America Speaks: Are they worried about foreign interference in the 2020 US election?

Candice JaimungalSocial Media Contributor
September 14, 2020, 3:51 PM UTC

Groups backed by Russia, China, and Iran have recently launched cyberattacks aiming at both Trump and Biden’s 2020 campaigns, according to reports.  

A recent YouGov chat shows that most Americans (71%) are worried about foreign interference in the 2020 election.  

But why are YouGov users concerned about foreign interference, and who are they particularly concerned about? We asked our Chat users to go deeper on the issue and tell us what they think. You can share whether you are concerned about foreign interference in the 2020 US election here.   

“The Russians seem to be allowed free reign to interfere with our elections. Some politicians seem to have forgotten they are not our friends.” 

When we asked Chat users to tell us why they are concerned about foreign interference in the 2020 election, most cited concerns over Russian and Chinese hackers. “Russian hackers/spy agencies promoted misinformation, disinformation, lies and conspiracies online, in traditional and social media in 2016 and continue those efforts today,” wrote a chat user.  

“Any foreign influence is worrisome as those elected due to it are not truly representing the American citizen but rather are subject to the dictates of those outside out country and thus may not serve America’s best interest. That influence is either bought or coerced through blackmail. Both foreign money and foreign blackmail are worrisome. Lastly, foreign distribution of misinformation that sways voter opinion by playing to the fears and prejudices of those inclined to believe anything that fits their personal narrative no matter the lack of sourcing or data or proof of any kind,” stated another.  

YouGov Chat also asks participants to consider the other side of the debate. Users that said they are worried about foreign interference said the strongest reason Americans may say they are not is because they believe the interference is exaggerated (37%).  

“I don’t think people are swayed by Russian bots and the like as much as others claim.” 

Among Chat users who say they are not worried about foreign interference in the 2020 election, many stated that they do not think people are persuaded by foreign interference, and that their impact is exaggerated. “American's already know who they will vote for. We know the history of those running for office. We have already made up our minds. Nothing else can persuade us,” wrote one user. Others voiced that they are more concerned about other issues. “I’m worried about domestic interference more,” stated another user.  

When asked what kind of foreign interference do they think would give someone the most reason to worry, 56 percent of YouGov Chat users who are not worried themselves, said fake advertisements and misinformation, while 48 percent said ballot tampering.  

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Everyday, members of YouGov Chat are asked to share their opinion on a topic in the news. We allow anyone to take part in these chats, and do not display or weight results in real-time. Instead, to make the experience informative but still interactive, the Chat displays weighted data from YouGov Direct to show them how the rest of the country voted. This enables us to pose the question to all, while retaining data accuracy and validity when communicating results.  

YouGov Chat seeks to add to the ‘what?’ (the quantitative poll result) by finding the ‘why?” (qualitative open ends) in a member’s own words. Learn more about YouGov Chat here.    

Image: Getty