Why Do People Believe in Widespread Election Fraud?

AI reveals the myriad reasons behind a widespread lack of faith in elections

I have been very curious about the motivations behind what I hear from friends, family, colleagues, and the media in general, about their beliefs for or against the existence of widespread voter fraud. I have my own beliefs and what I believe are the building blocks that support those beliefs. However, I truly wanted an unbiased and unvarnished look into the building blocks that support everyone else’s beliefs — especially those that I do not agree with.

Rest easy, I won’t bore you with my beliefs. This is about others’ beliefs. Once again, I turned to Beehive AI to collect and analyze data about people’s psychographics with regards to the elections. Beehive AI is a unique platform that creates a mass open dialogue with consumers to help marketers understand customers and increase conversion. The technology interprets conversations at scale in order to uncover customer motivations and needs that can not be uncovered through traditional methods. The power of Beehive’s system lies in the ability to process massive amounts of data and learn from consumer’s free form responses to questions that allow for answers of any length. It allowed me to pose open-ended questions to Americans from across the country in all walks of life and make sense of their answers. With a broad distribution of participants from all 50 states, and no unintentional bias created by the typical structured answer survey, we processed more than 2,500 unstructured (at times lengthy) answers to very open questions about election fraud collected between Nov 22 — Nov 30, Allowing people to freely express their opinions, beliefs, and motivations showed a big gap in how different segments in the US population view reality and each other.

To start with, over ~41% of 45–64 y/o believe that there was widespread fraud in the elections regardless of political affiliation. However, across all age groups, those who stated that they leaned right politically, 71.45% believe in widespread fraud. At the same time only 8.98% of those leaning to the left, and 37.48% in the center, believe that there was fraud.

Somewhat surprising though, of those people who believe there was widespread fraud close to 40% said they intend to do “nothing” about it when asked what they will do.

There is also a big disconnect between how people explain why they believe in fraud vs. how people explain why others believe in fraud. Among the dozens reasons the AI uncovered for believing in fraud, the top three reasons uncovered for people who believe fraud were:

  • 14.1% — Counting process
  • 13.7% — Mail in voting
  • 11.4% — Blue shift

In contrast, when asked about others’ beliefs, people that don’t believe fraud occurred thought the main reasons for believing in fraud were:

  • 38.4% — Because of the president
  • 29.1% — Sore losers
  • 8.4% — Misinformed

Ironically, the two distinct groups have some agreement on what would convince people that massive fraud didn’t happen. 28.3% of people who believe massive fraud occurred say “nothing” will convince them otherwise while 39.7% of the people who don’t believe fraud occurred said the same thing about them. Recounts seem to have very little impact on these beliefs with only 6.8% of people classified as convincible by recounts.

One risk the Beehive AI platform uncovered in the current Trump strategy is that for Women that don’t believe there was widespread fraud and self describe themselves as politically in the center are 1.4x more likely to think this widespread fraud issue is just being “sore losers”.

The 2020 election was quite a different experience for those Americans living in “swing states” where the election was predicted to be a close call. These states had record breaking political advertising on both traditional media (TV, radio) and digital media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) along with frequent visits from the candidates and other political heavyweight stumping for them. This frenzied and frantic media blitz in swing states likely influenced voters’ attitudes and beliefs. The AI clustering made this comparison easily visible.

When we looked at motivations expressed by clusters of respondents from swing states versus non-swing states we saw a markedly different response to the media as a motivation for believing in fraud. For this comparison, we are focused only on those people who do not believe there was election fraud. Specifically, we compared the answers from these two geographic groups to the following question: “Why do you think others may believe there was widespread voter fraud in this presidential election?” 4.98% in non-swing states stated that the others believed it was because of the media. However, 7.50% in swing states stated that believers blamed it on the media — a near 50% greater number or respondents within states that were flooded with an excessive amount of election media coverage.

In an editorial published in the New York Times on December 5, Ross Douthat, an opinion columnist, delved into the same questions that we have posed in our survey and he puts forward his suppositions as to why many Americans are actually in search of the evidence that will fit their confirmation bias. Further he writes about the widespread nature of these beliefs and biases that are not just limited to any radical fringe, but to most people that are not abundantly disbelieving of conspiracy theories.

Douthat further groups people into a few broad categories that would speak to their psychographic profile: The conspiracy-curious normie, the outsider-intellectual, the recently radicalized. His detailed descriptions of these classifications provides not only a look at people’s current beliefs, but also at the societal and political circumstances that have led them to be within those groups.

In conclusion, while the gaps and divide are real and big what I have learned is that there is a palpable distrust of the current election process. It’s not entirely clear to what degree the term “widespread” is measured. It is a term that we borrowed from the popular media reporting and commentary over the past few weeks. Therefore, it is possible that many respondents believe that there is, or may have been, some degree of fraud, but not at a measure that would be sufficient to change results. Regardless of the degree, any distrust of the election process throws some doubt on its legitimacy. Ross Douthat in his editorial puts forward three classifications of voters and the circumstances that have led up to their current beliefs. With this Beehive AI analysis I put forward that there are still many additional motivations that have led to a remarkable percentage of Americans feeling distrustful of the American electoral process.

If you would like to see more results, or learn more about how Beehive AI does its analysis, let me know. info@nextmediapartners.com

Exec advisor in strategy, business and product dev at the intersection of media and tech. Highly regarded expert in user experience for products and services.