Contact: Laura Horsley
Senior Director of Marketing & Communications
Public Affairs Council
Poll: Americans Concerned About Honesty, Openness of 2024 Elections
Survey also finds nearly two-thirds of public are worried about disinformation
(Washington, D.C.) – A new Public Affairs Council/Morning Consult poll found that Americans are concerned about the integrity of the 2024 elections, with just over one-third (37%) believing the elections will be both honest and open to all eligible voters. Americans are also worried about disinformation from social media, the news media and other sources.
The annual Public Affairs Pulse survey of 2,219 adults, conducted Sept. 1-3, 2023, also explored the most trusted sources of political information, how Democrats and Republicans compare in their support of corporate involvement in social issues, and the most acceptable forms of campaign finance.
Public concerned about disinformation and integrity at the ballot box
· Just 37% of Americans believed the 2024 elections will be both honest and open to rightful voters, while 43% had serious doubts about honesty or openness or both.
· Democrats were more confident in the integrity of the election process, with 50% saying they believed the elections will be honest and open; just 35% of Republicans and 24% of independents agreed. This was a reversal from 2020 when Democrats had much greater concerns about election integrity.
· 63% of the public said disinformation will be a factor in the outcome of the elections. The most likely sources of disinformation were thought to be social media (42%) and the news media (40%). Only 11% thought foreign governments will be a main source of disinformation.
· Only 18% were worried about artificial intelligence as a method of spreading disinformation.
Who people trust for political news (It’s not the news media)
· Americans were asked to rate 11 different sources of political news and information. As in past years, the highest-rated source was friends and family, with a trust level of 68% — though that percentage dropped from 71% last year.
· The second most trustworthy source of political news was businesses with a 43% trust level, and professional associations were third with a 41% trust level. The news media was fourth with a 41% trust level, but a greater percentage (47%) had little or no trust.
· The bottom rungs of trustworthy sources of political news were candidate campaigns with 24% trust and 60% little or no trust, and super PACs with 21% trust and 58% little or no trust.
Other notable findings:
· Americans considered the Republican Party (59%) to be more pro-business than the Democratic Party (43%). But Democrats were found to be much more supportive of efforts by large companies to engage politically on social issues. For example, 72% of Democrats said major companies should be involved in the effort to end racial discrimination, but only 51% of Republicans agreed. This 21-point spread was identical for discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation — and it was even greater for the most controversial issues such as voting rights, immigration and abortion rights.
· The public’s trust and confidence that major companies will behave ethically rose slightly to 51% in 2023. Trust levels for the nine industry sectors we examined improved this past year. The least-trusted sectors continued to be pharmaceutical and health insurance firms, but distrust of those sectors declined by 6 and 8 percentage points, respectively.
· Regarding campaign finance, 66% of Americans approved of a candidate spending his or her own money, 62% approved of contributions from individual citizens, and 51% supported the use of political action committees. As in past polls, the two least popular methods for funding campaigns were contributions from super PACs (42%) and using federal tax dollars to fund campaigns (35%).
· When asked to choose whether supporting individual rights or the common good was more important in a democratic society, Trump voters were more likely to value individual rights (27%) than the common good (17%). On the other hand, Biden voters were more likely to value the common good (21%) than individual rights (17%). Biden voters were also more likely to value both equally (56% to 48%).
“After two disruptive presidential election cycles, Americans are apprehensive as we enter the campaign season for the 2024 elections,” said Public Affairs President Doug Pinkham. “Our findings tell us they’re concerned about the one-two punch of widespread disinformation leading up to Election Day, and then whether the voting itself will be honest and open.”
Visit our website to view the full Public Affairs Pulse survey results: pac.org/pulse
Survey Methodology: This poll was conducted between September 1-3, 2023, among a sample of 2,219 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
About the Public Affairs Council
Both nonpartisan and nonpolitical, the Public Affairs Council is the leading global association for public affairs professionals. The Council’s mission is to advance the field of public affairs and to provide its 700 member companies, nonprofits and universities with the executive education and expertise they need while maintaining the highest ethical standards. Learn more at pac.org.
”“After two disruptive presidential election cycles, Americans are apprehensive as we enter the campaign season for the 2024 elections”