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6 in 10 Americans worry disinformation will influence midterm voting decisions: poll

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Greg Nash
Social media apps are arranged for a photograph on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022.

Six in 10 Americans say they are worried that disinformation will influence people’s midterm voting decisions, according to a new poll. 

A poll released on Thursday from the Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that invests in journalism and the arts, and Ipsos found that only a quarter of respondents said they are concerned that they themselves might be tricked by false or misleading information, but 58 percent are concerned about others being misled. 

More than 60 percent said they are very or somewhat concerned about people in their community making decisions about how to vote in Tuesday’s midterm elections based on the false or misleading information. 

A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents surveyed believe they will not be fooled by disinformation, but Democrats are much more likely to be worried about others being deceived. More than 70 percent of Democrats said they are very or somewhat concerned about this, compared to 49 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of independents. 

More than three quarters of Americans polled think false information about elections is a problem on social media, and almost 80 percent who voted in the 2020 presidential election said it is a problem. Only 64 percent of those who did not vote in 2020 said the same. 

Most respondents said social media companies should be willing to take actions to limit disinformation, with 80 percent saying they should censor content that misleads voters about how to fill out mail-in ballots and 69 percent saying they should limit claims of election fraud with little or no evidence. 

But the survey found Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to support social media platforms taking down content that claims election fraud occurred without evidence. About half of GOP respondents support that while almost 90 percent of Democrats do. 

Still, only a third of respondents said they support government regulations to require social media companies to limit the spread of false information about elections. They are more supportive of individuals taking responsibility or companies acting on their own. 

Pollsters found people ages 18-34 are the most likely to get their news about the midterm elections from social media and are also the least likely to consume news about the election. 

“With less than a week to go before the midterm elections and people already voting early, many questions remain about Americans’ access to and ability to decipher election-related news in today’s media ecosystem,” an analysis from the Knight Foundation states. 

The poll was conducted Oct. 14-16 among 1,024 U.S. adults.

Tags 2022 midterm elections 2022 midterms 2022 midterms Disinformation election disinformation Social media social media disinformation

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