America goes to the polls amidst challenges

New Axios-Ipsos poll finds despite significant interest in voting, major uncertainty exists about the election

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, October 17, 2020

A new Axios-Ipsos poll illustrates the extent to which experiences with voting in America remain unequal. As the nation holds a historic election, with over 20 million ballots already cast, Americans have widely different views of voting and report different challenges to vote.

  • Almost one in four Black Americans report experiencing some irregularity when voting. That compares to 15% of white Americans.
    • The most common issue is waiting in lines of an hour or more to vote, which 15% of Black Americans report experiencing.
    • American people of color are also more likely to agree that “it is harder for people like me to vote in my state than it is for other people” than white Americans.
  • In other areas, partisanship is the primary driver of different attitudes. Democrats are more supportive of measures to expand access to voting including allowing same day registration, absentee voting, and a national election day holiday.
    • Most Americans support having the same voting laws across all 50 states and support requiring a photo ID to vote.
  • Two in five Americans are concerned about mail-in ballot fraud, despite little evidence it actually occurs.
    • Black Americans are more likely to report concern about long wait times, contracting COVID-19 if voting in person, or physical violence at voting locations.
  • Three quarters of Americans say they have already voted or are certain to vote in this election.

About the Study

This Axios/Ipsos Race and Voting poll was conducted October 8th to October 15th, 2020 by Ipsos using our KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 2,052 general population adults age 18 or older.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households are randomly sampled from all available households in the U.S. All persons in selected households are invited to join and participate in KnowledgePanel. Ipsos provides selected households that do not already have internet access a tablet and internet connection at no cost to them. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methods, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, race/ethnicity by gender, race/ethnicity by age, race/ethnicity by education, race/ethnicity by region, and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2020 March supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (High School graduate or less, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White/Other non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Hispanic) by gender (Male, Female)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White/Other non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Hispanic) by age (18-44, 45+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White/Other non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Hispanic) by education (Less than college grad, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White/Other non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Asian Non-Hispanic, Hispanic) by Census region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Something else)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.49. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP


The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs