Poll: Voters say it's unsafe to hold primary elections amid coronavirus outbreak

Poll: Voters say it's unsafe to hold primary elections amid coronavirus outbreak

A strong majority of voters say they don’t believe it’s safe to hold primary elections right now because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new poll.

The latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll found that 57 percent of voters said that holding primary elections risks exposing too many people to the virus.

Sixty percent said that if their state held a primary election this week, the risk of exposure would factor into their decision of whether or not to vote.


The pandemic has disrupted the Democratic presidential primary at a time when former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia Fill the Eastern District of Virginia  Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted MORE has opened up a substantial lead over Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan Briahna Joy Gray: Proposals favored by Black voters 'first at the chopping block' in spending talks MORE (I-Vt.) in the race to the nomination.

However, the elections must be completed and delegates must be allocated at state conventions before the national convention in July. The Democratic National Committee has urged states not to postpone their primaries, but rather to use absentee and mail-in alternatives, or to increase polling places and hours of operation to cut down on crowds.

Still, many states have postponed their primary elections due to the outbreak. Several others have also sought to increase access to absentee and mail-in ballots in an effort to reduce the number of people who show up at the polls.

Seventy-seven percent of voters said they’d support conducting the entire 2020 general election by mail, which is currently accepted in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Fifty-seven percent said voting should be able to take place online, which is not an option anywhere.

“The voters are open to new forms of voting as a result of the pandemic with most favoring mail and or internet voting,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark PennMark PennPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Poll: Biden, Trump statistically tied in favorability Majority of voters say country is on the wrong track: poll MORE. “This could trigger a sea change in how America votes.”

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll of 2,410 registered voters was conducted between March 24 to March 26 and has a 2 percentage point margin of error.

Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, education, political party and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.