The differing perceptions about the reliability of mail-in voting are particularly worrisome, given that any inkling of ballot fraud could undermine any candidate's claim to victory. Forty-three percent of Republicans and independents who lean right said fraud has been a major problem in presidential elections. That percentage is four times higher than for Democrats and people who lean left.
President Trump has voice repeated objections to mail-in voting, and those claims affect the perceptions of some Republicans. Sixty-one percent of Republicans who said the Trump campaign is a major source of election news see voter fraud as a problem, compared with only 36% of Republicans who don't rely on Trump for news.
Most Democrats tend to say voter fraud isn't a problem, including those who depend on the Joe Biden campaign for news, Pew found.
Both Republicans and Democrats with a more varied media diet tend to perceive mail-in voting differently. News outlets tend to reinforce people's ideas about issues.
Sixty-one percent of Republicans whose only major sources of election news are those with right-leaning audiences -- namely, talk radio and Fox News -- described mail-in voter fraud as a major problem. Conversely, only 23% of Republicans who don't rely on those media outlets for news said the same, according to Pew.
Sixty-seven percent of Democrats whose only major sources of election news are those with left-leaning audiences – that is, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times and The Washington Post– said mail-in voter fraud isn't a problem at all, compared with only 35% of Democrats who somehow managed to avoid all those news outlets.
Unfortunately, many Americans are coming across lots of misinformation, with 69% of adults saying they have seen "completely made-up news" about the election.
Many people tend to blame political leaders and activists for fake news, but there are differences by party. More than half of Republicans blame journalists for made-up news, compared with only 9% of Democrats. That trust gap is also worrisome as voters try to separate fact from fiction.