A record number of voters say that 'it really matters' who wins the election — but half expect difficulties to vote, according to new survey

  • A new Pew Research Center survey found 83% of voters say who wins the presidency "really matters."
  • This indicator of high voter engagement is greater than any in the past two decades. In the 2016 election, 74% answered that the election really mattered in the same survey. 
  • However, voters are split on whether it will be easy to vote in the upcoming election, according to the survey.
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A record number of voters say that the upcoming presidential election "really matters," according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

In a telephone survey of US registered voters conducted through July and August, 83% of respondents said that they believe it "really matters" who wins the 2020 presidential election. This number far surpasses surveys in previous election cycles for the past two decades.

In the 2016 election, 74% of respondents, roughly 10% less than this year's response, said the election really matters. That 74% was also around a 10% increase from the 63% who answered in 2008 and 2012 surveys that who wins the presidency "really matters."

While the answer signals high voter engagement, voters who responded to the survey appear to be split on whether voting will be accessible in the upcoming election.

Voting during the coronavirus pandemic has posed a unique set of challenges. Concerns over delayed mail delivery in an election that expects a high number of mail-in-ballots are coupled with complications like many needing to update voter registration after relocating during the pandemic.

For some communities, voting has been a challenge far before the pandemic: policies like voter ID laws and punitive disenfranchisement policies for felony convictions are barriers that Black voters are more likely to face, Business Insider's Grace Panetta previously reported.

According to Pew, 50% of registered voters believe if it will be easy to vote for the upcoming election while 49% believe it will be difficult. The responses differ by respondents' identified political party as well: 60% of Biden supporters and 35% of Trump supporters respectively answered voting will be difficult.

Additionally, the voters are split on whether they would vote in person: 80% of registered voters who support Trump, contrasting with the 58% of Biden supporters, answered they would vote in person. A number of states that voted for Trump in the previous election, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina are among those that require a reason outside of the coronavirus to vote by mail.

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