Survey: Majority of political consultants expect campaign hacks in 2020

An overwhelming majority of U.S. political consultants anticipate that one or both major parties in the 2020 presidential campaign will be hacked, according to a report out Wednesday.

Campaigns & Elections magazine’s State of the Campaign Industry Survey said that 87 percent of consultants surveyed think it is likely that one or both of the major parties’ presidential campaigns will be the target of cyber breaches in 2020.

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At the same time, the survey found that 82 percent of political consultants expect digital strategists in the political world to become increasingly comfortable using disinformation tactics against opponents.

The poll results come as congressional investigators, election officials and law enforcement scramble to understand the sweeping disinformation and hacking campaign that still looms large over the 2016 race between President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE.

Among the questions swirling around that race is to what extent, if any, fake social media accounts, misleading advertisements and leaked emails influenced the results of the election.

Investigators are also still looking into Russia’s role in a vast cyber campaign to influence the 2016 race.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE, who is investigating the matter, has indicted more than two dozen Russian nationals, officials and companies on charges related to hacking and disinformation in the 2016 election.

That same uncertainty could mar the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to the survey. Fifty-six percent of consultants surveyed said that they believe it is either somewhat or very likely that foreign interference will raise questions about the outcome of next year’s race.

The State of the Campaign Industry Survey was conducted by PSB Research from Jan. 10 to Feb. 2. It is based on online interviews with 408 professional political consultants and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.85 percentage points.

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