HKS Authors

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Doubts about the legitimacy of the 2016 US elections continue to reverberate and deepen partisan mistrust in America. A perfect storm followed Republican allegations of fake news and massive voter fraud, Democratic complaints of voter suppression and gerrymandering, discontent with the Electoral College’s awarding of victory to a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote, compounded by intelligence reports of Russian meddling. These issues raise the broader question: how serious do perceived electoral flaws have to be to raise doubts not just about the election but about democracy itself? Do ordinary people actually care about the quality of their elections or are they more concerned with jobs, growth and taxes and/or influenced by partisan cues? And how do attitudes vary among electoral winners and losers? The key findings of this research, based on World Values Survey data, are that doubts about electoral integrity do indeed undermine general satisfaction with how democracy works.


Norris, Pippa. "Do Perceptions of Electoral Malpractice Undermine Democratic Satisfaction? The US in Comparative Perspective." International Political Science Review 40.1 (2019): 5-22.