Democrats back voter ID laws

July 31, 2013, 4:56 PM GMT+0

A majority of Democrats support laws requiring people to show ID in order to vote, while many Republicans think voter fraud is endemic.

In June the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, opening the door for a number of Southern states to pass laws requiring voters to provide ID when they turn up to vote without first securing federal approval. The move, largely pushed by Republican-controlled state legislatures, has been highly controversial, with many left-wing figures saying that these 'voter ID' laws will depress turnout and even prevent poorer voters - who are often minority voters or the elderly - without photo ID from voting. Supporters of the law say that voter ID laws are an effective and fair way of preventing voter fraud.

The latest YouGov research shows that support for the measure is not just limited to Republicans. 67% of Americans support voter ID laws, with only 23% opposing them. Despite their party's opposition to the move, even Democrats widely back voter ID laws, with 60% supporting it. Support is much higher, however, among Republicans, with 89% backing voter ID laws and only 4% opposing them. Significantly, a majority of black voters (59%) also support voter ID laws, despite much of the opposition to voter ID laws centering on the potential negative impact it has on minority voters. Support among Hispanics is even greater, with 65% supporting voter ID laws.

Despite the consensus in favor of voter ID laws, partisan divides emerge when people are asked how common voter fraud is. Republicans are much more likely to say that ineligible voters cast ballots in elections, with 44% saying that it is 'very common' and 32% saying it is 'somewhat common'. Only 20% of Republicans think it is 'very rare' and none believe that it never happens. Half of Democrats say that voter fraud is either 'very rare' or believe that it 'never happens'.

Critics of voter ID measures say that it will end up preventing some eligible voters from voting. Americans, however, are more likely to say that ineligible voters voting is currently a more common problem than eligible voters being prevented from voting.

Voting Rights Act

After the Supreme Court first struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, there was an increase in the number of Americans saying that the Act was no longer necessary. Three weeks after the research conducted in the wake of the decision, support for the Voting Rights Act has returned to roughly where it was before the Supreme Court's ruling. 45% of Americans say that it is still necessary, while 39% say that it is not.

Full results can be found here.

Image courtesy of Getty Images.

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