Three in four Americans expect mass protests if Donald Trump is re-elected

Linley SandersData Journalist
September 16, 2020, 7:06 PM UTC

When President Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton, protests erupted across the country. Those protests, which involved thousands of Americans engaging in anti-Trump demonstrations following Election Day, remained mostly peaceful

There is concern that will not be the case if President Trump is elected to a second term. Three-quarters (75%) of Americans in a new Economist/YouGov Poll say it is likely that there will be mass protests if President Trump is re-elected in the upcoming November election. Most Americans (72%) who believe mass protests are likely if Trump wins re-election are worried about violence if he wins the presidential election. 

Democrats are particularly likely to anticipate widespread protests (85%) if Trump wins, while 73 percent of Republicans and Independents believe protests are very or somewhat likely. Regardless of political stripe, Americans think a Biden win is less likely to lead to mass protests (44%) compared to a Trump re-election (75%). 

One-third (33%) of those who believe protests are likely if Trump wins re-election in November are "very worried" about violence while about two in five (39%) are "somewhat worried" about violence. The Democrats (77%) and Republicans (71%) who believe protests are likely if Trump is elected are more likely than Independents (65%) to worry about violence.

2020 Election: The Presidency

Fewer than half of Americans (44%) believe there will be mass protests if Biden is elected to the nation’s highest office. About two in five (41%) say that this is not very likely or not likely at all. About three in five (64%) Americans who believe that there will be mass protests if Biden wins in November are worried about post-election violence. 

2020 Election: The Presidency

Related: Negative advertisements from Donald Trump hit Independents’ view of Joe Biden

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll 

MethodologyThe Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between September 13 - 15, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty