A new Politico/Morning Consult poll marks the crashing and burning of another media narrative, as a mere 29 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “We know with near certainty that Russia is responsible for the hacking and cyber-attacks that impacted the U.S. elections. Numerous U.S. intelligence agencies have used advanced techniques to determine Russia is responsible for these attacks and we are only playing into an unfriendly country’s hand when we deny this.”
The poll further notes that responses broke down “largely along party lines,” so most of the modest belief that Russian hacking tipped the elections comes from Democrats, who have been tumbling from one spectacular temper tantrum to another since their stunning loss on Election Day.
Even at that, the poll found most respondents favored only mild responses even if Russian hackers did influence the election to some degree: “45% said we should impose diplomatic sanctions, 40% said economic sanctions, 20% said use retaliatory cyberattacks and 8% said military action.” That doesn’t sound like a particularly enraged electorate.
Of course, some of that outrage may be tempered by the fact voters don’t seem to trust anyone any more. The CIA and FBI fared best, but even they could only win 65% and 66% confidence in their capabilities, respectively. Meanwhile, both parties in Congress, all forms of media, and both the outgoing and incoming Presidents registered high levels of distrust.
The only silver lining for Democrats’ hacking hysteria was Morning Consult’s conclusion that “despite doubts over whether the intelligence assessments are accurate, a plurality (45 percent) said it was important to raise questions about the democratic process and the accuracy of the 2016 election because of possible voter fraud or tampering by a foreign government. Thirty-four percent said it was dangerous and could lead to widespread mistrust in the electoral process.”
However, that answer includes all forms of election mischief, including the kind of voter fraud Democrats loudly insist we should not be worried about. That 45 percent level of agreement that questions should be raised about the democratic process will dissolve very quickly, the moment someone asks a specific question, or proposes a remedy.
No doubt election fatigue, partisan rancor, and media spin will influence the results of polls about the integrity of the democratic process today. Perhaps we should let things cool down a bit, and take a calm, clear look at both election integrity and cyber-security next year, when fantasies are no longer harbored about overturning the 2016 election.