Editor’s note: Following is the second in a series of monthly public-opinion surveys conducted by Rasmussen Research/
of America in partnership with WorldNetDaily.com. This is the first such partnership between a major polling firm and an independent Internet news company.
A national survey conducted by Rasmussen Research on behalf of WorldNetDaily.com shows nearly half of Americans believe the Democratic Party is most responsible for voter fraud, and two-thirds of those sampled suspect government files and databases are subject to misuse during political campaigns.
The scientific telephone sampling of 1,000 voters taken last weekend found that 48.8 percent of respondents believed the Democratic Party was more culpable in alleged voter fraud, while only 15.7 percent believed the Republicans were.
Ironically, more of the respondents had voted for Al Gore for president than for George Bush. Of those sampled, 48.1 percent had cast their ballots for Gore and 46.5 percent had supported Bush.
A whopping 66 percent of those sampled said they believe government files and databases are abused in political campaigns, while only 12.7 percent said they were not.
Younger voters were more inclined to believe voter fraud and irregular voting practices — including the intentional casting of illegal ballots — were widespread problems in the U.S. electoral system. They were also more likely to suspect misuse of government resources in campaigns.
Asked if young people could have confidence in a system they view as corrupt, Karen Saranita of the Institute for Fair Elections responded, “How could anybody?”
“People misunderstand the term voter fraud,” she said. “Fraud is a precise legal term. It is a criminal intent to do something illegal.” Saranita, who heads the non-partisan organization, explained that when “someone votes twice, that’s voter fraud. Someone registers their dog, that’s voter fraud. Someone who’s not a citizen voting, that’s voter fraud. That’s not what’s going on in Florida.” Instead, that state’s predicament is a question of process — which kinds of chads will be counted and which will not, she said.
Though the WND/Rasmussen survey polled voters around the country, Saranita believes most participants likely had Florida in mind given the massive media coverage of events there.
The Florida Supreme Court recently decided to allow selected counties to finish their hand recounts, as long as the counts are completed and reported by 5 p.m. Sunday. However, the court set no uniform standard as to which kinds of chads — dimpled, “pregnant,” or hanging — should be counted.
“I’m afraid [the situation in Florida] is really going to undermine what little confidence people have in our system,” Saranita continued. “Maybe it will be a wake-up call. My experience says it won’t. My experience says that six months from now it won’t be an issue” due to America’s “short attention span.”
As for Americans’ overwhelming finger-pointing at Democrats when assigning blame for voter fraud allegations, Saranita said the poll results could be explained by bad public relations on the part of the Democratic Party and Vice President Al Gore’s campaign. A
5-page memo circulated by Gore staff provided tips on how to challenge, and ultimately throw out, military absentee ballots that historically favor Republicans. Additionally, Gore’s repeated calls for recounts have reflected badly on Democrats, she said.
“In some ways, people may see that as fraud. That could have a lot to do with it. It’s a mess. It’s embarrassing. It’s going to make for some rather loud Thanksgiving dinners,” said Saranita.
The survey, taken on Nov. 19, has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
This is WND’s second poll in conjunction with Rasmussen/Portrait of America.
The first poll, conducted in August, surveyed Americans on the proper role of the press in a free society.
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