Despite coronavirus fears, fewer than half want November elections by mail, new poll finds

With opinion split, those 'concerned about the potential for abuse of voting by mail will have to come up with credible options to address the health concerns,' pollster Scott Rasmussen said.

Updated: April 22, 2020 - 1:51pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Amid ongoing concern about the spread of the coronavirus, Americans are divided about the mechanics for voting in November's elections, with 47% of registered voters calling for mail-in balloting, according to the Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.

The polling also found that 42% of Americans think states should develop new in-person voting routines and 11% are unsure which method should be used to administer November's presidential elections.

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Just the News Poll, Presidential Election- Votes in person or via mail?
Just the News Daily Poll
With Scott Rasmussen

"Other polling over the years shows that voters tend to believe in-person voting is more accurate and less subject to fraud and abuse," Rasmussen said. "At this time, given the pandemic, voters are looking for answers. Those who are concerned about the potential for abuse of voting by mail will have to come up with credible options to address the health concerns."

Democrats appear united in their push to use “social distancing” around coronavirus to move the country toward November mail-in voting, expanded voting dates or possibly even “drive-thru voting.” However, Republicans suspect Democrats could be exploiting a health crisis for partisan gain. Some fear a rapid move to alter the general election system could result in the type of chaos seen at the Iowa Democratic Caucus in February. 

"Everyone recognizes that we will have to think differently about the mechanics of voting in November," Rasmussen said. "But the question is how. Sixty-five percent of Democrats think everyone should vote by mail. However, 62% of Republicans think that states should develop new in-state voting routines with appropriate social distancing procedures."

Respondents were asked: “For the November presidential election, would it be better to have everyone vote by mail, or should states develop new in-person voting routines with appropriate social distancing protections?" They responded as below:

  • 47% Everyone should vote by mail
  • 42% States should develop new in-person voting routines
  • 11% Not Sure

Despite partisan battles over balloting, Rasmussen cautioned that politicos should keep an outside-the-Beltway perspective.

"It’s also important to recognize that thoughts about how voting will be conducted in November are not likely to be a topic of discussion anywhere outside of political circles," Rasmussen said. "In the midst of a pandemic producing health worries and unprecedented job loss, most dinner table discussions are likely focused around more immediate concerns."

The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted April 16-18, 2020 by Rasmussen, a polling veteran. Margin of sampling error: +/- 2.8% for full sample. 

To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click below:

To see the methodology and sample demographics for this polling question, click below: