Poll: Few expect announcement of presidential winner on election night

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Only 17 percent of voters expect the winner of the presidential election to be announced on Tuesday night, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

The poll comes after months of experts warning voters that results from Election Day could be delayed because of the increase of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. And because some states count ballots only after polls close — including two crucial swing states, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — it could take days for voters to learn whether President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden emerges as the winner. The poll shows that voters are now adjusting their expectations and preparing to wait for results.

A majority still thought that the next president would be determined in the span of a few days: 18 percent expected the results the day after election night, while 30 percent answered within a week. Only 3 percent of respondents thought that the process would take longer than a month.

Small disparities existed among political groups: 20 percent of Republicans said they thought a winner would be announced on election night, while only 17 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of independents agreed. Trust in determining a definite winner by the night of Nov. 3 was particularly higher among Republican men, at 23 percent.

Lowered expectations for results on the night of Election Day could come from voters’ distrust in the election system, which sits at 32 percent. And both sides of the political spectrum equally have their doubts, as 34 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans expressed low levels of faith in the election.

Concern over the integrity of the election has been fueled by Trump, who has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud, particularly when it comes to mail-in voting. It’s why experts have stressed the importance of highlighting the possibility of delayed election results, which are caused by an increase in voting by mail, especially because results could drastically change as mail-in ballots are counted at the last minute.

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 1, surveying 1,991 voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company, delivering insights on what people think in real time by surveying tens of thousands across the globe every single day.More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents: Toplines | Crosstabs

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