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The Foundations of Public Opinion on Voter ID Laws

October 2013

David Wilson, Paul R. Brewer


This study investigates determinates of voters’ positions on voter ID laws. Through a variety of tests, the authors find that, (1) the more conservative a voter is, the more likely they are to approve voter ID laws, (2) living in the south, and being Caucasian are significantly correlated with a higher approval of voter ID laws, (3) the more familiar a voter is with voter ID laws, the less likely they are to support them, (4) a significant correlation was found between watch Fox News and supporting voter ID laws, while no other media outlet produced statistically significant relationships, and finally, (5) individuals with higher levels of “racial resentment” were more likely to support voter ID laws.

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Policy Implications

These results find that Voter ID is highly a partisan issue, tied to voters’ ideology, partisanship, and Fox News viewership. Further, the authors find support for voter ID laws to be racially motivated, likening them to “welfare, crime, and the death penalty.”

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