Half of voters believe Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State shows wrongdoing

Linley SandersData Journalist
January 04, 2021, 9:50 PM UTC

On Sunday, The Washington Post released audio of President Donald Trump asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger several times to alter the state’s presidential election results in his favor after losing the state to President-Elect Joe Biden.  

During the call, President Trump challenged the idea that the presidential election in Georgia was free and fair — despite Raffensperger assuring him that it was — and told the Georgia Secretary of State, “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” There is concern that President Trump’s desire to cast additional doubt over the presidential election results could jeopardize the nation's transition of power and impact the Senate runoff elections that will take place in Georgia on Tuesday. 

Most registered voters (57%) say they have listened to or read the transcript of the call, according to a new YouGov poll.  Seven in 10 Democrats (71%) have heard or read about the audio, compared to 52% of Independents and 42% of Republicans. Most Republicans (58%) had not listened to it as of Monday afternoon when this survey was conducted. 

Among the registered voters who have heard the audio or read the transcript, two-thirds (68%) believe it shows wrongdoing on President Trump’s part. Half (51%) of registered voters overall believe it does. Nearly all Democrats who are familiar with the content of the tape believe the recording is proof of the president acting improperly (93%), as do 67% of Democrats who haven’t seen or heard what is on the tape.  

Regardless of whether Republicans are familiar with the audio, they believe President Trump did not do anything wrong: 76% of Republicans who know the content of the tape and 67% of those who do not say the president did not commit wrongdoing. About one in five (18%) Republicans who have heard the audio believe Trump’s request to Georgia’s Secretary of State was wrong. 

Most registered voters (58%) believe it was appropriate for the recording to be released to the public, though about three in 10 (31%) say it was inappropriate. Republicans are split on the issue: about two in five (39%) say it was appropriate and 46% disagree. 

Registered voters split on whether the Georgia election will be free and fair 

On Tuesday, all eyes will be on Georgia to see whether Republicans can win at least one run-off election and retain control of the Senate when President-Elect Biden takes office. Two-thirds (69%) of registered voters say they are paying “a lot” or “some” attention to the elections, including 75% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans.  

Registered voters tend to think the runoff will be conducted in a free and fair fashion by 44% to 33%. Among those following the race closely, that lead expands to 52% vs 32%. Data from The Economist/YouGov Poll indicates that most US adults (56%) have at least a moderate amount of confidence that the 2020 presidential election was held fairly. However, about three-quarters (78%) of Republicans have little (14%) to no confidence (64%) that this was the case. 

President Trump has suggested that the Georgia contest will not be free and fair, and most registered Republicans agree (62%). Only one in seven (14%) Republicans expect a fair contest, and one-quarter (24%) responded that they didn’t know. Democrats are more confident in the runoff being held: 72% believe the election will be free and fair, while 9% say it will not be. One in five (20%) are not certain. 

See the crosstabs from this YouGov Poll 

Related: Most Americans say $600 stimulus checks are “too little” 

Methodology: This YouGov Direct poll was conducted among 1,000 registered voters ages 18+. This survey was conducted between January 4 from 1:15 p.m. EST to 1:49 p.m. EST. This data was weighted according to age, gender, race, education, and 2016 presidential vote to provide a nationally representative sample of the United States. The margin of error for the entire sample is ±3.9%  

Image: Getty