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Nearly half of Trump supporters still expect to see President Trump sworn in for a second term on January 20 as they consider him the true winner, a survey by a US watchdog group shows.
And only about 20 percent of Republicans consider Joe Biden the true winner of the election, the findings by Bright Lane Watch depict.
“We were really struck by how much Trump’s baseless narrative of voter fraud to explain his loss to Biden has continued to shape the beliefs of his supporters after the election,” says Prof Gretchen Helmke, the University of Rochester and a founder of the group.
The latest (November) survey is part of the political science research project by faculty at the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago, and Dartmouth College
The survey shows a clear increase in the public’s partisan divide over the legitimacy of the election compared to their previous survey in October. In that survey, 33 percent of strong Trump supporters had said they would view a victorious Biden as definitely or probably the “rightful winner.”
Yet after the election, only 9 percent of strong Trump supporters saw Biden as the rightful winner. Indeed, 67 percent of that group now expressed certainty that Biden was “definitely not the rightful winner,” the political scientists found.
“Although it’s typical that voters’ optimism about things like the economy, or the direction of the country shift depending on whether their candidate wins the election, it’s really striking just how pervasive the loss of confidence in elections has become among Trump’s supporters in the wake of his defeat,” says Helmke.
As they had done throughout the project, the group fielded two parallel surveys– one to political experts and one to a representative sample of the US population–between November 12 and 25.
The scientists asked the public about the legitimacy of the election results, their confidence that votes were cast and counted fairly, their beliefs about voter fraud, and their willingness to condone political violence.
The experts were asked to rate the likelihood of 23 scenarios related to the November election and the transition to a new administration that could lead to political crises.
Asked whom they believed would be inaugurated on January 20 as President, 48 percent of Trump supporters said they expected to see Trump sworn in for a second term. Among Trump opponents, 96 percent said they expected Biden to be inaugurated.
“I’m deeply worried about the divide in confidence in the election system that our data reveal,” says Brendan Nyhan, professor of government at Dartmouth College and one of the founders of Bright Line Watch. “Far too many Trump supporters say they lack confidence in the national vote count and don’t see Joe Biden as the rightful winner. Even if some of them are expressing their political viewpoint through their responses, those sentiments can be deeply damaging to our democracy, which relies on the losing side accepting the legitimacy of the outcome.”
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