Poll workers are trusted by most Americans — but with some differences by region and party

Eli McKown-DawsonSurvey Data Journalism Intern
October 24, 2022, 5:00 PM GMT+0

Poll workers rose to national prominence after the 2020 election and subsequent allegations of voter fraud. Now, in the leadup to the 2022 vote, election officials have raised concerns about whether they can trust their poll workers and whether they will be able to recruit enough of them for the upcoming election. 

According to a recent YouGov poll, 62% of Americans think that poll workers in their community are "somewhat trustworthy" or "very trustworthy," and only 9% think they are "somewhat untrustworthy" or "very untrustworthy." Democrats (75%) are more trusting of local poll workers than Republicans (63%) and Independents (58%). Also, 46% of Americans said they would consider serving as a poll worker on election day. 

Beyond party identification, there are geographic differences in levels of trust. Americans who live in the Midwest are more trusting of their local poll workers than are people in other regions, with 78% rating them somewhat or very trustworthy. For comparison, only 67% of Americans living in the Western U.S. say the same, an 11-percentage-point difference. Americans’ trust in poll workers in the Northeast (74%) and South (71%) fall between these two regions. 

Overall, Americans in states that Donald Trump won in the 2020 presidential election (74%) and those in states Joe Biden won in 2020 (71%) were similarly trusting of poll workers. However, Republicans living in states that Donald Trump won in the 2020 presidential election think their poll workers are more trustworthy than do Republicans living in states that Joe Biden won. 

Republicans in states Trump won (76%) are 12 percentage-points more likely to say local poll workers are somewhat or very trustworthy than are Republicans in Biden states (64%). Meanwhile, 8% of Republicans in Trump states said poll workers are untrustworthy, 13% said the same in Biden states. The effect is almost nonexistent for Democrats: 81% say their local poll workers are trustworthy in Trump states and 82% say the same in Biden states. However, more Democrats in Biden states say their local poll workers are "very trustworthy" (48%) than say so in Trump states (43%). 

Party identification does not, however, affect willingness to serve as a poll worker, as 51% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans said they would consider being a poll worker on Election Day — if available and eligible. However, there are differences based on income. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of high-income Americans — defined as earning higher than 200% of the median income — said they would consider serving as a poll worker. However, only 38% of low-income Americans — who earn less than 75% of the median income — said they would consider being a poll worker, while 51% of middle-income Americans (who earn more than the low-income threshold but less than the high-income one) said the same. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this poll:

Methodology: This Daily Agenda survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 7,744 U.S. adults interviewed online on October 18 - 19, 2022. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.

Image: Adobe Stock (Seventyfour)

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