University of South Florida


University of South Florida researchers release national public opinion survey findings on vote-by-mail security and election fairness

photo of mail-in ballot

Researchers at the University of South Florida, in collaboration with researchers at Florida International University, have released a second round of results from a nationwide survey. This set is aimed at measuring public opinion about several proposed electoral/voting reforms, as well as attitudes about the Electoral College.

Among the key findings:

Americans are divided on the security of voting by mail. Half of the respondents (50%) said that voting by mail is less secure than in-person voting, while 44% said that it’s about the same.

Sharp partisan divisions on the fairness of American elections. Respondents were divided on the fairness of America’s national elections: 54% were “very” or “somewhat confident” that “America’s national elections are conducted fairly”, though 46% said that they were “not very confident” or “not at all confident”. Partisan differences were pronounced, with 85% of Democrats being “very” or “somewhat confident”, compared to only 27% of Republicans and 52% of Independents.

A majority of Americans support key provisions of the “Freedom to Vote Act”. Nearly three-quarters say that they would either “strongly” or “somewhat support” a requirement for states to hold early voting for at least two weeks prior to election day (74%). A similar percent (74%) support making election day a federal holiday. Additional results include:

  •  Requiring states to allow same-day voter registration (64%)
  •  Requiring states to allow voting by mail (63%)
  •  Requiring states to allow online voter registration (62%)
  • Requiring states to automatically register citizens to vote based on their official state  documents –  such as a driver’s license (60%)

While there is widespread support for election reforms, most Americans say that a valid photo ID should be required when voting. A larger majority of respondents (83%) say that voters should be required to show a valid photo ID when voting. Two-thirds of Americans say that it’s not difficult to register to vote under the current system (67%). Only 16% say that it is, while 16% are unsure.

A small majority of Americans would favor a change to a national popular vote when electing the president, but they are divided on the electoral implications of such a switch. A slim majority of 52% say that they would favor a change to the national popular vote (over the current Electoral College system). A majority (69%) feel that this would significantly change the outcome of Americans elections.

Overall opinions about the current Electoral College system are split:

  • 40.4% say that the Electoral College ensures the representation of diverse interests
  • 43.9% say that the Electoral College forces candidates to run “national” campaigns
  • 49.5% say that the Electoral College protects the interests of small states
  • 17.5% say that the Electoral College unfairly favors Democratic candidates
  • 20.4% say that the Electoral College unfairly favors Republican candidates

The survey included a representative sample of 1,000 eligible voters, fielded Jan. 6-10, 2022. Results are reported with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error +/-3 %.

The complete survey results can be found here.

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