Analysis: New poll suggests Trump’s 2020 election lie is working


At the time, 6 in 10 people (59%) said they were “very” or “somewhat” convinced that the elections reflect the will of the people.

CNN’s all-new national poll asked that question again — and got a VERY different result. Today, only 44% of Americans express confidence in the idea of ​​free and fair elections, while 56% say they have little or no confidence in our elections.

That’s a staggering reversal in 13 months. And it proves that – as unfortunate as it may be – Donald Trump’s electoral lie works.

Now you know Trump’s big lie. It’s that the 2020 election was somehow fraudulent, that Trump actually beat Joe Biden, but thanks to widespread voter fraud, the result didn’t reflect the will of the people. This message has been a constant drumbeat for the former president since leaving office.

“The ballot harvest scam will go down as the greatest political scandal in history,” Trump said in a statement from his Save America PAC earlier this week. “It’s totally pivotal, and Democrats are doing everything to stop the news from getting out. Republicans need to be strong and united to save our country.” (Again, there is NO evidence of widespread voter fraud in any state Where nationally.)

Predictably, Trump’s base is highly skeptical that the US election accurately reflects who the people want to win. Only 1 in 4 (26%) of self-identified Republicans say they have confidence in US elections. It’s similar to the 29% of white Americans without a college degree and the 25% of conservatives who say the same.

Among Republicans who say they think Biden’s victory was not legitimate, only 13% have confidence in the US election, compared to 60% among Republicans who say Biden won legitimately.

In a broad sense, none of this is new. Trump’s lies about the election have long since made their way into the Republican Party’s base.

What is new – and should frighten all of us – is that groups that are not ardently pro-Trump have also begun to doubt the US election. Among Democrats, only 68% express confidence in the election. This number is only 41% among political independents. White Americans with college degrees? Just under half (47%) say they do not believe or have little confidence in our elections. Four in ten (43%) Black Americans say the same.

Part of Democrats’ growing angst may well be their concern that Republicans — if empowered in the states — will succeed in nullifying future elections. Another could be concerns about restrictive election laws that Republicans, often inspired by Trump, have imposed at the state level over the past year.

What this means for the future of our elections is, well, nothing good.

Numbers like this suggest that not only are Republicans unlikely to believe the results if their side loses in 2022 (and 2024), but large numbers of independents and even a sizable number of Democrats may feel the same way.

This is the insidiousness of Trump’s big lie. It’s like an earworm – you might hate the song, but you find yourself humming it in the shower. Trump has created a constant low-level buzz among the American electorate that something is wrong with the way we are conducting elections. That he has no proof doesn’t seem to matter; through sheer repetition, his false claims find their way into the public consciousness.

If you’re not worried about the November election — and, in particular, the 2024 presidential election — you’re just not paying attention.


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