A CNN/ORC poll shows 8 in 10 say the losing presidential candidate has an obligation to concede
Democrats were less confident in the system than Republicans in 2004
Almost 7 in 10 voters nationwide say they think Hillary Clinton will win the presidency next month, but most say that if that happens, Donald Trump will not accept the results and concede, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.
Americans overall are more confident that the nation’s votes for president will be cast and counted accurately this year than they were in 2008. Whatever the outcome, however, nearly 8 in 10 say that once all the states have certified their vote counts, the losing candidate has an obligation to accept the results and concede to the winner.
Expectations that the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee will win are widespread and growing. The 68% who say they expect a Clinton win now is up from 59% around Labor Day and 55% back in June just after the primaries ended. Republicans and Trump supporters are the sole groups, among which less than half think Clinton will ultimately win.
Among Clinton’s own supporters, 93% expect her to win the election, while just 57% of Trump’s backers say they’re expecting him to carry the day. Voters who support Trump yet expect Clinton to win are more apt than Trump backers who think he will win to say that the loser of the election has an obligation to concede (72% among Trump backers who say Clinton’s going to win, 55% among those who think Trump will).
Overall, 66% of Americans say that they have at least some confidence that votes for president will be accurately cast and counted in this year’s election, up from 58% who said so around this time in 2008 and a bit below the 72% who had that much confidence heading in to the 2004 election.
In the new poll, candidate support and partisanship are primary dividers on whether Americans have confidence in the vote count, with 88% of Clinton’s supporters confident vs. 49% of Trump backers, and similar divides by party (86% of Democrats are confident vs. 54% of Republicans).
That’s a reversal from 2004, when Democrats were less confident in the system than Republicans heading into the first presidential election after the Florida recount which resulted in George W. Bush’s victory there by a few hundred votes. Back then, 59% of Democrats expressed confidence in the system vs. 87% of Republicans.
By 2008, questions about the integrity of elections were almost equally shared across party lines, about 6 in 10 Democrats (59% confident) and Republicans (58% confident) had at least some faith in the election system.
In the new poll, 77% say that whoever loses after each state has officially certified its vote for president has an obligation to accept the results and concede. But just 35% say they think that if Trump loses he will accept the results and concede once votes have been certified, 61% say he will not. That doubt lies primarily among those who do not support Trump. Among his own backers, 56% say they think he will accept the outcome and concede if he loses, while 75% of those who support Clinton think he will not.
Fewer (22%) doubt that Clinton will accept the results if she loses, but again, her own supporters are more apt to say she will than are those who back her opponent; 95% of Clinton backers say she will vs. 59% of Trump supporters.
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone October 20-23 among a random national sample of 1,017 adults, including 916 registered voters. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample and among registered voters is plus or minus 3 percentage points.