Americans Trust Government More than Tech Companies to Combat Election Influence Ops
A survey found that U.S. adults think it’s highly likely some nation will try to interfere in the midterms and aren’t confident government or industry can stop it.
U.S. adults are skeptical that government is prepared to protect the 2018 midterm elections against foreign hackers, but they’re even less confident that technology companies will prevent their tools from being misused to influence the election, a survey found.
One-third of U.S. adults are very or somewhat confident that tech companies will protect their tools from being used in election influence operations, according to the Pew Research Center survey released Monday.
That’s compared with 55 percent of U.S. adults who are very or somewhat confident the government is making serious efforts to protect election systems from hacking and other digital threats.
About two-thirds of American adults think it’s likely Russia or another U.S. adversary will attempt to manipulate the 2018 midterm elections, but there’s a big partisan split over how concerned they are about that meddling, Pew found.
Within the subset of survey respondents who consider election interference likely, 83 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic consider it a “major issue” compared with only 47 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican, the survey found.
Republicans in the survey also expressed more confidence than Democrats that U.S. election systems are secure against hackers, but the division wasn’t as pronounced.
Among Republicans and those who lean Republican, 59 percent were very or somewhat confident that U.S. election systems are secure compared with 34 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic.
There was also a partisan gap in respondents’ confidence that U.S. officials are making “serious efforts” to protect election systems from hacking and other digital threats. About 72 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners expressed confidence compared with 43 percent of Democrats.
Voters overall were more confident that election systems in their state were protected against hackers with 75 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners and 60 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners expressing confidence.
Democrats living in states where Republicans control all elected branches of government expressed the lowest confidence in election security. Among that group, 55 percent said they were confident about election security but only 9 percent were very confident.
The survey was based on responses from 10,683 U.S. adults who are part of a pre-selected random sample that Pew calls the American Trends panel.