Who are the Election Skeptics? Evidence from the 2022 Midterm Elections
Yphtach Lelkes and
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Derek Holliday: Stanford University
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Faith in American elections is eroding, with politicians frequently questioning the legitimacy of election results and spreading misinformation about voter fraud. Substantial work has been done to refute misinformation and increase confidence in elections, but often without a clear picture of who skeptics are and why they are skeptical. Using extensive polling data from around the 2022 midterm election (N=5,244), we provide a comprehensive profile of election skeptics: their prevalence, views, and justification. We rely on a large nationally-representative survey and use a mix of quantitative and qualitative data. We find that while skepticism is widespread in the American electorate, its underpinnings are not necessarily deep-seated. Over half of skeptics claim they are skeptical because of how elections are run and nearly one-in-five skeptics claim they are skeptical because of the other party's performance in recent elections, which we corroborate through an event study of the 2022 election.
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