democrats (N = 700) Republicans (N=531)
Strongly agree 27% 41% 17%
Somewhat agree 17% 13% 25%
Somewhat disagree 17% 11% 24%
Strongly disagree 14% 18% 8%
Don’t know 25% 17% 26%
No response 0.3% 0.1% 0.0%

The relatively large number of “don’t know” responses is typical, in my experience, when asking about questions related to election administration.  Not surprisingly, Democrats were more likely to agree with the termination (54%) than Republicans (42%) and more likely to have an opinion, as well (17% “don’t know” vs. 26% for Republicans).  Given the large percentage of Republicans who expressed concern over fraud in the first question, the big surprise here is that a plurality of Republicans actually agreed with the commission’s termination — a majority if we exclude the respondents who had no opinion.

Another surprise is the relatively large number of Democrats who strongly disagreed with the commission’s termination. In fact, more Democrats disagreed with the commission’s termination than Republicans.  Part of the reason for this is that Democrats were just more likely to express an opinion, but even among those expressing opinions, Democrats were more likely to disagree.

Who are these Democrats?  First, they were much more likely to say they were very concerned about vote fraud at the outset (45%, vs 8% of all other Democrats).  They were also more likely to say they were moderate (44%) than other Democrats (38%).  They were also less attentive to politics in general and were much less likely to identify Kris Kobach as a commission member (32%) than other Democrats (68%).

Thus, the Democrats who strongly disagreed with the commission’s termination were not especially attentive to the commission’s work and had more ideologically moderate views than the rest of their co-partisans.  In contrast, the Republicans who strongly disagreed with the termination of the commission were not all that different from the rest of their party.

It is quite possible that the Democrats who strongly disagreed with the commission’s termination simply had the wrong idea about what the commission’s charge was.  Unfortunately, the limitations of this survey didn’t allow me to probe that question further.

In the end, the public seemed relatively satisfied to see the fraud commission go away.  Whether they would have had the same opinion had the commission been able to pursue its mission through 2018 is something we will never know.

Tomorrow’s post: The effectiveness of claims about vote fraud.

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