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SLU/YouGov Poll: Missourians Divided on Permanent Vote-by-Mail, Medicaid Expansion


This past week, as thousands of Missourians received their absentee ballots for the August 4 election where voters will decide whether to expand Medicaid in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, new results from the SLU/YouGov Poll indicate that 48% of Missouri voters want to make vote-by-mail permanent, and 49% of voters support Medicaid expansion.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri state government reduced restrictions for voters to cast no-excuse absentee ballots. To assess Missourians’ opinions about vote-by-mail, the SLU/YouGov Poll asked 900 voters: “In all future elections, do you think the Missouri state government should send applications for mail-in ballots to every eligible voter?”

Forty-eight percent of voters stated the state government should send applications for mail-in ballots to every eligible voter, and 44% of voters stated the state government should not.  Eight percent of voters were not sure. The 4% difference between supporters and opposers of vote-by-mail is just outside the 3.95% margin of error for the full survey.

Younger Missourians and Democrats are more likely to support making vote-by-mail permanent in Missouri. Sixty-eight percent of voters aged 18 – 29 supported vote-by-mail but only 35 percent of voters above the age of 65 support vote-by-mail. Eighty-seven percent of Democratic voters support vote-by-mail as compared to 16 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independents.

“Missourians’ support for vote-by-mail is lower than in the rest of the country,” said Steven Rogers, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science and director of the SLU/YouGov Poll.

According to a survey conducted by The Economist and YouGov in May, 56% of voters indicated they supported having vote-by-mail in their states, Rogers said.

“One concern many voters have is that vote-by-mail will benefit one party more than the other or election results will be compromised,” Rogers said. “Recent research, however, indicates that vote-by-mail moderately increases average turnout but neither the Democratic or Republican party is advantaged. Additionally, there is little evidence that vote-by-mail leads to more voter fraud.”

Medicaid Expansion

On Aug. 4, Missouri voters will decide if the state should join 37 other states and expand Medicaid programs in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.

To assess Missourians’ opinions about Medicaid expansion, the SLU/YouGov poll asked 450 voters if they agreed with the statement “Missouri should expand its Medicaid program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.” Forty-nine percent of voters agreed.

“Our survey findings concerning Medicaid expansion suggest support for the ballot measure is weaker than suggested by many political pundits,” Rogers said. “Oklahoma voters recently decided to expand their Medicaid program with only 50.5% of support, and Missouri seems to be on track for a similarly close ballot contest.”

Recent SLU/YouGov Poll findings suggest a competitive 2020 Governor’s race in Missouri between incumbent Governor Mike Parsons and State Auditor Nicole Galloway, which may have bearing on voters’ support for Medicaid expansion.

Galloway supporters are more likely to support Medicaid expansion. The SLU/YouGov Poll found that 84% of voters who indicated they would support Galloway in the 2020 election also supported expanding Medicaid but only 20% of Parsons supporters also supported expansion. Only 38% of undecided voters supported expanding Medicaid. Similarly, 86% of Democratic voters support expansion as compared to 21% of Republicans and 41% of independents.

Methodology and Funding

YouGov interviewed 900 likely Missouri voters between June 23, 2020, and July 1, 2020. The YouGov panel, a proprietary opt-in survey panel, is comprised of 1.2 million U.S. residents who have agreed to participate in YouGov Web surveys. Using their gender, age, race, and education, YouGov weighted the set of survey respondents to known characteristics of registered voters of Missouri voters from the 2018 Current Population survey. The margin of error for the weighted data is 3.95%. The SLU/YouGov Poll is funded by SLU Research Institute Big Ideas competition, which provides funding to research initiatives that demonstrate broad faculty engagement, strong leadership and compelling research plans.

About YouGov

Saint Louis University has partnered with YouGov to conduct its annual survey of Missourians. YouGov conducts surveys for multiple academic institutions and is the primary, trusted survey firm for media organizations, including CBS News and The Economist. An independent Pew Research Center study of online survey firms in 2016 further concluded YouGov “consistently outperforms competitors.”

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.