- Republicans lack confidence that their votes will be spoken fairly, new polls show.
- GOP officials have spent the past year adopting voting restrictions and pushing for party-political revisions.
- What remains “a big question mark,” one expert said, is how low voter confidence will affect turnout in 2022.
Republican voters continue to show low confidence in the integrity of the U.S. election a year after former President Donald Trump and his allies launched an unprecedented campaign to discredit and overturn his election loss in 2020, two new polls show.
In 2021, Republican lawmakers successfully introduced over two dozen new restrictions on voting and elections, while also pursuing dubious party-political “revisions” and reviews of the 2020 results months after the election was over. This was all publicly justified under the guise of restoring voters’ “confidence” in the system and addressing alleged “irregularities”.
But with the first primary election in the 2022 midterm period just a few months away, these efforts appear to have had the opposite effect, weakening GOP voters’ confidence.
A Monmouth University poll conducted between Nov. 4 and 8 and released Monday showed that nearly a third of all respondents, including 73% of Republicans, believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 election only because of widespread voter fraud.
The survey also found that 62% of Republican respondents said they believed the GOP-led partisan census of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona, determined or likely found “significant evidence of voter fraud” in Arizona.
The review, conducted by the private company Cyber Ninjas, did not follow any of the established industry standard practices for post-election audits and reports. Maricopa officials from both parties and external experts thoroughly discredited both Cyber Ninjas’ methods and disproved their final conclusions.
The company’s report concluded that Biden and Democratic Senator Mark Kelly actually won Maricopa County – but experts and Maricopa County officials say the Cyber Ninjas could not have credibly proven or disproved the outcome of the election.
In the Monmouth Poll, which surveyed 811 Americans with a margin of error of ± 3.5 points, 54% of Republicans also said they believed the violence on the Capitol during the January 6 uprising was partially or fully justified.
Misinformation about elections generates ‘a really harmful environment’, says expert
Another poll conducted by the Center for Election Innovation and Research, a nonprofit election think tank, and the GOP survey Echelon Insights also found that 65% of Republicans polled do not believe the votes cast in the 2020 election were fair. And 53% also do not believe that the votes in 2022 will be fairly counted. They surveyed 1,600 Americans between 20-26. October with a margin of error of ± 3.5 points.
“We have reaffirmed the election many times, but unfortunately this false belief, which continues to be spread by the losing candidate and the griffins that surround him, is widespread and has perseverance,” CEIR CEO David Becker told reporters in a Tuesday. calls. “And this has a huge negative impact on Republican voters’ confidence in the election.”
Significant percentages of GOP voters surveyed already believe that fraud is very rare in the real world – including people who vote multiple times, election officials who deliberately count votes incorrectly, and illegal votes cast on behalf of non- qualified or dead people – will cause major problems in 2022.
Widespread calls for further revisions like Arizona, which Republicans still pursue in states like Wisconsin, also affect GOP voters’ confidence.
In the poll, 42% of GOP voters said they would be more likely to vote in 2022 if all states conducted so-called forensic audits, while 16% of respondents said they would be less likely to vote if states did not carry out such audits. Trump and his GOP allies have called for vaguely defined “forensic audits” throughout 2021, but that is not a widely accepted type of election revision.
“This constant onslaught of misinformation directed at Trump supporters and Republican voters is leading to the environment we see right now,” Becker said. “It’s a really harmful environment, especially for the professionals who run elections.”
How voters’ confidence will affect turnout in 2022 remains’ a big question mark ‘
But so far it is not clear that mistrust of elections will necessarily lower GOP turnout and hamper the party in 2022, despite Trump’s warnings that Republicans “will not vote” unless the party “fixes” the non-existent “scam “in 2020.
A Morning Consult / Politico poll conducted in mid-October showed that Republican voters who lack faith in the integrity of the 2020 election are far more enthusiastic about voting in 2022 than Republicans who believe previous elections were fair.
The finding, which may immediately seem counter-intuitive, probably reflects how voters who ardently believe in lies are also the most animated and loyal voters who make up the GOP base and thus are more likely to show up in midterm elections.
“The upcoming primary season is going to be very telling,” Becker said. “There will be a lot of Republican primary elections in particular, where we have deniers facing reality-based Republicans of integrity in places like Georgia’s Secretary of State race, places in maybe like Wyoming, Michigan, Arizona and elsewhere. To see how it plays out , will tell us a lot about where the GOP voters are. “
On November 2, Virginia Republicans regained control of the state’s three highest offices by turning their voters out to higher levels than Democrats. Candidates focused on issues such as education and voter dissatisfaction with the state of the economy and the Biden administration, all of which are likely to shape the political environment by 2022.
But Becker warned that the November 2021 results may not tell the full story of how GOP voter confidence will affect 2022. After all, a depressed turnout cost Republicans two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia in January, and false allegations of electoral fraud spread by GOP nominee Larry Elder also did not help with the Republican turnout in the September California gubernatorial election.
“There’s just one big question mark when it comes to close elections in a nationalized environment,” Becker said. “The first time we’re going to see a nationalized environment is next year, in fact, since the Georgia Senate ran off.”
Becker further noted that in contrast to presidential elections, the historical trend is that less than half of Americans turn out to vote in midterm elections.
“People are failing to vote in a non-presidential election,” he said. “And if you tell them that the election has been manipulated, that their votes do not matter, the vote will be unusually harsh, which usually does not increase the likelihood that they will show up. It usually reinforces their failure to vote.”