A majority of Republicans believe former President Donald Trump’s repeated false claims that the 2020 election was rigged for President Joe Biden, with a new poll from Reuters/Ipsos showing at least 53% think Trump is still the true president.
Fifty-six percent of Republicans believe Biden is in the White House due to “illegal voting or election rigging” and a combined 61% say they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that the election was stolen from Trump. Only 30% of Republicans believed absentee or mail-in ballots were counted accurately, compared to 86% of Democrats and 55% of independents.
The repeated messages of widespread fraud or irregularities — which run counter to reality according to scores of bipartisan election officials and experts — have helped convince Republicans to support an ongoing effort to restrict voting rights in dozens of states. Eight-seven percent of Republicans believe the government should place limits on voting to “protect elections from fraud,” the poll showed.
Local, state and federal election officials of both major parties — from town clerks and county boards to secretaries of state and judges appointed by Trump himself — say no widespread fraud or irregularities affected the presidential race. Biden won 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232, and Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes.
Trump’s own Homeland Security experts called the election “the most secure in U.S. history,” and said they found zero evidence that polling machines were tampered with, a frequent false claim spread by Trump lawyers, Republican politicians and followers on social media. Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, said the Justice Department investigated and found no evidence of widespread fraud.
Before the election, Trump refused to say whether he’d accept the results if they went in Biden’s favor. His legal team and Republican supporters had dozens of court cases tossed either because the plaintiffs lacked standing or because there was no evidence. One Michigan judge described multiple claims of fraud as meritless, speculative or offering “no evidence” at all.
“Former President Donald Trump’s stronghold over the Republican party remains,” wrote the pollsters, who surveyed more than 2,000 adults across the country earlier this month. “His refusal to concede the 2020 election and calls of widespread fraud have raised doubts about the integrity of its results among his Republican base.”
Trump’s false claims led to his second impeachment, on the charge that he incited a mob of his followers to attack his own Capitol in a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory on Jan. 6. More than 140 police officers were injured and five people died, including a Capitol Police officer. Nearly 150 Republicans still voted to overturn Biden’s Electoral College wins in multiple states.
The Senate will vote this week on whether to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack.