New Poll: Voters Are Concerned That the U.S. is at Risk of Falling Behind Other Countries Technologically; Demand Action from Next President
71% of voters agree the Defense Department will fall behind adversaries if they do not use innovations from U.S. tech companies
With less than two weeks until Election Day, a new poll finds registered voters believe China, Russia, and Iran represent a threat to American competitiveness and tech leadership. Voters are calling for the U.S. government to partner with U.S. tech firms and ensure the U.S. tech industry remains the most innovative in the world. They believe if we fail to take these steps, the Department of Defense and intelligence community could fall behind foreign adversaries and China may surpass the U.S. as the world’s technology leader.
The survey also showed that voters are concerned about the direction of U.S. national security more broadly, with a pronounced fear of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and election interference. They see tech companies as the most capable private sector partners to help government combat these threats and want the next president to make this a centerpiece of their national security agenda.
This poll was conducted by Ipsos, on behalf of the American Edge Project, and surveyed 1,362 registered voters between September 17 and September 23, 2020. Further details on the methodology can be found at the end of this memo. Our polling presentation can be viewed here.
• Voters are concerned that China, Russia, and Iran represent a threat to American competitiveness and tech leadership. Concern about falling behind other countries technologically is very broad – 81% agree “it is dangerous for the U.S. to fall behind countries like China, Russia, and Iran when it comes to technology” and 73% agree “we cannot allow Chinese companies to become more influential in the technology sector.” Voters see the need for action as urgent. Nearly two-in-three (63%) agree that “Chinese companies will surpass American companies as the world’s technology leaders if we don’t do something soon,” and 84% believe we “need to crack down on foreign companies that are stealing American intellectual property.”
• Americans have deep concerns about cyberattacks and the integrity of our elections. Eighty percent of voters are concerned about a cyberattack on critical infrastructure. Additionally, 74% are concerned at the prospect of foreign election interference. This includes broad majorities of Democrats (83%), Republicans (66%) and, independents (72%). These both are equal to concern about a second wave of COVID-19 (72% concerned).
• U.S. tech companies are seen as critical partners on national security. About seven-in-ten voters believe American tech companies promote American values (65%), help keep our country safe (69%), and promote free expression (76%). Moreover, voters see tech companies as equally critical to national security (40%) as other industries with long histories of military partnerships such as aerospace (39%), energy (36%), and manufacturing (31%). Over seven-in-ten (71%) also believe the Defense Department will fall behind adversaries if they do not use innovations from U.S. tech companies. A similar number (70%), believe the intelligence community will fall behind adversaries if they don’t use innovations from U.S. tech companies.
• Americans want the next president to embrace a pro-technology platform that strengthens domestic tech companies while supporting our national security interests. Voters across the political spectrum favor a presidential candidate who will take decisive action on behalf of U.S. tech companies. Nearly three-in-four (74%) want to see the next president protect U.S. tech companies, and this is true among majorities of Democrats (74%), independents (67%), and Republicans (82%). A clear majority of (79%), voters believe “we must do more to make sure American companies remain competitive.” Supporting U.S. tech companies means “partnering with U.S. tech companies to win the race to develop better cybersecurity” (79% prioritize), as well as “protecting U.S. industry from unfair foreign competition” (74% prioritize) and “ensuring that U.S. tech companies are not overburdened by regulation and can compete globally” (61% prioritize). These actions will help ensure “America remains home to the world’s most innovative tech sector” (72% prioritize).
The bottom line is this: Facing deep concerns over the U.S. falling behind other countries technologically, voters want to see the U.S. government ensure our tech industry remains the most competitive in the world. American Edge believes the next president must look to protect and strengthen U.S. tech and work with tech companies on critical issues of national security, or America will be surpassed as the world’s leader.
Additional methodology notes: These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between September 17-23, 2020, on behalf of American Edge Project. For this survey, a sample of 1,362 adults age 18+ who are registered to vote in the U.S. from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is the U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,362, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-3.0 percentage points).
About American Edge Project
The American Edge Project is a newly formed coalition dedicated to the proposition that American innovators are an essential part of U.S. economic health, national security and individual freedoms. For more information, visit https://americanedgeproject.org/
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