Fact Checking Survey: Facts More Likely Than Emotions to Influence Voters

This election season, Americans have been presented with many facts from both sides, through debates, campaign ads, and other venues. But how many of these facts are accurate? Fact checkers and fact checking websites have been hard at work to provide information to voters. But do many Americans care about these facts, or do they mainly decide their vote based on emotions or gut reactions to candidates and issues?

fact checking

Election Facts

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 54% said they have watched political ads for candidates during this election season. 34% said they have seen ads for ballot proposals or individual issues. 39% said they watched the presidential debate. And 25% said they watched the vice presidential debate.

In General, just 2% of these viewers said they always believe the facts presented in these debates and ads. 6% said they believe most of the facts presented by candidates and political organizations. 33% said they believe these facts about half the time. 38% said they rarely believe these facts. And 13% said they never believe the facts presented in debates or political ads.

Researching Facts

However, 46% said they never do any type of research to check the facts presented by political candidates or organizations. 29% said they do online searches to research some of the facts presented. 14% said they rely on fact checkers or fact checking websites. And 9% said they do in-depth research on their own. Those who watched ads for political candidates were 13% more likely to do some kind of research, and those who watched ads for ballot proposals or individual issues were 22% more likely to do some kind of research on the facts presented.

Voting Decisions

In general, 31% of respondents said that their votes are mainly decided through facts and research. 12% said their votes are based mainly on emotions and gut reactions to candidates or issues. 34% said that their votes are decided based on facts and emotions equally. And 23% said they never vote.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: David Clinch (left to right) speaks as Scott Rosenberg, Dan Gillmor and Craig Newmark listen during the verification and fact-checking breakout session from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on October 16 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.