Election Day Exit Survey Shows Independence Voters Like Ranked Choice Voting

In conjunction with the November 3, 2020 election, Missourians for Ranked Choice Voting (MORCV) and Better Ballot KC conducted a survey at seven Independence polling locations. Voters willing to participate were first shown how ranked choice voting works. Participants were then asked to rank, on a one-to-five scale, whether they liked ranked choice voting and whether they found ranked choice voting easy.

There were 334 voters who answered.

Results on liking: 61.4% either liked or strongly liked ranked choice voting (rated 4 or 5).

Results on ease: 75.8% found ranked choice voting easy or very easy (rated 4 or 5).

You can download the full report as a PDF file, or see the details below.

Exit Survey Details

This was part of a Missouri-wide survey that included a total of 14 polling locations (including these) with 629 participants. The other polling locations were in Ballwin, Chesterfield, Florissant, Kansas City, and Rolla.

The following is a complete list of the Independence polling locations at which surveys were conducted on November 3, 2020. The number of participants (n) is provided for each polling location.

In total, 334 total participants completed the survey in Independence.

Polling Locations

  • Christ United Methodist Church, 14506 East 39th St S, 64055 (n=132)

  • East 39th Street Community of Christ, 15006 East 39th St S, 64055 (n=44)

  • Midwest Genealogy Center, 3440 S Lee's Summit Rd, 64055 (n=33)

  • Sermon Center, 201 N Dodgion St, Independence, MO 64050 (n=34)

  • The Gathering Baptist Church, 4505 South Noland Rd., 64055 (n=42)

  • Trails West Library, 11401 East 23rd St S, 64052 (n=25)

  • Village Heights Community of Christ, 1009 N Farview Dr., 64056 (n=24)


Independent-samples t-test between the lowest and highest mean score per polling location did show a statistically significant difference, so results varied across different polling locations.

Exit Survey Results

Question 1: With 1 being strongly dislike and 5 being strongly like: Did you like this way of voting?

332 answered (2 missing)

  • 5. Strongly liked it: 145 (43.4%)

  • 4. Liked it: 60 (18.0%)

  • 3. Neutral: 64 (19.2%)

  • 2. Disliked it: 14 (4.2%)

  • 1. Strongly disliked it: 49 (14.7%)

Liked and strongly liked together: 205 (61.4%)

Disliked and strongly disliked together: 63 (18.9%)


Question 2: With 1 being very difficult and 5 being very easy: Did you find it easy?

329 answered (5 missing)

  • 5. Very easy: 197 (59.0%)

  • 4. Easy: 56 (16.8%)

  • 3. Neutral: 40 (12.0%)

  • 2. Difficult: 15 (4.5%)

  • 1. Very difficult: 21 (6.3%)

Easy and very easy together: 253 (75.8%)

Difficult and very difficult together: 36 (10.8%)

Better Ballot KC Surveys

There have been two similar surveys previously conducted by Better Ballot KC, an organization that advocates for ranked choice voting in the bi-state metropolitan area of Kansas City.

March 10, 2020: Kansas City – presidential primary

Voters were given a paper with the same candidate names as the ballot on which they had just voted, and invited to rank up to 5 choices.

They were then asked two questions: how much they liked this method of voting, and how easy they found it.

There were 944 people who answered.

Results on liking: 80% either liked it or strongly liked it.

Results on ease: 93.7% found it either easy or very easy.

June 2, 2020: Blue Springs – 4-person mayoral race

This was conducted by Missouri Representative Dan Stacy at one polling place, using the same survey as a template, with the four mayoral candidates as the choices to rank.

There were 222 people who answered.

Results on liking: 49.3% either liked it or strongly liked it.

Results on ease: 80.8% found it easy or very easy.


More detailed reports are available upon request to Better Ballot KC by

email: info@betterballotkc.org

phone: (816) 753-2057

Notes

Parameters

Participants were giving an immediate reaction to a very short introduction to the concept of ranked choice voting. Therefore, the results do not indicate what participants think after further reflection, with more detailed information, or after public debate.

Strengths

The sample is entirely made up of voters at a time when they are engaged in thinking about voting. There were several hundred respondents.

Limitations

This was not a stratified random sample, and the surveyors were not neutral on the topic. (Results do show that an organization that has the funding required to be rigorous in this way is likely to find it worthwhile.)

Limitations Peculiar to the November 3 Election

Ranked choice voting is more obvious as useful in races with several viable candidates, as was the case with the two previous surveys.

COVID-19 restrictions compelled us to ask survey questions to participants verbally to maintain social distance, disallowing the confidentiality of a paper filled out by the participant.

Several surveyors reported hostile questions not normally encountered including “does this have to do with the Electoral College?” and “is this a way to oppose my preferred Presidential candidate?” Ranked choice voting is an entirely different issue from the Electoral College, and how any Presidential candidate would fare under ranked choice voting is untested and therefore unknown. That sensitivity may be unique to this particular election.

Also unique, compared with past elections, is that 28% of voters voted early, so only 72% of voters were available to survey. This skews the sample toward those more likely to dislike electoral innovation.