Politics & Government

Republicans and Democrats are divided on how big a problem election fraud is in NC

How serious a problem do you think election fraud is in North Carolina?

A new poll from Elon University, released Friday, shows your answer may have a lot to do with your political affiliation.

Conducted in the wake of the 9th District absentee ballot fraud scandal and the order for a new election, the poll found that half of all those surveyed in North Carolina said election fraud is a “major problem.” An additional 41 percent said election fraud is a “minor problem,” while just 8 percent said it was “not much of a problem at all.”

The responses varied significantly on party lines, however: While 61 percent of Democrats said election fraud is a major problem, that proportion fell to 46 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans.

How much attention people were paying to the news also influenced their answer: 62 percent of people who said they followed the 9th District news very closely said election fraud is a major problem, compared with just 37 percent of those who said they weren’t following the news much.

“Now months out from the tainted 9th District election, North Carolina voters are broadly skeptical of elections in the state,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and an associate professor of political science at the university. “A majority of the electorate has clear concerns about the fairness of future elections and the extent of fraud.”

Going forward, 60 percent of respondents said they were “somewhat confident” in future elections being conducted fairly, while 22 percent said they were “not at all confident.” Just 18 percent said they were “very confident” future elections will be fair.

The online poll was conducted from Feb. 24-27, and surveyed 943 voters. Unlike a random phone survey, this poll used an opt-in sample, and participants received compensation for their responses. Responses in the poll come with a 3.4 percent “credibility interval,” which is similar to the margin of error reported in a traditional phone survey.

Republican Mark Harris announced this week that he won’t run in the new election, which the State Board of Elections ordered last week after a four-day hearing into illegal absentee ballot harvesting. The board is planning to meet Monday to set a schedule for the new election, including new primaries. Democrat Dan McCready is expected to take on the winning Republican in the general election, likely in late summer or early fall.

Most voters agreed on that: 60 percent of the survey respondents said Harris should not run again. His support was higher among Republicans, but even among his own party, only 33 percent thought Harris should run in the new election.

Follow more of our reporting on The North Carolina election fraud investigation

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Ely Portillo covers local and state government for the Charlotte Observer, where he has previously written about growth, crime, the airport and a five-legged puppy. He grew up in Maryland and attended Harvard University.