Waning Confidence in Primary Elections and Major Political Parties, Reveals AP-NORC Survey

by Ethan Kim
AP-NORC Poll Politics

As the Republican Party’s presidential primaries are about to commence, there’s a growing lack of certainty among Republicans regarding the accurate counting of votes in their primaries. This sentiment reflects a broader sense of disillusionment with the future prospects of both major political parties in the United States, as indicated by a recent survey from The Big Big News-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Approximately one-third of Republicans express significant confidence in the accurate tabulation of votes in their party’s primary elections and caucuses. Meanwhile, around 30% of Republicans have a moderate level of confidence, and 32% have little to no confidence at all. In a stark contrast, 72% of Democrats maintain high confidence in their party’s ability to accurately count votes in primary contests. Democrats also tend to be more confident than Republicans in the accuracy of the Republican Party’s vote counting.

Republicans broadly remain skeptical about the precision of vote counting, not just in early contests but also in future elections. Around one-quarter of Republicans feel confident about the accuracy of vote counting in the 2024 presidential election, a sentiment much lower than that of Democrats. Close to half of the American adults (46%) share this view, aligning with a June AP-NORC poll.

This skepticism among Republicans has roots in former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud in 2020, despite no credible evidence supporting these allegations as confirmed by federal and state election officials, including Trump’s own attorney general. The courts, including those with judges appointed by Trump, have also consistently dismissed these claims.

Julie Duggan, a 32-year-old Trump supporter from Chicago, reflects this distrust: “Nothing will be fair because the last election was rigged. I don’t trust any of them at this point.”

The survey uncovers a general mistrust in both major political parties among American adults. About a quarter of U.S. adults express minimal confidence in both the Democratic and Republican Parties’ fairness in choosing presidential nominees. This lack of trust is particularly pronounced among independents, with about half of them doubting both parties’ processes.

Trump expresses readiness for a debate with Biden in 2024, regardless of the controversial commission’s involvement.
Biden and Trump face negative perceptions in a potential 2024 rematch, as indicated by an AP-NORC poll.
Discrepancies in 2020 poll tallies in Georgia do not confirm the non-existence of 20,713 votes, as other records are available for verification.

Less than half of U.S. adults — 46% — express pessimism about the manner in which the nation’s leaders are selected.

Around half of American adults are concerned about the future of the Republican Party, including a third of Republicans and 45% of independents. Similar levels of pessimism are seen regarding the Democratic Party’s future, with 45% of U.S. adults, including about a quarter of Democrats and 41% of independents, feeling uneasy.

Gary Jackson, a 65-year-old retired trucker and Republican from Boise, Idaho, criticizes both parties: “The way they’re spending our money and not protecting our people here in the United States of America… Right now, I’m not impressed with either party.”

Christine Allen, a political independent from Gambrills, Maryland, admires her state’s former governor, Larry Hogan, a moderate Republican. Hogan’s decision not to run in the GOP presidential primary, according to her, symbolizes how the two-party system hinders capable leaders from gaining office. She comments, “Everybody right now is acting like children, and no one is emerging as a winner.”

However, Allen believes the primaries are fairer than the Electoral College.

Even party affiliates are concerned about their respective parties’ nominee selections. A recent AP-NORC poll suggests that both Democrats and Republicans lack confidence in their party’s primaries producing a candidate who can win the general election or represent their party’s or Americans’ views adequately.

Only 30% of Democrats are confident their party will choose a candidate representing most Americans, and about a quarter believe the candidate will align with their personal views. Similarly, about 30% of Republicans trust that their party will select a nominee who represents the majority of Americans, with one-third expecting a nominee who aligns with their views.

Mark Richards, a 33-year-old middle school teacher and Democrat from Toledo, Ohio, anticipates President Joe Biden’s re-nomination despite low approval ratings. He believes that while the primaries might be fair, the system is fundamentally flawed due to its heavy reliance on financial contributions from PACs and Super PACs.

The poll, which involved 1,074 adults, was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, 2023. It utilized a sample from NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel, designed to represent the U.S. population. The margin of error for all respondents is plus

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AP-NORC Poll Politics

What does the AP-NORC poll indicate about Republicans’ confidence in their primary election process?

The poll shows that about one-third of Republicans have significant confidence in the accurate counting of votes in their primaries, while 32% have little to no confidence. This reflects a broader skepticism among Republicans about the integrity of the election process.

How do Democrats view the accuracy of vote counting in their party’s primaries compared to Republicans?

Democrats display a higher level of confidence than Republicans in the accuracy of vote counting. 72% of Democrats have high confidence in their party’s ability to count votes accurately in primary contests, and they are also more confident in the Republican Party’s vote counting accuracy.

What impact has former President Donald Trump’s claims had on Republicans’ views of election integrity?

Former President Trump’s unfounded allegations of election fraud in 2020 have contributed to a lingering skepticism among Republicans about the accuracy of vote counting, despite no credible evidence supporting these claims and their dismissal by courts and election officials.

What level of trust do U.S. adults have in both major political parties?

The survey reveals a widespread lack of trust among U.S. adults in both the Democratic and Republican parties. About a quarter express minimal confidence in the fairness of both parties’ processes for selecting presidential nominees, with independents showing particularly low levels of trust.

What are the general feelings of U.S. adults regarding the future of major political parties and the election process?

The poll found that nearly half of U.S. adults are pessimistic about the future of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Similarly, 46% express pessimism about the way the country’s leaders are chosen, reflecting concerns about the overall election process.

How do party affiliates view their chances of nominating a candidate who can win the general election or represent their views?

Both Democrats and Republicans show a lack of confidence in their party’s primary process to produce a candidate who can win the general election and represent either the views of most Americans or their own personal views. This uncertainty is present in both parties.

More about AP-NORC Poll Politics

  • AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
  • AmeriSpeak Panel Overview
  • 2024 U.S. Presidential Election Predictions
  • Understanding Political Polls and Surveys
  • U.S. Election Integrity and Voter Confidence
  • The Impact of Political Allegations on Public Trust
  • Analysis of U.S. Political Party Dynamics
  • Overview of the U.S. Electoral College System

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Mike_J87 December 27, 2023 - 2:56 pm

wow, really shows how much trust in the system has gone down, kinda sad to see

TomH_1991 December 27, 2023 - 3:53 pm

Skepticism is high but what’s the solution? it’s not just about pointing fingers.

sarahBee December 27, 2023 - 5:44 pm

i’m not surprised at all, after all that’s happened with elections lately..

LizzyQ December 27, 2023 - 6:45 pm

Dems seem more confident, but that could change, politics is always unpredictable.

Nate_from_Ohio December 27, 2023 - 8:21 pm

these numbers are concerning, democracy depends on trust in the process.

GaryInIdaho December 27, 2023 - 8:24 pm

Both parties need to step up their game, people are losing faith fast!

Anna_K December 28, 2023 - 3:06 am

This poll is eye-opening, but are we really shocked? Politics is a mess right now.

PoliticalJunkie December 28, 2023 - 8:50 am

Interesting data, but polls aren’t always right, remember 2016?


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