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In new poll, 58% of registered voters favor voting by mail; 67% favor it just for 2020

You could say that anything with that big of a majority supporting it would happen. But then there’s the partisan breakdown.

Mail-in ballots
From October 30, 2018: Mail-in ballots for a congressional election in Orange County, California, waiting to be inspected by election workers.
REUTERS/Mike Blake

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had an interesting finding on partisan differences over vote-by-mail:

Fifty-eight percent of all registered voters – that’s a very solid majority – favor allowing all eligible voters the option of casting their ballots by mail. (An even larger 67 percent majority favored such a change just for this year, considering the COVID-19 pandemic.)

You could say that anything with that big of a majority supporting it would happen. But here’s the partisan breakdown:

82 percent of Democrats favored such a change, but only 31 percent of Republicans.

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If you weren’t overly suspicious that Republicans favor making it harder to vote, I suppose you could surmise that Republicans, for some inexplicable reason, are just more worried than Democrats about the (negligible) possibility that vote-by-mail might lead to fraud.

But 61 percent of independents, presumably the group least likely to be basing their views on partisan advantage, also favor allowing mail-in ballots.

Call me partisan and suspicious, my belief is that Republicans believe that vote-by-mail enables more people to vote and more people voting is bad for their party’s chances.

Or perhaps, the difference is explained by where people get their news.

The NBC News story from which I’m borrowing these poll numbers also asked where respondents get their news. Here’s its summary of that finding:

“While just 39 percent of all voters OPPOSE a national expansion of vote by mail for future elections, that opposition jumps to 61 percent of Fox News consumers (versus 36 percent of broadcast news consumers and 28 percent of MSNBC/CNN watchers).

The full NBC piece is here.