The most common concern among voters, as they prepare to cast their ballots Tuesday, is President Donald Trump, according to a poll conducted on behalf of USAFacts, the non-partisan government data project founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
The survey found that 32 percent of Democrats, 21 percent of Independents, and 6 percent of Republicans listed Trump first among the “biggest issues facing the country.” The Republicans polled are more worried about immigration, with 14 percent listing it as their top issue. The poll, conducted by The Harris Poll for USAFacts, surveyed 2,521 Americans from Aug. 30 – Sept. 4.
In September, USAFacts launched Voter Center, an online resource that shows the positions members of Congress take publicly and compares them with government data. The goal is to arm voters with data-backed facts as they prepare to vote in one of the most consequential elections in recent history. Of those surveyed, 90 percent said they consider something factual when it is data-based.
“What we’re trying to do is strictly look through numbers. Immigration pops on our site. Healthcare pops on our site,” Ballmer said in an interview with Fox Business Thursday. “Jobs, of course, as well as income and wages. There’s very interesting numbers that help frame the issue.”
According to the poll, voters are becoming disenchanted with what they see as biased and partisan news. A whopping 85 percent of people polled said that everyone needs to have the same data to have an informed debate but 88 percent believe people tend to only agree with facts that fit their beliefs.
Social media is declining as a trusted source for news, according to respondents. In 2017, 35 percent said they use social media to get information about the government. That number dropped to 31 percent in 2018. Voter satisfaction with social media as a news source is also declining. In 2017, 29 percent of respondents said they were satisfied using social media for that purpose while just 21 percent said the same this year.
But Americans still get their news from social media more than most other outlets. Social media sites are the second-most popular source for news after local TV, according to the poll.
“One of the things people miss is both sides have religion,” Ballmer told Fox. “‘I believe X.’ ‘I believe Y.’ The truth of the matter is most things do reduce to numbers.”[Editor’s Note: GeekWire partnered with Steve Ballmer and his USAFacts initiative on the Numbers Geek podcast, exploring the data behind some of the most significant issues facing the country, as well as business and sports.]