Former President Donald Trump has continued to claim that election fraud caused his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, even warning Republican candidates who don’t support his claims that his supporters will not vote in 2022.
The latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds that most registered Republicans distrust the results of the 2020 election, but it’s not dissuading them from political participation. Republicans who distrust the 2020 results are more likely to say they plan to vote in the next national elections than are registered Republicans who do trust the 2020 outcome.
More than seven in ten Republicans distrust the results of the 2020 election, which Trump lost to Biden by four points nationally, and by about the same Electoral College margin by which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The partisan difference in the response to the two elections is clear. Most Democrats trust the results of both elections (but place more confidence in 2020 than in 2016), while Republicans trust the result only in 2016.
Democrats are even more likely than Republicans to say they “completely” trust the results of the 2016 election, when their presidential candidate won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College to Trump. After the election, Trump said he would have won the popular vote if not for the “millions of people who voted illegally” he claimed existed, without evidence.
Republican doubts about the 2020 election are nearly as strong now as they were shortly after the election itself. In a poll conducted immediately after Biden secured an electoral victory, 82% of Republicans said Joe Biden did not legitimately win, and that percentage has barely dropped. Three in four Republicans (74%) in this week’s poll say Joe Biden was not the legitimate winner, just an eight-percentage-point drop since last November. In addition, one in five Republicans say they still believe it is somewhat or very likely that Trump will be reinstated in the White House by the end of the year – a scenario that has no precedent.
The former president’s threat that his supporters will not vote in future elections isn’t supported by the self-reports of vote likelihood in this poll. Registered Republican voters who distrust the 2020 election results are more likely to say they are very likely to vote in 2022 than are registered Republicans overall. (The sample size for registered Republicans who say they trust the 2020 outcome was too small to analyze.) Registered Democrats are about as likely as registered Republicans to say they are very likely to vote in 2022.
Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between October 24 - 26, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample.