State Results of May Survey Show 60% of Americans Support Expanding Vote by Mail

The second round of a multi-university project to survey people in all 50 states about their opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic response focused on public opinion around increasing access to vote by mail (VBM) for the upcoming Presidential elections.

60% of respondents across all 50 states said they support making it easier to vote by mail in November, while only 16% oppose the idea.

Notably, support for vote by mail is correlated with individuals’ media consumption habits.

Support for VBM was at 52% among those who reported watching Trump’s briefings compared to 63% among those who did not. The numbers were similar among Americans who reported watching Fox News in the 24 hours before responding to our survey: 52% supported easier mail-in voting compared to 65% among those who did not watch the network. We found even larger differences in support for VBM, but in the opposite direction, among people who watched CNN (73% support VBM) vs. those who did not (53% support) and those who watched MSNBC (77%) vs. those who did not (56%).

The State Of The Nation: A 50-State COVID-19 Survey
Report #3: Support For Vote By Mail

Support is especially high in states where vote by mail is already more common, and support correlates strongly with an individual’s familiarity with the vote by mail process.

Support for vote by mail also correlates with concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and following public health guidelines like wearing a face mask when out in public.

Read the full report here, or visit the project’s website at

The authors of this study, who are members of the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States, are:

  • Matthew A. Baum, Shorenstein Center, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University
  • David Lazer, Northeastern University
  • John Della Volpe, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Roy H. Perlis, Harvard University
  • James Druckman, Northwestern University
  • Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University

Press Contact: Liz Schwartz, Communications Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.