Cybersecurity

Majority of Americans concerned about potential foreign election interference: poll

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The majority of U.S. residents, or around 59 percent, are “extremely” or “somewhat” concerned about potential election interference by a foreign government this year, poll results released Friday found. 

A poll conducted by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that respondents were most concerned about foreign governments conducting influence campaigns to sway public opinion on candidates. 

Respondents also cited concerns around the potential for hack and leak operations against political campaigns, and that voting infrastructure could be targeted. 

The poll found that Democrats were more than twice as likely as Republicans to be concerned about foreign interference, and that less than half of Republicans believed that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election as compared to 90 percent of Democrats. 

The poll was conducted over four days in September, with more than 1,000 U.S. adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., participating. 

The poll was conducted less than two months before Election Day, and as concerns over foreign interference have ramped up.

A senior official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an analysis in August warning that Russia, China and Iran are actively interfering in U.S. elections this year, with Russia favoring President Trump, and China and Iran favoring former Vice President Joe Biden. 

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have teamed up to put out a series of public service announcements around foreign influence operations, including one published last week that warned that foreign hackers will likely seek to spread disinformation around election results this year. 

Microsoft released a report last month that found evidence of Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting U.S. political groups, including the Trump and Biden campaigns. 

These efforts come four years after Russian agents interfered in the 2016 election in favor of then-candidate Trump, according to former special counsel Robert Mueller, U.S. Intelligence agencies, and the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

These efforts included a sweeping social media disinformation campaign, targeting election infrastructure in all 50 states, and hacking into networks of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Democrats in Congress have been increasingly calling for more information on foreign election interference efforts this year to be made public, including potential information on Russian interference efforts and on foreign efforts to undermine faith in mail-in voting.

Tags Donald Trump Election Security Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Joe Biden Robert Mueller Russia Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Russian interference in the 2020 United States elections

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